“Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it.” Bill McKibben
I’ve learnt a lot on my journey to becoming more environmentally aware/conscious… It started from a place of desperation- realising I wasn’t doing enough to help the planet and I wanted to change immediately. I think a lot of people can relate to this, so please let me know in the comments if this is something that sounds familiar to you?
However, 2 years in and some things have come to light which I wish I’d known before starting and I’m going to write them here to hopefully help others who are looking to make drastic changes in life to help both the environment and themselves.
1. Think POSITIVE
This is literally so important, I started off my journey from a place of depression & sadness. This mindset thing was not good, it sort of made me spiral into a black hole of realising there was so much more to be done and that I still wasn’t doing enough. Add that with all of the negative headlines we see in the news regarding “climate crisis” “environmental emergency” etc and you can actually end up feeling really quite helpless and depressed if you’re prone to those sorts of thoughts anyway. It’s taken a few years, a year of travelling and lots of motivational videos on YouTube etc for me to realise this is just not the right way to go about making a fundamental lifestyle change.
You need to go in with a positive mindset, of course there’s always more to be done, but even just starting out is amazing. That first tiny decision you make e.g. buying the organic version of something, choosing a plant based meal over a meat one or anything is SO important and you should be proud of yourself. Think positive and don’t let people tell you you aren’t doing enough, which leads me onto the next point.
2. Stay in your own lane
What I mean by this is that don’t take any notice of what others might say about you. Yes, look to others for inspiration and motivation but remember you’re not where they are on their journey, and they’re not where you are. When I first started out I was constantly comparing myself to others and this just isn’t the way to go about things. Stay on your on path, and whenever you feel yourself drifting away remember why you started in the first place (see point 3 for an expansion on that).
There are ALWAYS going to be people with unhelpful things to say about you & negative critiscms. Infact there are always going to be talking about you behind your back and saying horrible things, and there’s nothing you can actually to do change that. They are either jealous or don’t understand what you’re doing which is absolutely fine!! Leave them to it and just keep making the positive impact that you are!
If you’re someone who’s sensitive to critiscm (like I am) don’t let anybody get you down. It’s not worth it 🙂
3. Write Down Monthly Goals and Stick to Them
At the beginning of each month, why don’t you write down a list of things (big or small) you’re going to do that month to help the planet/people/yourself by making environmentally friendly changes. That way you can keep track of progress but also not get overwhelmed. Keep things realistic though! Here’s an example:
- Get reusable produce bags for the supermarket
- Make my own moisturiser
- Make my own deodorant
- Buy an outfit from the charity shop for a weekend away
- Try to do one entire shop with no/ minimal packaging involved
- Volunteer with a local conservation society for a day
It’s actually really fun to do some of these activities as well! Like making your own beauty products is so rewarding and it saves you a lot of money!
When I started out I was giving myself far too much to do so I decided to make a monthly small but achievable list of things I could do and then I tick them off once complete 🙂 I suggest you do the same if you find keeping lists helpful!
4. It isn’t always easy
This is definitely subjective, but it can be hard at times. You don’t need to pretend that the whole sustainable living thing is a breeze when it isn’t! But that’s why it’s so rewarding, you’re literally going against the norm. In our heavily consumer based society people love things, and this lifestyle is basically contradicting everything you’ve ever known or been taught (unless of course you’ve been surrounded by minimalist/vegans etc throughout childhood/teenage years).
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Rob Siltanen
5. You’ll learn SO much about yourself
Qualities that you’ll probably realise you have if you stick to this sort of lifestyle,
- Open Mindedness
… And loads more! I really urge you to give it a try. Keep a note of everything you manage to do, no matter how small an achievement you think it is! Or even better, write a blog like I’m doing! It’s a great way to keep yourself accountable and to stay motivated.
If you want to start making your own beauty products here are links to a few that I’ve started making myself:
Coffee & Vanilla Body Scrub: https://ailsawright.blog/2019/07/12/coffee-vanilla-body-scrub/
Homemade Deodorant: https://ailsawright.blog/2019/06/27/diy-natural-deodorant/
As always please leave feedback below and let me know what you think! I love talking to others who have started their sustainability journey, and also I’m always looking for new tips and ideas that I haven’t tried yet!