Sustainable and environmentally friendly? Somewhere between laziness and arrogance lies the golden mean to a greener life. We all have good intentions, but research shows that a large part of them are absorbed in the daily worries. And yes... we speak from experience!
Those good intentions. Exercising three times a week, eating healthier, visiting your mother more often and flossing your teeth every day are excellent resolutions that we probably all have. But this story; your guide to a greener life, focuses mainly on socially responsible consumption.
How you, as a consumer, pollute the world less and who knows, maybe even make something greener and fairer. But how do you fulfill your green intentions? We give you 7 examples that increase the chance of success.
Make things concrete for yourself
If you want to live sustainably and environmentally friendly, you can make a plan. Eating less meat, flying less, separating waste better and using less energy at home are good intentions, but formulated vaguely and without obligation. On the one hand you give yourself every opportunity to wriggle out of it, on the other hand you deprive yourself of the chance to pat yourself on the back (much needed, more on that later...).
Therefore, make your intention concrete and measurable. For example: 'I want to use 25 percent less electricity this year' (also nice with the current prices), 'book only one flight holiday this year' or 'don't eat meat three days a week'. Such intentions lead to a clear answer: you will or will not succeed in realizing them.
Don't make it too difficult
The greatest enemy of any good intention is arrogance. Anyone who has never run and wants to run a marathon within a year is walking with seven-mile boots to failure. A marathon is just too ambitious: try a half marathon first. This also applies to the green self-improver who wants to live sustainably and environmentally friendly.
Anyone who has been eating a tasty steak every night for decades should not expect to settle for a soy burger within a few weeks. Therefore, keep your goal attainable; halve it if necessary, to step up a gear after the first success.
.... but again not too easy
Be realistic, but don't set the bar too low. When it comes to climate change, the saying “every little bit helps” offers false peace of mind. The inconvenient truth is that "every little bit helps, just a little bit", while we need to take giant steps to avoid disruptive climate change.
Your conscience wants you to contribute as much as possible to a green world, but not so much that you give up and do nothing. Somewhere lies the golden mean to a greener, sustainable and environmentally friendly life. Where it lies in front of you, only you can determine.
Keep it organized
The world is ending and you can't move more than a small pebble in the river. At the same time, there is so much to do: from buying an electric car to reusing all kinds of plastic packaging and more. Where to start?
Don't take too much hay on your fork. Choose one green goal and start another next year, or take it a step further.
Information leads to motivation
The tricky thing about green and honest consumption is that you often don't immediately reap the benefits yourself. Imagine: in the supermarket you have to choose between organic and regular vegetables or sustainably farmed fish and regular. You know what the better choice is, but you don't immediately experience the benefits. Because organic vegetables and sustainable salmon are not necessarily tastier than their regular counterparts. What you do notice is that the organic variant is much more expensive. Keep your goal achievable, but don't set the bar too low either.
This is different with the intention to 'exercise three times a week'. You immediately notice the benefits: you feel fitter and the almost superhuman achievement of crawling out of your easy chair to put your body to work, brightens up your mood very quickly. The benefits in the distant future, such as a healthier and therefore happier old age, are almost of secondary importance.
The satisfaction that your green resolutions bring is usually not close and physical, but abstract and far away. Climate change is especially something that affects your (grand)children. No matter how noble we would like to be, in everyday life the here and now is especially important.
That is why it is important to give your green intentions extra weight. Therefore, make sure you know why your green act is important. You can gain information and inspiration by watching documentaries on the internet about the development of the climate on our globe.
Also important: precisely because you do not immediately feel the positive consequences of your green act, it is advisable to give yourself a pat on the back. Mention it in your mind when you do something good and be indiscreet: name positive behaviors and sensations and thus increase their positive mental effect.
How do you become a good comedian? Someone once asked Jerry Seinfeld that. "Write a joke every day," he replied, "and don't break the chain." Seinfeld has a calendar in his kitchen and every day he writes a joke, he ticks the date on the calendar. This creates a chain of crosses, and it is his job to keep that chain as long as possible.
In other words, translate your intention to live sustainably and environmentally friendly (become a 'green citizen') into small steps (do something every day) and note whether you actually take those steps, so that you cannot avoid your good intention. For example, you can easily keep track of your eating pattern in all kinds of apps. A variant is to write down in your agenda on every last Sunday evening of the month the status of your intention: are the electricity meter readings indeed falling?
Be patient and avoid perfectionism
A greener life does not come naturally. There will be moments of weakness, but don't see your mistakes as the failure of your resolutions. Like arrogance, perfectionism kills your pursuit of a greener life. Those who enjoy a hot shower a few times too long or eat that hamburger on their meat-free day are easily tempted to say, 'See, I can't do it. It's no use, I'll stop." Too bad, because a misstep does not have to mean the end of a journey.
I tried to become a vegetarian myself. A noble pursuit that couldn't compete with my desire to eat meat whenever I felt like it. I was disappointed in myself and therefore gave up my goal of not eating meat at all. Easy, because then I wouldn't have to be angry with myself. But it kept gnawing. A few years ago I tried it differently: eating meat only three times a week. That went - and is going - well. Have I failed as a vegetarian? Certainly. Am I eating more environmentally friendly now? Certainly. In other words, don't let the better be the enemy of the good.
Finally, some green resolutions
- Power supply: don't eat meat every day of the week, but determine a number of days
- Transport: not too many flying holidays this year; at least twice a week by public transport or by bicycle to work.
- Energy consumption at home: turn off lights, use less heating, turn off TVs and other things when they are not in use/no one is watching.
- Free time: Sunday trips from now on by bike instead of by car (most people find it more fun in the end).
- Clothing: only buy new clothing to replace old clothing and leave it too cheap. You know that the environment and human rights have been sacrificed for this
- Personal care products: buy consciously and as many environmentally friendly products as possible
For the latter you have of course come to the right place!
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