The issue of devoting ourselves to living sustainably turns out to be a psychological problem. It takes a significant amount of determination to lock ourselves down and commit to this lifestyle, which is not an easy transition for, I would say, anyone really. Because as humans in a modern world, we rely on convenience. We rely on less effort and instantaneous results, for less quality and more quantity. But the major component of our lack of action during such crisis in our environment is the inability to educate ourselves and care, and therefore decide that we need to act on what is best for the world as well as for ourselves.
So if you’re reading this article, I assume you care slightly. But perhaps you don’t know how to commit, and how to strengthen that commitment. Maybe you feel you need a heavy dose of motivation. I’m going to show you 3 ways that have helped me raise my own awareness to actually care enough to implement eco-friendly changes to my lifestyle.
Method #1: Inform yourself.
If you’re not a reader of long and informative articles, then watch documentaries. Maybe even movies that raise this kind of awareness. Attend gatherings that promote eco-living and ways to reduce your footprint. Think for yourself. Retreat to nature and realize how beautiful it is, and how much it’s being taken advantage of. Be a little observant and use your intelligence to recognize what we’re doing to this nature (notice the litter, the plastic, the plumes of pollution ejecting out of automobiles). Raise awareness in yourself to notice what’s going on in your environment – you don’t always need media sources for that kind of information.
Method #2: Question yourself.
We have to ask ourselves some pretty uncomfortably cumbersome questions. Do you care about others? About your future? About the beautiful earth you see around you? Most of all, do you at all feel connected to what’s around you? Do you respect other people, animals and nature itself? Even if you do, which I assume most of us would answer yes to most of these questions, the final one would be to ask ourselves to what degree would we go to help these things we care about? What are you willing to sacrifice in your lifestyle that would protect these people, animals and places a little more than now?
It’s important to realize you aren’t separate from anything else around you. I realize this is a strange concept, but hear me out. We are all attached in some way, locked in the web of interconnectedness. So when we question our motives and our actions, we need to ask ourselves how disconnected we are from everything else. Once we recognize this, we’ll begin to realize that we devalue and even mistreat other living things in our surrounding environment if we can’t perceive and respect our innate interconnected nature.
Method #3: See for yourself.
Interested in your global impact? Then travel to a place that has the most amount of environmental effects. It doesn’t have to be the Arctic tundra with it’s dramatically melting glaciers. It can be the nearby park or the congested city center. If you live by the beach, like me, you can make a stop there to observe the garbage that swims onto the shore and the oil slicks that stick to the bottoms of your feet.
It’s one thing to hear and another thing to see. A WHOLE new dimension of understanding opens up to us when we see. More importantly, enhancing your perspective in this way shouldn’t mean you should end up feeling discouraged or powerless. You’re not powerless. If you care, and you see for yourself what the reality is like, you can SHARE. You can disseminate what you know to family members, friends, your community. Because the time is ripe to show everyone else what you see.
Now for another dose of motivation.
And if you still can’t find a significant amount of effort in you to clean up and go 100% eco-friendly? I don’t expect you to do it in one fell sweep! Commitment is a mindset, and the rest takes time. It’s necessary to take baby steps towards your overall goal. Small, yet each one counts. Start by purchasing eco-friendly dishwashing soap with as little chemicals as possible. Or investing in a nice little travel mug that you can use at any coffeeshop without creating to-go cup waste. Also start off by eating less meat (if you already aren’t!) As they say, it’s the little things that count.
And step by step, you’ll begin to make your way towards creating a more sustainable lifestyle, which feels better for not only the planet, but also yourself!