We Need to Spend More Time Enjoying the World We’re Trying to Save

Kate Hall

I looked up at the stars last night and realised I was doing this whole “save the world” thing wrong. I’ve been spending so much time trying to save the world, that I’ve forgotten how to live in it.

I’ve forgotten how to simply exist. I’ve forgotten how to relax. I’ve forgotten how to sit and listen to birds or enjoy the crashing of waves on the sand.

Essentially, I’ve forgotten how to love life, because it seems like life on earth, and the earth itself, is at risk of dying, so I’ve dedicated my all to encouraging others to save it.

Image via Ethically Kate

Ethically Kate save the planet

While it may sound admirable to fight 24/7 for the planet, it’s not. Or maybe it’s just the way I have been doing it that’s not admiration worthy. It’s unsustainable for me to spend hours and hours writing, researching, and talking about our climate emergency on social media, without first and foremost honoring that I am a human being who needs fresh air, sandy toes, forest walks, and connection with other humans.

I’m completely caught up in feeling like it would be wrong for me to be happy while I know the planet and its people are suffering. I feel guilty every day.

But after looking up at the stars last night, I realised something.

I have a limited time on earth. Regardless of the fate of this planet (FYI, it’s not looking good), I intend to spend my life happy. There is no productivity in being stressed, overwhelmed, and inundated with thoughts about what I could and am not doing to better our planet. The planet cannot use me as an ally if I am too worn out and pessimistic.

From this day forward, I will try my best to save the world, while actually enjoying it.

Here’s my new plan, and how you can join in too.

ethically Kate

Enjoy time with others

What is the point in living, if I have no one to spend life with? I will prioritise my time to be with those whom I love.

I will embrace the awkward moments if friends or family look at me funny while I whip out my reusables when we get takeaway, and I will not persecute anyone who has plastic in their pantry or forgets to say ‘no plastic straw’. I’m not throwing away my activist attitude or attempt to be zero-waste, but I’m not going to let this plastic-filled society ruin my relationships. Perhaps this would be a helpful perspective for you too.

Be in nature

I’m ditching the constant laptop companion, and counting a hike or a swim, as a world-saving technique too. It would be ironic if I saved the environment, without ever getting to enjoy it, right?

No matter who you are, I bet you flourish when standing in a forest, breathing in an abundance of oxygen. Or maybe you’re someone who heads straight to the surf when life is out of balance. Be in nature. Sit in it. Let it heal you while you try to heal it back. Know that simply appreciating its presence and beauty, is helping it thrive.

Learn about nature

Nature is harsh, resilient, powerful, and stubborn. The more I learn about how it works, the more hope I have that nature won’t perish under the harmful acts of human beings. Do your research, watch David Attenborough, learn about all of nature’s cycles and history. You may feel better about life when you understand how the world rotates.

Be okay with doing nothing

I struggle with feeling joy while others, particularly the planet, is not. But rather than running myself haggard, I know I need to respect myself too. What good can I be to the planet, if I’m exhausted or dead?

Sitting on a piece of grass for an hour isn’t unproductive. Lying on the floor playing with your dog is actually okay, and taking a break from learning new ways you can reduce your waste, should be encouraged. Be okay with doing nothing, because nothing can mean everything when it comes to your mental health and wellbeing.

Saving the world is a large and commendable burden to bear, but please don’t forget to live. You’re here to be alive, smile lots, and make history. Remember that.

Kate Hall

I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.