June 5th marks International World Environment Day, a time for each of us to consider our impact on our natural world and what we can do differently to protect it for generations to come. With an estimated 4.2 million people still dying prematurely from air pollution every year, the issue of protecting the health of our planet and our fellow earthlings is more pressing than ever.
This question is the quintessential marker of self-accountability. It pulls us out of the blame game where we feel like we don't have the power or influence to change anything in the world. It helps us focus on the things that we can control and see solutions where others only see problems.
You might not be able to solve the biggest issues concerning our environment by yourself, but it's the little things that add up, things like using less one-use plastics or picking up trash in a public space or changing a weekly habit of separating out the recyclables before taking the trash bins out.
Get inspired to ask the question 'What else can I do?' with these 9 quotes on what it really means to be a steward of the environment.
1. "We are such spendthrifts with our lives, the trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I'm not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out."
? Paul Newman
2. "We need to defend the interests of those whom we've never met and never will."
? Jeffrey D. Sachs
3. "The great challenge of the twenty-first century is to raise people everywhere to a decent standard of living while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible."
? Edward O. Wilson
4. "Every profession bears the responsibility to understand the circumstances that enable its existence."
? Robert Gutman
5. "We should have high importance and have a sense of urgency to do our part in being excellent stewards of our environment."
? Janna Cachola
6. "...despite myriad differences in beliefs and value systems, people have the capacity to acknowledge that the one constant across the board is the Earth. Her health is our health. Her life is our life."
? Heidi Barr
7. "...the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope."
? Wendell Berry
8. "The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte."
? Vera Nazarian
9. "The rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?"
? J.R.R. Tolkien
Start your new positive habit of practicing self-accountability for improving the environment by asking yourself every day, "What else can I do?"