As the state of the environment continues to worsen, many are beginning to feel as if their small actions to help don’t seem to add up. They’re tired of getting harped on by granola-eating, Birkenstock-wearing hippies about recycling, saving water and electricity, or biking to work instead of driving. The feeling I’m describing is known as green fatigue.
Green Fatigue: apathy and lack of enthusiasm about green issues typically as a result of an overwhelming amount of ‘go green’ culture in advertising and the media; overwhelmed as result of the environment continuing to get worse, regardless of what each of us does to help it.
However, the key to fighting green fatigue lies in turning environmentalism into a lifestyle.
Although many feel that their small sustainable efforts don’t necessarily make a difference, that’s not the case. For example, millennials are actively seeking out ways to make an impact on the environment, no matter how big or small. According to recent research ¾ millennials look for lifestyle changes they can make to be greener. These changes vary from changing your shampoo or taking a bike to work or even putting solar panels on your house. Millennials are choosing brands that care about sustainability and are starting to abandon brands that harm the Earth. Additionally, over 80% of millennials say that being eco-friendly improves their quality of life. Millennials aren’t just improving the Earth, they’re improving their own lives as well. This has the same kind of effect as volunteering, which can improve both mental and physical health. They understand that these small environmental efforts make a difference whether it’s in the world around them or in their own life.
Millennials grew up in the in middle of the digital age and were raised around digital content making us extremely image-conscious. Half of millennials believe that brands “say something” about “how they fit in” to the world as a whole, and 59% are willing to pay more for a brand that portrays the right image, especially when it comes to environmental impact.
Because of this, an organization that should be targeting millennials is the International Ecotourism Society.
Ecotourism is conservation through ecologically responsible travel that:
- aims to minimize environmental impact
- build environmental/cultural awareness and respect
- support local economies of the destination
The traveling and tourism industry is the fastest growing industry in the world, so changing the way we travel can make a huge impact. Millennials are more interested in traveling abroad than older generations and as mentioned earlier, have an incredibly green mindset and are the largest living generation, giving them the most spending power. Ecotourism allows millennials to go to a remote destination to gain new experiences and enhance their worldview through mindful interactions with their destination. The benefits of eco-tourism are far reaching and tangible, focusing primarily on conserving biodiversity and impacting local communities in a positive way.
Participating in ecotourism, or even just sustainable travel in general, no matter what generation, is a fun and easy way to integrate environmentalism into one’s lifestyle, and the adventure should alleviate any form of green fatigue.