THE SHAME is real
Whether you’ve just started your journey towards sustainable living, or you’ve been incorporating it into your lifestyle for years, it can be a tough process. We’re not gonna lie, pretty much everyone in the community feels disheartened, confused or straight-up shamed sometimes. We’re here to help, and give you the comfort you deserve as you make these small but mighty changes!
OVERWHELM and GUILT and how to work through it
When we’re looking at our daily lives - from our activities and routines to the food we eat, and the clothes we wear, it’s easy to find opportunities to make more sustainable choices. Sometimes though, that can turn into feelings of guilt or shame at all the “wrong” decisions we’ve made in the past.
Our suggestion to work through those feelings is to start small and change as many things that make sense for you, at your own pace. That will look different for everyone, and that’s totes OK! Here are some ways you might start off, or deepen your eco-conscious living:
Take some time to think about the product lifetime of the disposables you use. Before reaching for your next plastic water bottle or plastic bag at the grocery store, take a minute to think of how long you’ll be able to use that item. You’ll likely find that its lifetime won't exceed more than a couple of minutes before it makes its way to a landfill forever. So try to keep your reusable essentials on hand whenever you can (in your car or in your tote) to help make greener choices in your day today!
Begin experimenting with small sustainable product swaps. Changing your favorite face soap bottle for a natural soap bar is a BIG step to take. Instead, try swapping products you are less attached to, like swapping your plastic bin liners for biodegradable ones or your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one.
Assess your real wants vs. impulsive wants before buying a product. Challenge yourself to wait a 24 hour period before buying something. Ask yourself questions like “Will I still remember this cute shirt I saw online by tomorrow?” What does its lifetime look like? Is it a timeless piece you will treasure or a piece that’ll collect dust in your closet after a few wears?
In-store shopping tip: if you're physically shopping at a store, you can somewhat replicate this challenge by walking around and spotting items you like without grabbing them. After scanning the store, think to yourself - what do I actually remember seeing that I really, really liked?
Check out the sustainability credentials of brands you love, and where you can try to ditch fast fashion in favor of sustainable, planet and people-friendly clothing.
Regardless of whether you’re doing all, one or none of the above right now, be kind to yourself! Remember that sustainable living is a journey, not a destination and that as the world changes, so will your practice!
GET EDUCATED AND GET A LIL’ MAD!
Michaela Barnett, PhD and Behavioral Scientist, wrote a great opinion piece for the non-profit digital magazine Behavioral Scientist where she talks about her own guilt and shame navigating eco-conscious living.
In the article, she talks about the roles corporations play in contributing to environmental damage stating ‘[o]ur sustainability guilt is misplaced.’ Instead, she recommends we objectively hold corporations accountable - that could mean refusing to buy certain products and spending more of your shopping budget on eco-conscious shopping.
We’re not talking about radical action here, we’re talking about objectively asking organizations to step up, rather than internalizing all the blame and guilt.
LOAD UP ON knowledge bombs
For us, one of the most powerful tools towards living more green (and feeling good about the moves we’ve made), is to get educated about sustainability and eco-conscious living. Here are a some of our favorite resources:
Trash Is For Tossers - Keep up with the zero waste queen herself, Lauren Singer. Infamously known for fitting an entire year’s worth of waste in a 16oz mason jar, Lauren’s website is filled with guides and DIY’s that’ll surely set you on a greener path.
Chicks For Climate - one for our green girls (and guys)! Learn the intersections of feminism and environmentalism through their curated content.
Intersectional Environmentalist & The Slow Factory - incredible and accessible educational sources we can't recommend highly enough. Learn the intersections of people and planet when it comes to environmentalism and keep an eye out for all their free courses!
Our Leap Loves Green Instagram - our founder and collaborators share tips for making your daily more eco- from upcycling to leftover makeovers and cool inspos