We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.
Everywhere around the world people are making a difference by changing something they do in a positive way that helps our Earth. Whether those changes are big or small, each individual person becomes part of a collective community that together makes a huge impact!
There is the argument that governments and big companies need to change how they do things and not us. But there’s a stronger argument, and one that makes sense to me – that changing OUR habits and reducing demand for unsustainable industry and products puts pressure on companies to change how they are doing things.
Besides, I’ve found that by changing our purchasing decisions our house is almost chemical-free, our food is fresher and healthier, we have very little food waste (it would be zero without picky young eaters!), our house is becoming less cluttered with ‘stuff’ we don’t need and we are actually saving money!
But before you read on please remember the important thing to take away from this – it’s not about how much you change, it’s about starting! By doing this you’ll play your part in aiding our environment, our planet, and in the end… ourselves!
An Imperfect Journey
I have never, and may never, be perfect at helping our planet, but that’s why I call this an ‘eco journey’. This is all about learning as we make changes. It’s a journey where the changes we make become enjoyable, and special, and mean something.
However… I definitely started my journey striving for perfect. I have a habit (yep they are hard to break) of leaping full body into something I am passionate about. I get so excited and inspired that I come up with all these ideas to start. Pair that with my optimism and an unrealistic perception of time and it’s a burnout waiting to happen! It’s not wrong to want to do everything straight away, but it’s impractical and it put way too much pressure on myself, which wasn’t healthy for me or those around me.
One Step At A Time
So I’ve had to tone down my ‘all in’ approach and break it up into more manageable pieces. This is a much more effective method and has made the process going forward way more enjoyable!
In this post I will take you through the main areas of what has and hasn’t worked for me. I’ll start with the ‘probably shouldn’ts’ to prevent you making the same mistakes I did – because it’s easy to do when inspiration hits! Then I’ll show you the ‘do’s’ to help create a clearer path of where you can start your own personal eco journey.
- Take on too many changes at once – you’ll stress yourself out and lose motivation when it gets too hard.
- Read too many articles on different environmental matters that need attention – otherwise you won’t know where to start.
- Focus just on the bad things that are happening in the environment – while it’s good to be aware of this and use it to motivate you, too much negativity can add to the pressure you’re putting on yourself and can lead to you wanting to do too much again.
- Spend so much time making changes that you miss out on spending time with your loved ones – the people you care about, whether they are your children or other family and friends, are a major part of the reason you are doing this in the first place, so don’t alienate them or you’ll end up losing that fire and inspiration.
- Show frustration when it seems others aren’t pitching in and helping – firstly people may be making changes you aren’t aware of. But if they aren’t then remember this is a learning process for everyone. Many people like to follow a trend, and helping the environment is already becoming one. Others will start when they realise how many people are changing and the positive impact it is making in people’s lives, not just the environment.
- Keep what you are doing to yourself – if you don’t share the fact you are making changes then you can’t expect others to want to make changes.
- Find the environmental area you are most passionate about and make that your starting point for change – that might be plastic in the ocean, or litter in kids playgrounds, or food waste etc. You can refer to my Networks page for ideas, which lists a number of organisations and their areas of interest.
- Start ONE positive change at a time – once you get the hang of it and feel comfortable doing it, then start something else. That could be taking your reusable water bottle with you instead of buying bottled water, or taking a bag with you to pick up rubbish at local parks when you visit them, or changing how much food you buy and meal planning each week so that food isn’t wasted.
- Read up on ways that people have gone about achieving your ONE positive change – this may help make the transition easier, achievable and less time-consuming.
- Communicate what you are doing and why to others – whether this is on social media or face-to-face with friends. Sharing what you are doing gives others inspiration to start playing their part as well, and it starts becoming the ‘new normal’ thing to do.
- Involve your loved ones in on your changes and educate them – letting your children and family get involved in what you are doing makes it easier on you and also more enjoyable. They can provide ongoing support, assistance and even ideas to keep you going.
- Take time out for yourself, your family and friends – ensure you are still spending time with your family and friends so you are still connected with the people that matter most and make you happy.
- Enjoy the great outdoors, the places we are protecting – natural environments like the beach, lakes, country, bushland or rainforests. Whether you hike or swim or just spend some free time in these areas, take in the moment and appreciate it. Remember how precious our environment is, how it makes us feel to enjoy it, and keep the inspiration going.
- Feel proud of yourself for starting your journey and making a difference! Really well done! 🙂
So now that you have a little guide of how to make your eco journey a positive experience, and the things to avoid, you can get started!
Have a think about what it is that’s inspiring you to start making a difference (your kids, endangered animals, ocean pollution, global warming, a documentary etc) and make a note of that somewhere visible to keep reminding you of the ‘why’ if at times you feel overwhelmed. Then decide what your ONE change will be.
Are you nervous about getting started? That is normal and absolutely fine. All change can be confronting, but it’s also an opportunity to learn and grow. For me (even despite doing too much at once initially) getting started was one of the most exciting parts!
So enjoy it!
If you would like any other information or want to share your feedback or ideas with me (which I love!), please chat to me using the online form so I can easily get back to you. Feel free to share this blog or website with others you know and on social media using the social links provided, so that others can also find ways to get started on their eco journey.
Have fun getting ‘eco inspired’ on your eco journey!
This is the first installment in an online Eco Starters Guide that will be available soon when you subscribe. There will be no cost involved. Another preview installment will be posted on the website before the Eco Starters Guide is released!