Trendy Environmentalism to the Rescue… Hopefully

As we become increasingly aware of the declining state of our world’s environment, our society continues to find issues of waste disposal and environmental sustainability to be a challenge. In my studies as a student of Environmental Science, I often find myself thinking, “There are so many environmental problems out there. How on earth are we supposed to get people to know and care about them and then have them actually change their behavior?” Teaching people about the problems is the easier part—it’s getting people to change the way they live, even in little ways, which is harder than you might imagine. Anyone who has ever worked with teenagers or been on a marketing campaign for anything will know that making something cool is a great influence on behavior change. It seems that we all feel a need to feel accepted by some group or another. And, even though I am already willing, I know that I’ve found myself feeling more inclined to walk to a compost pile in the snow because it is expected of me. Although we are nowhere near fixing the huge problems that we face, the popularity and cultural acceptance of practices like recycling and using reusable water bottles gives me hope that we may be able to more dramatically shift society’s view of these problems.

Original_UnverpacktIn the last few decades, health food stores and grocery stores that discourage plastic bag use have come into the forefront. Wholefoods and Trader Joes, as well as smaller local health food stores, have taken off in popularity. Recently, a pair of women in Germany dreamt up the idea of a grocery store that doesn’t produce any waste! All of the packaging that we are used to in normal grocery stores isn’t there and everything is priced by the pound so shoppers can take exactly as much as they want of any given product. By design, this setup reminds customers to conserve. If we can make this kind of grocery store and expand this mentality into other parts of our lives, we may be able to use this trendy environmentalism to combat environmental issues further.

If you have additional ideas on this topic, I would love to have a discussion about it!

-Annalise

To read more about this zero-waste grocery store, visit: http://inhabitat.com/original-unverpackt-germanys-first-zero-waste-supermarket-to-open-this-summer/

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