I have experience it, I have seen it in people around me: committing to change our ways for the environment is sometimes a challenge, because let’s face it our adult modern life can be quite demanding. We have thousand things to do and limited time, so usually for many people (even those who care and believe changes are important) the environment just doesn’t make it to the list.
Mahatma Gandhi once said “Action expresses priorities”, therefore we need to find the motivation to give these behavioural changes a space in our lives, in our to-do lists, in our priorities. The million-dollar question is: How?
I believe the answer lies on pairing the desire to live a greener life with what’s important to us. I already touched a bit on this topic on my post about the importance of matching our values with our purchases, but I thought it would be good to expand it a bit from a different angle, so that’s the topic this week.
Our core values
Each and every one of us has a set of beliefs and values, and even if we are not aware what they are, they influence every decision we make, every action we take and how to react and behave in this world.
Some of you may be thinking this is an over-simplistic view of human behaviour and it probably is, certainly our brains are quite complex and I am far from being an expert on this topic, but if you think about it from your personal experience, you’ll find that often what drives your behaviour has a set a common grounds, the things that are important in your life.
Knowing what those things are is very important, because we can live a more fulfilled life knowing we are acting based on those values, we are standing up for the things we really care, we are investing our time/money wisely and in general we are being congruent.
The good thing here is that you decide what’s important, it is very subjective. We are all different and that’s ok.
Another important thing is to prioritise our core values, certainly some values will be more important than others and it is important to know the order, so we can make decisions more easily, as conflict inevitable will exist when trying to decide what makes more sense to us. I wrote about this in the “Rank your values” section from my previous post, in case you want to check it out.
I personally did an exercise to define my core values years ago, and it was quite helpful. Today, I feel I need to revisit them because we evolve, we change so our values and interests. If you would like to learn how to determine your values check this article. You’ll find a link there to 7 step process and they also have a list of +200 core values as a reference.
Actions for the planet
As I was saying in the introduction, if you know what’s important in your life, then you can start pairing that with your environmental goals and believe me, things will flow more easily. You’ll find that motivation to finally give priority to those changes because actions will feel more natural/organic to you and progress in your green journey will come surely.
Given that values are very individual, I’ll give you some examples based on some common values and how they can be translated into changes to live a more sustainable life. Please note that even when the examples are classified within a value, they often can be derived from several different values, so you may not like/agree with some of them and that’s ok, again it is about defining what’s important to YOU!
- Eat food that’s not packaged in plastic.
- Ride a bike more instead of using your car.
- Shop your groceries from a bulk shop (reducing highly processed packaged food) instead of the big supermarkets.
- Eat a diet rich in plant based wholefood and/or eat less meat/dairy.
- Buy organic/local in season produce, fresh and full of nutrients.
- Cook more at home, eat less take-away food.
- Make art or any type of creative endeavour that raises awareness about environmental issues.
- Support and share artwork from artists who are working for the environment.
- Look for creative work/hobbies which are less wasteful and have less impact on the planet.
- Take public transport instead of paying for petrol.
- Clean your house naturally and make your own cleaning products.
- Use reusable take-away coffee cups and get discounts.
- Buy second-hand clothes.
- ♀ Get reusable menstrual products.
- Borrow books from the library.
- Buy less stuff you don’t really need.
- Set some goals to avoid food waste at home.
- Reduce energy consumption at home.
- Learn more about how ethical are the brands you support/buy.
- Learn about fast fashion or palm oil industries and take action.
- Buy fairtrade products to support workers on developing countries (e.g. coffee, chocolate).
- Reduce the frequency you upgrade your electronic devices.
- Do responsible tourism.
- Volunteer for organisations caring for the environment.
- Donate money to projects for the environment.
- Plant trees.
- Connect with your local community.
- Buy less material stuff. Borrow stuff from family, friends and neighbours.
- Get good quality and multi-purpose products.
- Give experiences instead of gifts or give gifts with a purpose.
- Reduce your shopping habits and reconnect with nature instead.
And I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. I know that sometimes situations, some out of our control, can force ourselves to ignore our values, but as usual we do our best and perhaps in the near future things will change and we can be more aligned with what we know is true for us.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are” –
That’t for today. Let me know in the comments what you think about this topic. Have a lovely rest of your day 🙂
Thanks for reading,