When thinking about all the different ways to lower our negative environmental impacts, the amount of information can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking. It’s like every direction you turn someone is telling you something you should be doing differently. We should start first by taking a deep breath and releasing some of the tension this has caused.
The keys to making environmentally friendly changes in your life are mindfulness, understanding and forgiveness. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, to do better next time, and to keep learning and evolving from each obstacle faced.
When it comes to a low impact lifestyle, start slow and become aware of your habits. Take time to mindfully reflect on your daily life. Consider the different areas of life that influence our behaviours and think about how these habits are reliant on resources, some questions to guide this could be:
What temperature is your home?
How often do you use hot water?
Do chargers remain plugged in after a phone is done charging?
How do you get to work and run errands?
How long do you shower?
Do you rinse your dishes with hot or cold water?
Do you use a dishwasher?
Do you compost, recycle, reuse & repair items?
How often do you use single-use items?
Do you use up food before it goes off?
How often do you go out for take out/coffee?
Simply take inventory of your resource use. Don’t pass judgement on yourself, this is just to get a sense of how you comfortably live life. In the ideal world you’ll be able to marry low impact living with a comfortable lifestyle, and a step to making this a reality is knowing what’s comfortable for you.
After doing this inventory (whether in your mind or on paper), continue developing a sense of how our habits impact the environment. Then begin to look for changes that can minimize the negative consequences. Make small changes and give yourself time to adjust to it before taking on other changes. Your small habits will slowly come together to create big results.
A small change that can be easily implemented is as you finish liquid soaps (like hand soap or body wash) and need replacements, opt for a soap bar or bulk refill. This is something that only needs to be thought about when it shows up on your shopping list and will typically last as long as its liquid counterpart. One moment of extra care and mindfulness while at the store equals one less bottle entering the waste stream months later.
Like you, I’m still figuring out how to make a low impact lifestyle work. I often find motivation and inspiration by spending time in nature and by looking to others who have made these changes in their own lives. If you need more inspiration terms like ‘zero waste’ and ‘eco-friendly habits’ tend to have the most results on Google or Pinterest. But remember to take each piece of information with a critical eye to determine whether it’s practical for you.
Do you have any suggestions for transitioning into an eco-friendly lifestyle? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below! ⬇️