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Small Changes, Big Rewards: Southwest Employees Share their Dedication to Improving the Environment


Across the country, our Employees work hard to positively impact the environment at work and at home. Below, two Employees share the actions they take to improve their communities by putting their Heart in action. Small steps add up to make a big difference, and we encourage you to find ways to give back too.




The following testimonial is from Dallas-based Flight Attendant Lori Barnhill

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22, but to me, every day can be Earth Day! Doing small things over any period of time can lead to big rewards for our environment.


One way I strive to make a difference is through gardening. Often, when people think of gardening they assume a lot of acreage is required. While it’s nice to have land available, it’s not necessary.


You can plant a garden anywhere—use raised beds in a small yard or plant in small containers or in patio pots if a yard is unavailable. I’ve even seen indoor grow kits available for purchase for those without access to an outdoor space. Any of these options are a great way to grow your own fresh fruits and vegetables.


I love gardening! Gardening is great not only for the benefits associated with garden to table foods, but also for the added convenience. I don’t have to make the trek to the grocery store to get my produce either—I can get what I need right from my garden. I’m also reducing my carbon footprint by driving to the store less, and when I do go, I make sure my trip is multipurpose and not just to run one errand.


Recycling is another way to improve your impact on the environment. As a Flight Attendant, I often talk to the Crews I fly with about their recycling habits. One of things I encourage them to do is collect any aluminum cans they use and donate them to animal shelters. Many animal shelters accept donations of aluminum cans and turn the cams into recycling centers where they are paid for their donation. The money paid for recycling the aluminum goes directly back into operating the shelters—it’s a simple way to make a difference.


The following testimonial is from Atlanta-based Material Specialist Jennifer Johns

Since 2018, I’ve been determined to live a zero waste lifestyle. My reasons for choosing to do this are unique to me, but the outcome is beneficial for the environment and to those in my community.


Growing up, recycling wasn’t a priority for me.  As time went on and recycling programs became more popular, my family began to adopt recycling efforts at home. We all know the basics of how to recycle—like for me growing up, we had a bin for all the glass, plastic, and cardboard that we placed on the curb for pick up. While those efforts are admirable, I really focused more on my recycling efforts in 2018 when I found myself watching YouTube videos about minimalism and living in tiny houses. One of the suggested videos that came up was about living a zero waste lifestyle.


A zero waste lifestyle is the idea and practice of refusing to produce trash and add any waste, like plastic, to our already overflowing landfills. Being conscious of this lifestyle means recycling, composting, and being more aware of what materials you are consuming. This discovery has made me vastly aware of the amount of plastic in my everyday life.


With this new concept, my habits began to change. One step at a time, I worked to improve my recycling habits. Small steps at first; bringing my own bags to the grocery store, attempting to compost food waste, and consuming less single-use plastic. A few months into this lifestyle change, I was thoroughly impressed with my efforts! That is, until I caught myself grabbing a straw and plastic lid, completely out of habit. I began to realize that this was just a single step in my thousand-mile journey.


Since this revelation, I began to bring my own silverware to work and reusable cup to the coffee shop. I’ve also made a more conscious effort to minimize plastic purchases and reduce my overall trash production through recycling.


The zero waste lifestyle is still very new to me but I hope with these changes—big or small—I can do my part in preserving the

1 Comment
Adventurer C

Keep up the good work Lori and Jennifer!  I Luved reading this! 

I’m also learning to rethink plastic.

At the encouragement of my daughter, I’ve started carrying glass containers in my car,  just in case I want to take home restaurant leftovers.  It feels awkward, but it’s one less styrofoam container being used.