Nature lovers are bonded by shared ideas, habits, and emotions. Think you fit in? These are 13 signs that you love the environment.
1. You get abnormally excited over animals–even everyday animals like squirrels
Exotic animals that you might never get to see in the wild, like whales, tigers, or elephants, are special.
But that doesn’t make the adorable guys that pop up in our everyday lives any less special. In fact, they can even feel more special because they connect us to our home.
Lovers of the environment know this, and we will continue to celebrate every amazing animal we can.
2. Few things make you as angry as seeing someone litter
Disrespecting our planet by tossing waste onto the ground? That’s shameful.
Fun fact: did you know that littering is contagious? And on the flip side, so is not littering.
Research shows that people are more likely to litter in places where there is already some litter on the ground–presumably because they feel it’s an accepted norm. Meanwhile, they’re less likely to litter in a clean environment.
Keeping our neighborhoods clean can have a positive cyclical effect by discouraging people from littering there.
3. You find yourself staring out the window when you’re stuck inside for too long
The reality is that people evolved to be outdoors. It’s human nature to want to spend time outside. And when all the joy of the outdoors can be seen just out the window, it’s all the more alluring.
Research backs this one up, too. Studies show that spending time in nature reduces stress, boosts concentration and memory, and improves overall positivity.
If you can’t spend time outside, you can bring the outdoors in with you! Having plants in the office has been shown to improve work productivity by 15%–not to mention it’s just great to feel closer to the environment.
4. You take spiders and bugs outside instead of squashing them
We’re not saying that to love the environment you have to adore spiders.
Research shows it’s human nature to be afraid of spiders–most people fear them even in infancy, before they’ve had direct experience with them.
But the true environment lovers appreciate that no animal deserves to die just because it happened to wander into our house. It surely didn’t mean to trespass.
So we take it outside to live another day, even if our skin is crawling as we do it.
5. You embrace and even enjoy funky weather
It’s easy to be comfortable outside when it’s 65 degrees and sunny. Things get a little more complicated when it starts to rain, snow, or even hail.
I’ll be the first to admit: I get cranky sometimes when the weather foils the plans I’d made. But the real lover of the outdoors still has an inner child that prompts them, once in a while, to embrace the moment, frolicking in the rain or snow even if their clothes and hair get a little messy.
6. Bottled water is your nemesis
In many situations, plastic bottles are wasteful. Events that sell crates full of these plastic bottles are especially cringey. My coworker, Christie, noted a yet more painful sight: a styrofoam sleeve around a plastic bottle (when the drink inside is too cold to comfortably hold).
Around the world, people buy over 1 million water bottles every minute–and 91% of plastic doesn’t end up getting recycled. Our collective consumer power can bring the first number way down and the second one way up.
7. You fight back tears when documentaries like Planet Earth show the damage humans are doing to the natural world
I chose not to include a picture of such a scene on this post to spare you added pain. But we all know the feeling of watching a polar bear search for ice or a wolf look vainly for other members of its own species. It’s even worse when we know it’s people’s fault.
Still, we must continue to watch and feel that pain. Emotional appeals can be especially powerful in stirring action for the better.
8. You’ll go out of your way to reach a recycling bin
Speaking of plastics, lovers of the environment are all too familiar with the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
If you love the environment, you probably aren’t comfortable just tossing papers, plastics, or aluminum cans into the trash bin. You’ll wait for a recycling bin–even if that means holding onto items extra long just to get there.
9. You get an extra thrill out of thrift shopping
And speaking of recycling, nothing says recycle like a thrift shop.
The apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. That’s second only to the oil industry. The more we can reuse clothing, the more we can cut down on that waste.
So while many people like thrift shops for their spunky options and low prices (and you might love these, too), environmental lovers get an added kick out of knowing they’re helping make the most out of each item of clothing they buy.
10. You know there’s no replacement for truly fresh air
There’s air, and then there’s fresh air. When you’ve tried both and really taken them in, you know the difference.
The memory of really, truly fresh air can fade, though. A few years of living in the city can have you thinking the air you breathe every morning is as pure as anywhere.
A quick trip to the mountains or the forest reminds us all of the value of really fresh air.
11. You walk, bike, or carpool when you can–even when it’s not all that convenient
Do you ever convince yourself that the restaurant is “just around the corner” and end up biking or walking a little further than most might be willing?
Ever tell a friend you’ll pick them up (or ask them to pick you up) even if it’s a little out of the way? Or cram more people into a single car (like these guys did) to avoid taking an extra one?
Transportation accounts for a whopping 28% of American carbon emissions. Carpooling and emissions-free travel can bring that down substantially.
12. The sounds of nature are the most relaxing thing for you
Few things are so peaceful as the sound of lapping waves. In fact, as I write this post, I’m listening to wave sounds on Spotify. Everyone has their own sound that washes everything else away and connects them to the natural world. For some, it’s wind rustling through leaves. For others, it’s rolling thunder. For still others, it’s a particular birdsong that has resounded outside their window for years.
13. You do anything you can to avoid throwing away food
About 40% of the United States’ food supply ends up in the trash; meanwhile, over 900 million people globally suffer from chronic hunger. That’s a major problem of access and distribution.
Lovers of the environment know the toil (and the loss of life) that goes into putting food on our plates. That makes us very reluctant to let it go to waste.