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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Unanswered Question: How Do I Do More for the Environment?

I’ve started a series on “Unanswered Questions” - questions I have about life that I don’t necessarily have answers to.

 

I don’t know a single person who isn’t concerned about the planet.


We’re all concerned about the amount of pollution, shrinking natural spaces, deteriorating ecosystems, and more.

Watercolor painting of a tree I saw while in Hawai'i

We want plastic reduction, more responsible companies (in terms of resource use, waste management, etc.), and better laws and regulation.


It’s a topic that comes up frequently in therapy because individuals are deeply concerned, but it feels widely out of their control.


They know their bottles they put in the recycling container cannot outweigh the massive companies and countries wreck the environment with massive devastation.


I have also shared similar concerns.


An NPR interview captured my concerns perfectly when the interviewer asked an environmental activist what little steps everyday people can do. The interviewee responded sharply that we need to stop laying the blame on little personal choices. She commented that someone buying oat milk instead of cow’s milk isn’t going to make the difference. She said we need to be focusing on our efforts on policy change and business change.


I view my therapy clients in a similar way. I frequently say we need to stop blaming people for depression, anxiety, and other malaise when our systems and culture are deeply harmful. We need to shift the blame to where it lies.


However, this then leaves people wondering, “But what can I do about that?”


In regard to the environment, it can feel out of our hands to bring improvements at a business and policy level.


I’ve included this topic in my unanswered question series because I don’t have an answer.


I have some answers.


I know that naming the true causes is powerful.


I know that we can take some impactful individual steps (such as having a water cistern if you live in the desert).


But I don’t have a ready answer to this one and I’d like to hear people’s response.

 

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