24 February 2020

Perfectly Imperfect Sustainable Actions

Does being environmentally conscious mean that I have to do it perfectly?

Short answer: Hell to the no.

Growing up, I didn’t have any understanding of environmental awareness. I mostly saw was extremists giving up their cars, and chaining themselves to trees. But, I also saw Lisa Simpson. Now I know she is fictional, but come on, she’s cool. (She’s an animated cartoon character who is kind, caring, smart, and witty. She’s also passionate about world issues including climate change, animal cruelty and feminism- just in case you’ve never seen an episode of The Simpsons). There wasn’t much representation of strong environmental advocates that were living practically. It seemed almost unimaginable to ever commit to be being an environmental advocate because all that I was seeing was extremists that went without modern conveniences, that most people rely on. And, as the phrase goes, “you can’t be what you can’t see”, right?

Now more so than ever before, there’s plenty of education. With the development of communication, we’re now able to share and learn more than ever before. So, we know we can all do better. But, it seems as though a lot of what we’re seeing through social media is the glossy unrealistic expectation of environmentalism. It’s completely plastic-free lunchboxes, pantries with matching glass jars and beautiful tote bags. Much like the majority of popular instagram accounts, it’s not realistic, nor is it necessary. 

Start simple. What simple change can you make this week? Think about an aspect of your life that you use regularly. It might be your daily coffee that comes in a disposable cup. It might be your plastic shopping bags. It can be anything at all that you think you could make a change, easily. Start with that. As you begin to include more sustainable actions into your life, you’ll soon be wondering why you didn’t start sooner. Oh and did I mention, this shouldn’t be a chore or totally time consuming. Sustainable living is fun, trust me. If you’ve had your eye on a gorgeous re-usable coffee cup, or maybe you’ve always thought about thrift shopping; This is the call to action you’ve been waiting for. 

No matter what you’re trying, changing, re-using or making, I encourage you to reward yourself. You’ve started, and that’s terrific. You should be so proud of yourself. 

Today, I identify as an environmental advocate. Not because I’ve given up my car, or that I think we all need to. But, simply because I am trying everyday to live more consciously. My values are aligned with sustainability because I feel so grateful to live in a country with beautiful wildlife, and clean beaches. And, I think it’s our job to protect that. I encourage you to dig deep and find your ‘why?’. Why does environmentalism matter to you? Why are you interested to learn more? What brought you to this blog, and what are you looking for? Knowing the answers to these questions will help guide you through your sustainability journey. 

I’m here to assure you that being an environmental advocate does not mean selling 99% of your belongings to live in a van. (Sure, I know plenty of people who have), but there’s no one right way of being an environmental advocate. There’s a model I follow on instagram. She travels the world to get to high-paying fast-fashion jobs. She talks often about animal welfare and plant-based living. I commend her for that. People like her, who are using their platform to promote positive environmental change should not be criticised for what they’re not doing, but instead celebrated for what they are doing. And, although it is not the same way that I choose to take action, I trust that it is through a collaborative effort of imperfect action, that we will create change.

Societal and global change does not happen overnight. It will take patience and the consistent imperfect actions of many to demand change. The good news is, you’ve started, and that means you’re one of us now, you’re environmentally conscious and you’re on the right track to helping myself and millions of others to create a better future.

Yours in all things sustainable, 

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