Last week I went to the grocery store near my work and asked for a big empty box. After getting my odd request I awkwardly carried a bunch of boxes the block back to my office and wrote a powerful quote on the cardboard carrying it under my arm as I went to the subway. When I got off my stop, I walked up the stairs to the increasing sound of high pitched chants. The second I reached the landing, I was surrounded by a swell of hopeful people raising their arms high with their powerful messages or meme-inspired signs. Children were leading their chants, and it was the adults who listened and followed along.
For months I haven’t been able to publish on this blog. I have been feeling voiceless and not very helpful. In all honesty, I have thought that I had no right telling you about sustainability. I decided it was not my place to tell you how to “save the world” as a marketing major 21-year-old, white, straight, cis-gendered, middle-class, educated woman? I never wanted anyone to think that my beliefs in sustainability were only adding to the systemic problems this industry faced and lack of inclusivity within sustainability. I kept on seeing how problematic this industry that I once loved was becoming.
The problem was I thought this industry was a solution. I identified it as perfection. I began to believe in the mission that this was the solution to the world’s most complicated issues, and maybe we weren’t so f*cked after all. When there were holes and problematic people in the industry, the rose-tinted glasses were ripped off my face; I didn’t know how to process where I fit. So instead of figuring it out, I pushed it away. I stopped opening up my blog Instagram account; I deleted my email subscriptions without opening them. I felt like I was breaking up with something I identified with, and it felt empty.
But I’ve missed this space. I missed having a space to question things and praise others. I missed processing my thoughts on my blog. I just hated everything else that has come with having a blog. The social media superficialness of influencer pods liking and commenting on each other’s posts to make their engagement look better turned me away. I hated seeing all of these posts on my feed telling me I needed to buy this or that to be a perfect conscious citizen. The industry that I thought was anti-capitalism became another industry convincing you to buy shit that you don’t need. But don’t worry you don’t have to feel guilty about buying mindless shit because the company is giving a vague percentage of profits to a charity or without any auditing or accreditations; they claim to be artisan-made… Exhausting.
The industry that I thought was anti-capitalism became another industry convincing you to buy shit that you don’t need.
But last Friday I was engulfed by a sea of hope. Kids stood next to me, demanding that those who control their future do better. They screamed and chanted and held hands with their parents standing up for an issue they don’t fully understand yet still grasped the severity. It reminded me of the first climate change book I got from the library in 4th grade. While I didn’t yet understand the concept of carpooling I remember a very simplified version of what greenhouse gases are and I felt the severity of what was happening to our planet.
Marching through Wall Street to Battery Park, I felt fulfilled by the activism that has been missing from my life for months. I still don’t have any solutions as to the problematic issues this industry faces. Regardless, I don’t think the answer is to ignore it and to suppress the things I am passionate about. Sustainability is no longer on the pedestal it once was on for me; however, I want to talk about those problematic elements and create an honest and open conversation about them once again. I feel as though that is my responsibility in an industry becoming increasingly more privileged. I forgot how much I have to say. Thanks, Greta for reminding me that a small act is still valid in the resistance. Demanding actions and solutions for the most complex problems aren’t easy, but we must find our place in being part of the solution in some way.
More to come. Thanks for being patient.