Sustainable change must start with individuals who want to see change. Scientists have been urging for changes to help reduce climate change since the 1980s. However, many non-scientists continuous deflected their research, thus delaying the climate movement from fully setting sail. Shifting the paradigm would take a lot of work in many sectors. However, I feel that currently we are on a great start. I believe that social media has allowed for more sustainable changes to occur, thus shifting the paradigm toward more sustainable practices. There have been changes such as eliminating plastic straws, the rise or veganism, how to properly recycle, and how to properly dispose of mask, which have all been shared virally and implemented within the lives of individuals on social media. Also, with many climate activist accounts and individuals on the platform, scientifically researched posts are shared widely and allow conversations to occur along with raising awareness to climate problems and solutions. I think of conversations over the harms of fast fashion brands and how a massive shift towards thrifting clothing and second hand shopping resulted; this was due to many posts, videos, and influencers speaking up about over consumptions and the impact this has on climate.
To shift the sustainability paradigm, there must be an emphasis on plastics (microplastics), energy usage/consumption, air and water quality, food and agriculture, and many other environmental sectors. This is because sustainability is a huge field and overlaps with many environmental sectors. Shifting the paradigm begins by acknowledging the problem at hand, brainstorming how to solve it (even at a minuscule level), and taking steps to work towards shifting the way things were. With DeKalb County, I have always wondered why there is not “mandatory” recycling such as in California. There are many recycling sites and I know that individuals can opt in to participate in recycling, but it is not widely utilized or implemented, at least in my area. I would love to further research how do we move towards wide scale recycling at schools, stadiums, restaurants/stores, and even at a residential level. Alongside this, how do we move towards eliminating excessive plastic usage and Styrofoam.