Becoming a climate activist is a tremendous step and it is not always easy. The media usually portrays only one side of activism, the one that shows the victories and seldom the failures. Here are some misconceptions that I had to unlearn on my journey.
You have to know EVERYTHING about climate change. At the start, I did not feel worthy of becoming a climate activist because I did not have an advanced degree in environmental science. Knowing about climate change is definitely important, but what is more important, in my mind, is being able to relearn what you thought you knew, and holding yourself accountable.
You have to be perfect. Being a climate activist is more than what people see on social media, it is your everyday actions that have a lasting change on our world. I was concerned that I was a traitor and hypocritical if I every forgot my reusable water bottle at home and bought a single-use plastic one. I try to avoid single-use plastics whenever I can, but if if I make a mistake, I know that I am learning and growing as a person and activist.
You have to change everything right away. When I first became a climate activist, I looked at all of the ways that I was not living sustainably and I scolded myself. I though, "What kind of activist am I, if this is how I am living?" What I then learned was that I am making changes to my life that are gradual. Don't buy new sustainable products and throw out your unsustainable ones, use up the unsustainable products and then buy sustainable ones as opposed to the ones that you were buying before. It is changes like that which show that you care about making changes to your lifestyle to help the planet.
Believe me, I could write whole papers on the way that I was wrong about becoming a climate activist, but knowing that you are making a change in your community and around the world is something to be celebrated. So, cheers to you for educating yourself and making a difference! Have any activism stories? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to hear from you and highlight your work!