While travelling may be a hobby for some people, travelling is a gift for me. I always see it as an act of appreciation as well as a gratitude for nature; for the earth that has been providing all the blessings for me. With all the mesmerizing mountains, oceans, hills, and the blue sky that I have witnessed throughout my travels, I always have this deep-rooted desire to always protect this mother earth so that my future kids would be able to experience the joy that I had.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for so many people.
After half a year of travelling and going back to my homeland, I became very much aware that most people in my country don’t prioritize nature and environment as their main concerns. With numerous issues and social instability that are happening in my country, I somehow understand that there are too many issues and problems that people already have in their cups. However, for me, it’s still not an excuse to just stay silent while seeing my home on fire.
I realized that I cannot just sit down and watching my home getting more damaged day by day, so I choose to take further actions. I noticed there are at least two things that I can do: to spread this awareness to people in my country and to make a small, but consistent change in my daily life.
To do the first thing, I decided to volunteer for an international NGO that’s focusing on nature and environments. I started to make small contributions by joining their gatherings, being active in any climate strike, doing beach cleanups & oil evacuation, and giving out all my efforts to help as much as I can. Turns out, it is not as hard as it seems. All I need is to just spare a little time to make active contributions because no matter what my duty is, I am aware that I make a change—big or small.
Besides that, I tried to spread this issue on my Instagram, because I believe that impactful activism can be started in social media. I don’t have thousands or millions of followers, and my followers only consist of my peer groups and social circles. However, I found this method to be useful since a lot of my friends started to become more aware of the issue that I was talking about. Many of them initiated to ask me questions, and we ended up having insightful online discussions about environmental issues.
The last thing that I need to do—to make a consistent change in my daily lives—seem to be the hardest challenge that I have been facing up until now. I tried to reduce meat intake several times, but I always ended up in failure by the end of the week. It’s not because I lack of consistency, but it’s because I have little problems with low blood pressure, and apparently, reducing meat will not do any help. It hits me so hard since one of my goals is to eat plant-based meal only, not just because of climate change or deforestation, but also because a state of physical health and well-being that I want to achieve.
Although there are barriers in changing my habits, I did not stop. I keep focusing on my goal to take actions in order to protect mother earth. I tried to reduce any single plastic use, and I will continue my habit to always bring my tumbler everywhere I go (yes, water refill station is always a paradise for me). Not only that, I also tried to bring any eating utensils such as spoons, forks, and stainless straw wherever I go so that I don’t need to use any plastic utensils anymore.
Despite my efforts, I also find a lot of struggles and difficulties. Since I’m still living with my parents, I’m not the first decision-maker at home and I can’t filter out all products that I use, be it soap, shampoo, toothpaste, groceries, or snacks. However, I can always make new suggestions for them to change their habits slowly. For example, due to my concern on environment, my mother also tries her best to always reduce any single plastic use, and she always brings tote bags wherever she shops—sometimes she’s even doing it better than me. This somehow makes me feel really good, knowing that I can make a small impact on someone’s life to pursue the same vision and mission together.
My journey to a zero-waste life is still far from easy. I still have a lot of things to do, create, and change. But I also realized that a transformation never comes instantly. It’s not like you suddenly wake up one day and you check off all the bucket lists that you have. It’s a process. It’s never meant to be easy because it is not. But it doesn’t mean that I should give up on this journey. It means that I have to be more determined, conscious, and mindful about everything that I am doing. It means that I have to take more actions to protect my mother earth, because it is my home, and I will not let anyone or anything take it away from me.