A gentle start to a sustainable life
So, you love the earth; you're aware of the state of our planet and wish to do something about it. For me personally, this is the most encouraging thing I could hear! This means we’re in this together...and the more people we are making the change, the greater our impact will be.
What I’ve learnt so far from my efforts to live more sustainably, is that people who have this love for the earth and who are on the same mission, act as one community. One kind and helpful community, who promote one another and work together for the greater good. Sure, there has to be a little bit of rivalry between different brands of products, but that rivalry is good news. It means businesses will work harder to better their products or the services they offer…and by better I mean making them as close to eco-friendly as can be. The more we demand sustainable options, the greater the selection will be!
If there’s one piece of advice I can offer those of you who are embarking on this mission, the best thing you can do in order to set yourself up for success, is to take it slow. From what I’ve read over the years about making changes in our lives, it’s always a good idea to take things one step at a time, otherwise you’ll run the risk that it’ll become overwhelming and you may give up altogether.
Start by picking just one thing you want to work on and focus only on it…once you feel comfortable with this, move onto the next little step. And before you know it, you’ll be doing five different things which make your life more sustainable.
Having taken this decision to make a difference in the world, you’ll be more conscious about your carbon footprint and you’ll probably start to become increasingly aware of the number of packaged goods you buy, the chemicals in your detergents and beauty products, the amount of water being used up, the pollution around you…the list is endless. And let me tell you it can become rather daunting! That dreaded guilt will kick in…’guilt’ a feeling we are ever so familiar with and if left unattended, can cause utter chaos to our confidence and mental well being. And this is where mindfulness comes into the picture. I constantly need to remind myself that I cannot do everything at once, and some days will be better than others. There may be periods of time where my sustainability efforts fly out the window because of other circumstances in life, and that’s ok. What’s important is that you take care of yourself and then go back to your sustainable goals. With time, your efforts won’t remain efforts at all as they will become a natural way of life…a new lifestyle you’ll feel so good about. But with time.
The fact that you’re acting more consciously and realizing that your actions do make a difference, keeps you always on the right track and a few slips are absolutely normal and expected (especially for those of us with children). Thoughtful decisions change the way we look at things and bring us into a sustainable mindset.
Through personal experience, thinking sustainably has slowed my shopping down. I plan better what I need to buy and buy only what I know we’ll (hopefully) eat. This week, the fridge ended up empty and there wasn’t enough trash to take the small black bag out, which means something I’m doing is actually working…woohoo! And when I went out shopping for supplies, I took a list with me and for once (probably the first time in my life) I actually stuck to the list, buying only what was on it. The result was a tidy fridge with all the things we love to eat and a lot less packaging. My pantry is taking on a new life of it’s own and rather than having mismatched packets filling the shelves, the view is slowly becoming an interesting array of colours and textures in neatly lined differently shaped, preused and loved jars. So far I’ve bought nuts, dried fruits, herbs and spices, corn, oats, rice and seeds, all by weight, using no packaging whatsoever. And the feeling is pretty darn good! Next on the list I’m planning on tea leaves to replace my much loved (but heavily packaged) herbal teas. But everything in it’s own time.
My first goal on this mission is to reduce the amount of plastic and packaged goods I use. And the first step I took was to carry a reusable shopping bag around with me AT ALL TIMES. And I didn’t just use it for grocery shopping, but also refused any kind of shop-given bags when buying absolutely anything else I bought (provided it fit into the bag…lol).
In my next blog post I’ll tell you more about other steps I’m taking to achieve this goal. But for the time being, tell me, ‘how would you like to get started’, or, if you’ve already got going: ‘what was your first step’? I would really love to hear from you. Leave a comment here or on one of my social media pages. And stay up to date with my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, because that is where I post most of my inspiration. You can also subscribe through my website, for my blog post updates to be delivered directly to your mailbox.
Be gentle with your precious self and you’ll be gentle with the earth and those around you. Much love, until next time. Yours, Louisa