The Spectrum of Environmentalism

“Environmentalism” is a pretty dense word I feel is thrown around very lightly. But… what exactly does it mean to be an environmentalist? Or, are we living in a realm of “environmental convenience” where we only go as far as the limits of our comfort? Can we stand to change?


These are just a few of the different ways people have made this giant plain of environmentalism into reality.

On drafts, this is one of the first drafts of my spectrum before I refined it.

Off Grid Living:

Now, here’s an example of how even within a topic on the spectrum, there’s a ton of diversity. Some homes are small cabins in the woods, while others are tiny home homesteads. There are a ton of methods, and not one is more important or right than any other. Some choose to add solar panels, and others opt for wind or water powered energy.  Many people do lots of research to find the systems that are practical for the circumstances.

Check out a few ways it’s been done!

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Road/Van Life:

People are ditching mortgages and master bedrooms for the open road! Condensing their entire lives to what they can fit in their trunks, people are downsizing and decreasing their carbon footprint daily. While the carbon emissions their vehicles give off can be concerning, the culture opens to door for and supports the cultures of shopping locally, cutting resource use, and avoiding the cogs of corporate America.

These people often spend their days exploring the vast expanses of untraveled America. There’s something special in this lifestyle about actually getting to see the world. This compulsion by young people is only promotion a culture of individuals well versed in the views and landscapes of where they live.

Check out a few!

Cross Country Destination Trips:

From aimless adventure akin to Jack Karoac’s adventures, to premeditative and planned journeys- there’s an impulse in humans to expand their horizons and see with their own eyes what they world has to offer.

My own good friends Faith and Griffen recently got back from a trip to Washington. Along the way they stayed a few days in Oregon and Pueblo, where Faith was born. Her favorite view was Mount Baker in Washington where they stayed a few nights.

Overall, Faith described the trip as “something more raw.”

The best thing was being free to just drive around and live in the camper on the back of the truck, it made exploring new things easier. 

As for the struggles, Faith said:

The struggles of road trips, I think, are just part of the atmosphere. Like it’s part of the journey so even though we smelled kind of bad and didn’t always sleep and he complained about me stealing the blankets all the time it’s like. That’s life. That’s living. 

In all, I had asked her about her trip and I ended up with amazing quotes about her connections to more essential themes:

I have the desire to maybe not necessarily get away, but to get out there and find new things I’ve yet to experience. 

This minimalist kind of trip may have controversial gas usage, but the lifelong imprint and desire to attain a more natural lifestyle is still there. Mermories take plenty of time to dissolve, and a photo lasts a lifetime. The following photos are a collection from the trip:

Wastefree Challenges/Lifestyles:

For those curious as to ways they can help but are unsure as to how they really can, there are 30 day challenges. It seems a few over at Buzzfeed were interested in wastefree living, so they did what they do best and made a nice video documentary on one of their journalists attempting wastefree living. She tries everything from a Tupperware compost to shopping entirely package free.

Not everyone is able or privelaged enough to afford the fresh and local produce that can be offered/sold at co-ops. But as some have realized, once you’re spending less on packaging you have more money to spend on higher quality foods. The gains made by this challenge are super beneficial, as the ability to try what works and what doesn’t really help to individualize a situation.

Check it out!

Broke College Student:

How do these members of society play into the system? Well, as they tend to be individuals on low monetary standing, their support of capitalism tends to be lacking. Due to this, they find ingenious ways to reuse their products as well as making due without. A personal favorite is the ability of college students to care more about the Earth than many others I know. Whether it be their professors pressuring them to wake up, or it be them collectively noticing the degradation of the world… These people are making a change.

Their inability to support the capitalist system helps promote the reduction of their carbon footprint, whether they intend for this or not. Luckily, I attend a school where the environment is recognized everywhere. How we treat the world inturn changes how we are to be treated as a species.