I had a career protecting the environment. But we need materials like lumber from forests, and metals from mines and grazing animals on range lands. We have harvest and utilize natural resources in a responsible way.
Calculate your carbon foot print. Insulate your house. Drive fuel efficient vehicles. Minimize are travel. Use native plants in your landscape. Don't let the water run when you are doing household chores. The list is nearly endless. Repair appliances instead of sending them to a landfill. Live a responsible life.
First of all, it's not a "me". It's not about "children or youth".
It's not about them or those or about men or women.
It's not about commerce or industry.
It's not about religion or philosophy.
The truth is...it's about us - all of us. And no matter how you deal with the "us" in this predicament,
there simply aren't enough of us who really care.
People think because they recycle their trash they are being responsible. Recycled materials mostly go to China. Then they make consumer goods and sell them back to us. Think about this. If aluminum cans stay in landfills, we can mine them later if we need them. We can collect methane off land fills and use it for fuel.
Flying in airplanes uses up a lot of fuel. Drive fuel efficient cars. EVs are okay but have limited range. They may be a stepping stone to better tech like hydrogen fuel cells or ammonia driven vehicles.
If you live in a 3,000 square foot house and keep your house at 72 degrees year around you are using up a lot of energy. Burn wood, it is carbon neutral. Insulate your house., Buy a smaller house. Regulate heat with window shades. I heat my house with a combination of wood and solar except for cloudy winter days when I sometimes use a propane furnace.
Limit your consumption of appliances and electronics. Repair and re-use.
I like the example of cooking on a fire compared to using a stove. This is an old argument where stove users sometimes feel superior because they don't use up any wood. When it is legal, cooking with fire is carbon neutral. It helps use up some of the fuel on the ground. Using a stove requires the mining of metals and fossil fuels. It requires transportation to move the materials to you and then there is the added problem of what to do with old fuel cannisters. Cook on a fire and you avoid all of those issues.
Put some thought into how much lawn you have, what kind of landscaping you have, native plants. Live a deliberate life with some awareness and consciousness. Carry wood and carry water.
The next step is to support Green Energy, fuel efficient cars, water conservation, air pollution control laws, protect threatened and endangered species, and many others. It takes some understanding and knowledge to know who to support.
I am a crusader for forests, and have spent 50 years studying and working with them. But I am not in favor of protecting forests. They need to be managed and that means logging and thinning. Otherwise we have massive forest fires. Environmental issues are complicated. It is important to separate out your emotions from the facts and realities of managing natural resources.
The obvious changes I see are the tremendous amount of legislation and rules for the environment of recent date. Every time there is a major project there is an automatic environment assessment, community hearing, and for sure lots of debate. Funny thing though - we still screw up on a regular basis. The new thing, or should I say, the increasing thing is the environmental taxes we now pay. Buying a car battery and the like includes this tax - as well as on tires, gasoline, and other items. And speaking of dumps our recycling centres are looking more like city parks now with well-regulated entry and exciting stations. Yep - lots of changes and far more to come. The newest one is the added cost of bottles and plastics - if you want to save a bit you take them all back to the store and get a refund. Im' sure that we are all seeing this sort of thing and there will be a lot more coming our way.
Environmental legislation started in the 1960s and then got serious in the early 1970s, 50 years ago. Some projects can operate under a CE Categorical Exclusion. Many require an environmental assessment, but there is no public input required. Some require an Environmental Impact Statement EIS which requires public input. NEPA only applies only Federally owned land.