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Using Hard Evidence to Guide Your Sustainable Actions

Mere opinions…were as likely to govern people’s actions as hard evidence, and were subject to sudden reversals as hard evidence could never be. So the Galápagos Islands could be hell in one moment and heaven in the next,…Ecuadorian paper money could be traded for food, shelter, and clothing in one moment and line the bottom of a birdcage in the next,…and on and on. -- Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos

It can be difficult sometimes to understand why sustainable practices are important. I think one of the best ways to get a real understanding of any issue is to start with a simple question, so I’m going to do that here by thinking about the question, “Why should I turn off the lights?” I’m going to speak from my own personal experience, but I think that my perspectives and understandings might—and hopefully will—resonate with your own.

There are three primary difficulties for me in fully understanding the question at hand, and they’re all interrelated, informing or resulting from each other in complex ways.

1) Removal from/Lack of Knowledge of the Issue

The first difficulty is that I feel too far removed from the core of the issue, which inevitably results in a lack of knowledge on my part.