YOLO Doesn’t Mean Disregarding the Environment

YOLO formation by people's hands
Image by Kevin Cahill via Flickr

The YOLO mindset is prevalent in the modern world. You only live once, they say. So you gotta live it to the fullest.

People say that there are certain ages we need to achieve certain milestones. We need to save something by this age. Or get married by this time.

There’s also the concept of bucket lists. Party as much as you like because you might never know tomorrow again. Travel the world and explore all its wonders.

But one thing that likely any YOLO believer misses is the environment. In fact, many would not think of the effects their activities have towards nature as they go about living life to the fullest.

Dissecting the Essence of YOLO

But does YOLO really mean? How should one live by the principle of there is only one life here? What does it mean to know your limited lifetime? What is the essence of living to the fullest?

There are many reasons and definitions to the concept of YOLO. For this article, let us examine four possible concepts about a life well-lived. First it involves the process of trying everything or exploring all possibilities in life. Second is the pursuit of one’s passion. Third is enjoying the world’s wonders by travelling. Lastly, you live life to the fullest by fulfilling experiences that leave a worthwhile legacy of your existence.

Trying everything

YOLO is all about the bucket list. Try everything you want to do. The name of the game is exploring possibilities. There are many different crazes and dares to execute every year. You do this, you do that. Everything to check off boxes in the list of your life’s wishes. There is the temptation to try the forbidden, just for the thrill of it.  Tide pod challenges, keg stands, and many more other daring activities excite many. However, they may ignore the environmental impacts of these activities, if they are not mindful.

You might think that enjoyment is all you need to chase in life. To chase after each activity that gives you pleasure at such time. To try all trends and never be left behind by the masses. But if you forget the place you live in the process of trying everything, what’s the use? Similarly, if you try everything, even those that can harm you, others, or the environment, is it even worth it? Should that be the basis of YOLO?

Pursuing your passion

Some would say that YOLO means to live for the pursuit of your passion. You only have one life to live so you gotta make sure you do it for something you really care about. Being passionate about something gives you something worthy to live for. It’s something to wake up for. But it all depends on your passion. Not to offend or discriminate but the term “YOLO” should not legitimize anything  that can harm Earth and any of the beings that call it home. Rather, you can find a passion that still fits your personality but also takes care of the environment.

Enjoying travel

Image by Laura Wills via Flickr

Others claim that YOLO is all about the globetrotter, the go-getter. You best live your sole life when you are able to explore the world to your heart’s content. You may want to go to Europe, America, or East Asia. For adventure or to learn about new cultures and peoples. Enjoying travel doesn’t seem wrong at first glance, but you must also think of the way you travel before the enjoyment.

For example, if you fancy a hike up Mount Everest, do you not know that you are participating in a travel culture that harms this sacred mountain? Or when you snorkel or dive deep in crystal clear waters of Pacific Islands, do you make sure not to harm sea creatures, including the corals? Or are you one of those who etch their names into monuments, stones, and other objects in the environment just for the sake of showing that “you were there”?

Remember every tour guide’s instructions: Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Travel with respect to nature. And better yet, travel with a purpose.

Leaving a worthwhile legacy – One Life, Make It Count

The aforementioned definitions of YOLO all relate to human experiences. It involves everything about making sure that you enjoy the present. It’s all about living in the moment. But what about the future? In fact, have you thought about what you leave after you die? Yeah, I know it’s morbid. But it must be said. Everyone must care about how their whole human life – all their experiences and interactions and relationships – will be distilled into a legacy. How will people remember you?

You only have one life. It’s good to live in the moment. But don’t forget about the future. Think before you act. Always live with the knowledge that you are leaving something about yourself in the way you live this sole life you have on this Earth. Make it count. Just as you only have one life, you and the rest of the human race also live on only one planetary home – Earth. Nowhere else in the universe can equal the way you live here. Cherish it.

Wouldn’t it be a greater legacy of your life if you lived it with respect and love for nature? You could do all the things you want. As long as you keep Earth in mind. You only have one life. Others can be born after you to reap the consequences of your actions. Live a most fulfilling series of experiences that bear utmost devotion to the environment. YOLO doesn’t mean to disregard Earth. Instead, think of YOLO as a principle of taking care of our planet in your own little way.


Living one’s life to the fullest isn’t really about dares, bucket lists or pleasure seeking. You could try everything you want. Pursue whatever passion fills your heart. Explore all places that excite your soul. But those efforts are nothing without fulfilling experiences. Without living for a purpose. YOLO doesn’t mean disregarding the environment. But it involves being mindful of your lifestyle in order to show care for the only planet you can call home. Above all, a well lived life focus on the legacy that you will find behind even when you’re gone. Live for yourself and for Earth, for your only home.


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  1. *Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

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