It is easy to become overwhelmed by global events. We are constantly being told about the catastrophic levels of climate change that could spread unmitigated disaster across the world. Faced with this it is easy to become despondent and apathetic. Feeling that if everything is doomed anyway, why even bother doing anything about it. Those who give in to this pessimism and turn in on themselves often become unhappy and depressed.
Recently many studies have been produced by organisations such as the Zero Waste Project and the Happiness Initiative, that have shown people who recycle and take action to reduce their carbon footprint are noticeably happier. The difference in happiness between those who recycle and those who don’t is the same as between those on low incomes and those on middle incomes. By taking individual actions like shortening the length of your shower or by making sure you use your recycling bins you can improve your life in the same way that a large pay rise would.
There are several reasons why recycling and taking action to help the environment improves your life and your wellbeing. By taking positive actions, such as using a compost bin for food waste, we reinforce our sense of connection to the world in which we live. Understanding that the choices we make affect the atmosphere around us can inspire us to care about the environment and nature. Taking the time to recycle leads to people having a better sense of community and makes them more confident in their everyday lives.
This may seem like an argument that caring about the environment is a selfish act all about doing what is best for ourselves. This is not the case. It’s about understanding that we are part of a larger whole. By helping the whole, we are helping ourselves at the same time. Giving in to fear and pessimism can seem like a natural response to large-scale problems that often seem beyond our abilities to solve. However, by taking positive action we can do our bit and improve our lives.