Changing our habits and turning ourselves onto sustainable systems that work for the planet takes work. It sounds wonderful when we read about it, but what are we doing, in our space now, to really affect change by spreading the message to those around us?
The crew at Teens Turning Green have been activating students on college campuses for years. They’ve just wrapped up their 2014 Conscious College U.S. tour, which began in March and covered campuses throughout the South and Midwest — from Houston all the way up to Ithaca.
They’ve shared alternatives in the form of sustainable, organic, fair trade foods and products, and followed up their demonstrations — which include lots of mate sharing — with a town hall meeting of student leaders engaged with the process of green change.
Many are already in tune with TTG’s mission to boost food and product consciousness. Others have quickly followed suit.
“In Kentucky, a student came up to me, and he would pick up products and go, ‘Tell me why this is sustainable,'” says Erin Schrode of TTG. “I think it’s more of a hearsay thing for a lot of students.”
Sustaining momentum for this movement can be a challenge — especially in parts of the U.S. where it isn’t mainstream to think so heavily about the production chain of your supermarket food.
Many of these products aren’t as easily accessible. But Schrode has seen really positive change over the last several years, thanks in part to the emergence of Whole Foods.
“Even if these kids aren’t the Whole Foods market shopping type, they all know where it is, and they know where to find it,” she says. “It gives them sort of a follow-up place to go.”
Being an active presence on campuses and encouraging students to create and continue the conversation about sustainability in their communities is an important step towards creating actual change.
“[It's been] that thing they’ve heard about, but it’s never been real,” Schrode says.