5 ways to ‘go green’ in… thinking
I’m starting things off with tips on how to adjust the way we think about things to help us live greener. For me, it all starts with what’s going on in your head and increasing your awareness. You need to ask yourself: what does sustainability mean to me? How can I apply it my daily life? And, what mindset do I need to adopt in order to make a difference?
1. It starts with yourself
These days it’s easy to be completely overwhelmed by the constant stream of new (and sometimes conflicting) information on sustainability and it creates a great deal of confusion for many people. In the face of all these (skeptical) opinions, research reports and facts, I remain convinced that change begins with yourself. Changing your habits and your lifestyle really does have an effect on your own health and the health of the natural world, too. You’ll soon see that living greener and more sustainably goes hand in hand with living really well and that you don’t need to give up very much at all in order to make a few adjustments in terms of what you value. Make a list for yourself of five things that you’d like to act on in the short term. These could include anything from separating your trash to being more conscious and aware about of the things you buy.
2. Working together
When you’ve decided on the changes you’d like to make toward living a greener life, like being more aware of your consumption of animal products or adjusting your shopping behavior, share this with your friends. As I wrote above, it starts with you, but it’s so important to share your knowledge and experience with your inner circle. This way you can motivate each other (family, friends, neighbors) to live greener by making a few small changes. Working together can lead to amazing things, like making it a weekly thing to cook dinner using only leftovers from the weekend in an effort to reduce food waste. I’ve noticed that friends of mine have become increasingly inspired and curious and have started paying more attention to what they eat and buying/eating local. Another example is a friend of mine that didn’t end up buying the scooter he had his eye on, but invested in a really nice new bike instead. When I discuss this stuff with friends, my aim isn’t to convince them of something, it’s to inspire them.
3. Measure your impact
To get a good idea of the amount of CO2 emissions you are responsible for each day, keep a record of this for a month. This will give you an indication of what your footprint is. I understand that this is something that you might not want to face, but it should provide you with even more motivation to do something about it, right? I do this every so often, too, and it makes me acutely aware of the need to keep an eye on my energy and water usage.
4. Learn something new
Sustainability is hot at the moment. Newspapers and social media are full of articles that share new research on this topic. When you read these articles, it’s not essential to retain all the numbers and arguments that are presented. What’s important is to improve your understanding of the basic themes and ideas surrounding sustainability. Topics in this area include: global warming (climate change), fossil fuels, CO2 emissions, flexitarianism, etc. I regularly read articles on… And I also like to watch documentaries on this topic. I purposely watch a variety of documentaries (recommendation: Before the Flood) so that I get an idea of the different perspectives that exist on an issue, which helps me to understand the topic better.
The fact that you’re even reading this blog means that you’re already open to the idea of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Yes! I’m convinced that, in spite of all the technology that surrounds us – computers, apps, etc. – human beings and the natural world are always deeply connected. When you do something good for yourself, like eat healthier, organic and local products, you also have a positive effect on the natural world. Or by asking yourself whether you really need that new clothing item or if buying it is a way to fill an emptiness that your feel in that moment. Forming new habits to maintain a healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyle is just as important as forming new habits to contribute to a healthier planet. With the right, positive mindset, this will happen, step by step, as long as we keep inspiring and motivating each other.