Start Becoming A More Sustainable You
New Year’s Resolutions are an exciting part of the holiday season. But as that excitement begins to dwindle come the warmer months, it can be easy to fall back to old habits. Instead, try reaching your goals by adjusting the way you approach them.
This year, why not embrace the growing movement of sustainability! Sustainability encompasses lifestyle, science, business, politics, diet, human rights, healthcare, entertainment, communication… (you get the idea)! With these endless channels for sustainability, it can feel like you’ve taken on an impossible goal. But it’s not!! There are so many opportunities for sustainability wins.💪
Progress Over Perfection
It’s tempting to give in to these feelings of hopelessness as we try to find the most sustainable solution. This might be one of our greatest social blunders. It’s been said before, that we should not let perfection be the enemy of good (Voltaire).
Indeed, our search for universal solutions can impede our ability to tackle the present climate crisis. Even when we have the solutions, we struggle to implement them. It’s easier to simply carry on as before and follow what others are doing.
It’s A Mindset
Being more sustainable shouldn’t rely on a list of ultimate solutions and it shouldn’t come from a place of guilt, anger, or despair. While pessimistic marketing might spur an acute response of positive change, it rarely has lasting results and instead leads to greater feelings of despair.
Instead, consider adopting sustainability for what will be gained. For society, for yourself, for the next generation. Attempt to develop a fuller appreciation of sustainability and why it’s important to you. Focus on these principles whenever you begin to feel lost and return to the basics.
In reality, if we each invested the time and effort into teaching ourselves how to think more sustainably, we wouldn’t need the strong negative messaging or an answer from above.
Now I could give you an exhaustive list of solutions in the form of products, or lifestyle changes that many other bloggers, writers, podcasters, YouTubers, etc. have already provided. These often include reusable and eco-friendly products. Or David Attenborough’s impactful message of recognizing the climate crisis.
There’s also the environmentalists’ mantra of refuse-reduce-reuse-recycle (4Rs). While all these are important messages (and indeed make up some of our current top solutions), I’ve determined 6 ways that can actually help you change your approach to achieving your sustainability goals for 2021.
💚 1) Think long term.
When it comes to products, this means considering its entire life-cycle. Disassemble products and practices to really determine if something is sustainable. It’s not only about the natural resources going into something. We should also consider the labour, the logistics, the retailer, its durability, and how it will be disposed of.
💚 2) Be critical.
Read, research, repeat. There is so much information available to us, use it! Understand product labels, research third-party certifications, watch documentaries, and visit company websites to discover how they’re supporting sustainable practices.
At first it might seem impossible to digest all this information, but don’t get discouraged! Dig deeper and you’ll be surprised with what you find. As people continue to fight for our right to a habitable future, the consumer has more power than ever.
💚 3) Take responsibility.
You guessed it, with great power comes great responsibility. You are an inhabitant of this planet. It helps to think of our relationship with the environment as a responsibility, rather than a right.
In doing so, we might act differently when we think about how our actions impact others and the Earth. It’s time for us to show humility rather than presumption when it comes to following the principles of healthy ecosystems and just societies.
💚 4) Look back to look forward.
Oftentimes we find solutions by considering what we’ve done things in the past. We can analyze certain practices, such as the burning of fossil fuels, which have played an undeniable role in our societal evolution, but has had major impacts along the way.
Practices such as home gardening or using cloth diapers have been around for generations and are some of the simplest ways we can become more sustainable. It’s so important for us to learn and reflect on our past in order to be able to improve our future.
💚 5) Respect nature.
Get outside and be amazed by nature! Many individuals who have begun their journey towards sustainability, began with love for the natural world. Bees, trees, coral reefs, and koalas are all amazing, irreplaceable beings that are often overlooked in our economically-focused societies. However, the more we feel connected to our planet, the more we can empathize with how we treat it.
💚 6) Become a leader.
If you really want to make a difference, lead others to do the same. Share your journey, your mistakes, your realizations, and your excitement. Don’t get trapped into following the status quo. Or let fear stop you from speaking against ideas and practices that don’t support your new sustainability mindset. You can make a difference!
From Resolutions To Actions
By no means are these resolutions the “golden rules” of sustainability. Rather, these are guidelines that have helped me make better decisions and lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Before I make a purchase, book a trip, or add input into a conversation, I ask myself, is this the best I can do?
Of course I sometimes choose the wrong option. Whether on purpose or by accident, mistakes will happen. But that’s okay too! It just means that I will try to do better next time. I know that sustainability is a longterm commitment, and it feels awesome to be on this path.
New Year, New Outlook
It’s empowering! Indeed, incorporating these resolutions have also helped me lead a happier life! As much as sustainability is about ensuring a better future for generations to come, it’s also a way to feel more fulfilled and satisfied. By attempting to become more sustainable, you might end up reaching your other life goals as well! Such as eating healthier, connecting with nature, saving money, developing new hobbies, and meeting like-minded people.
In the end, adopting sustainability resolutions is really about becoming a better version of yourself. It’s about what you can accomplish as an individual. But what if that something also happens to serve the world? Wouldn’t that be awesome?!🌎🙏
Editing by Marc-Antoni Tarondo
I find it hard to think long-term when considering products I buy, but it makes all the difference!