Jen's MEM Journey

It’s a Confusing World
by Jennifer Weiss -- May 8th, 2012

One Mom’s Attempt to Live Sustainably in an Unsustainable Society

I am an environmentalist. I am an environmentalist.  I am an environmentalist.  

No matter how I say it, I end up questioning this statement just a little bit. I am about to graduate from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a Masters in Environmental Management, but I just can’t quite bring myself to call myself an environmentalist.  I have the education to be one.  I have the passion and the inspiration.  So, what is holding me back from announcing to the world, “I AM AN ENVIRONMENTALIST?”

Well, for one thing, I don’t always act like one.  It’s not that I don’t want to live sustainably. It’s just that over the years I have built up habits and beliefs that are too difficult to change.  Or at least too difficult to change easily.

Some of these habits, like the fact that I LOVE to travel, will never change.  If each of us is given a certain level of carbon that we are allowed to use up, I might very well use it all on traveling.  There are just too many interesting and beautiful places to visit in the world.  And watching “The Amazing Race” from my cozy couch is NOT the same thing as being there.

Some of my habits have formed because I have grown up in this great land of plenty.  We have everything at our fingertips and often don’t realize the trip our purchases had to take to get here.  Our food, our electronics, even our clothes, are sometimes made under un-sustainable and un-environmentally friendly conditions.  But with the swipe of a credit card, I can purchase just about anything and easily close my mind to who (or what) might be suffering to get it to me.

Recently, some unsustainable habits have developed because I have two adorable children.  Our lives move quickly and I often don’t have the time to think through my decisions. Fast food, handheld electronic games and television have become a part of our lives.  Getting ourselves outside to enjoy the world around us can be challenging, especially with hockey practice, piano lessons and all the other pulls on our precious time.

I’ll admit it.  It’s easy to continue through my day without making any changes. It’s a nice routine. But unless we start to look at the world more globally and think about how our everyday decisions and actions might affect our planet, our children and grandchildren may have to make some difficult choices.

It’s a confusing world.  I know that I need to make some changes in my life.  And I know a lot of ways to do it.  The trick is to actually take the steps and start changing my habits.

So, that’s me … I am a CONFUSED environmentalist. But I am an environmentalist and I am going to work my way through the changes I need to make to live in a more sustainable world. Come join me in my journey over the coming months as I make my way through this confusing world in my new blog, The Confused Environmentalist.

1 Comment

  1. Valerie
    May 14, 2012


    Really inspiring post. It makes me think about a lot of thinks in my life and the habits that I have to change. So I guess I am confused as well.

©2016 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff