Are your green intentions coming true?
Somewhere between laziness and arrogance lies the golden mean to a greener life. Every green intention can succeed if you follow these 7 steps.
Good intentions we all have but research shows that a large part of that strands in the daily life’s struggles. Oh yes, those good intentions. Running three times a week, eating healthier, visiting your mother more often and flossing your teeth every day are excellent resolutions that are warmly welcome But this section - your guide to a greener life - mainly focuses on socially responsible consumption: how you as a consumer pollute the world less and who knows even make something greener and fairer. But how do you make your green intentions come true?
1. Make it concrete
Eating less meat, flying less, separating waste better and using less energy at home are fine intentions, but formulated vaguely and without obligation. On the one hand you offer yourself every opportunity to wriggle out of it, on the other hand you deprive yourself of the opportunity 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", "only book one flying holiday this year" or "don't eat meat three days a week". Such intentions lead to a clear answer: you may or may not succeed in realizing them.
2. Don't make it too difficult ...
The greatest enemy of any good resolution is arrogance. Anyone who has never run before and wants to run a marathon within a year will run towards failure with seven-league boots. A marathon is just too ambitious - try a half marathon first. This also applies to the green self-improver.
Anyone who has been eating a tasty steak every evening for decades should not expect to be satisfied with a soy burger within a few weeks. Therefore keep your goal attainable; If necessary, cut it in half, to step up a gear after the first success.
3.… but not too easy either
Be realistic, but don't set the bar too low. When it comes to climate change, the adage "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 prevent 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 more. Somewhere between laziness and arrogance lies the golden mean to a greener life. Where it lies in front of you, only you can determine.
4. Keep it organized
The world is ending and you cannot move more than a tiny pebble in the river. At the same time, there is so much to do: from buying an electric car to reusing the supermarket’s plastic bags. Where to start?
Don't take too much on your fork. Choose one green goal and start on another next year, or go the extra mile.
5. Information leads to motivation
The tricky thing with green and fair consumption is that you often do not immediately reap the benefits yourself. Imagine: you have to choose between organic and regular vegetable’s or sustainably farmed fish and regular ones in the supermarket. You know which is the better choice, but you do not experience the benefits immediately. Because organic vegetable’s and sustainable salmon are not necessarily tastier than their regular counterparts. What you do notice is that the organic version is much more expensive. Keep your goal achievable, but don't set the bar too low either. This is different with the intention to "run three times a week". You immediately notice the benefits: you feel fitter and the almost superhuman performance that you have crawled out of your lazy chair to run through all weathers, clears your mood very quickly. The benefits in the distant future, such as a healthier and therefore happier old age, are almost of minor importance. The satisfaction that your green intentions bring is usually not near and physical, but abstract and distant. Climate change is mainly something that affects your (grand) children. No matter how noble we would like to be, in everyday life it is especially the here and now that applies. It is therefore important to give your green intentions extra weight. Therefore, make sure you know why your green act is important. You can find information and inspiration by watching the climate film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by Al Gore as well as a later movie called ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ Or any other movie about the environment, there is a wide choice on Netflix
Also important: precisely because you do not immediately feel the positive consequences of your green act, it is advisable to pat yourself on the back. Mention it in your mind when you are doing something good and be indiscreet: `` I just didn't eat meat and that was good of me, because the production of meat produces a lot of CO 2 emissions. '' as notation: name positive behaviors and sensations and thus increase their positive mental effect.
6. Measure yourself
How do you become a good comedian? someone once asked Jerry Seinfeld. "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 crosses the date on the calendar. This creates a chain of crosses, and it is his task to keep that chain as long as possible.
In other words, translate your intention (to become a ‘green citizen’) into small steps (do something every day) and note whether you actually take those steps, so that you cannot escape your good resolution. For example, every day without meat yields a cross (or every week when you only ate meat three times). A variant is to note in your diary on every last Sunday evening of the month how things are progressing with your intention: are the meter readings for electricity indeed falling?
7. Be long-suffering and avoid perfectionism
A greener life does not come naturally. There will be moments of weakness, but don't see your errors as the bankruptcy of your resolutions. Like arrogance, perfectionism kills your pursuit of a greener life. Anyone who enjoys a hot shower a few times too long or eats that filet steak on his meat-free day is easily inclined to say: "See, I can't. It's no use, I'll quit”. It's a shame, because a misstep doesn't have to be the end of a journey.
I tried to become a vegetarian. A noble endeavor that was no match for my lust for meat. I was disappointed in myself and therefore gave up my pursuit of not eating meat altogether. That's easy, because then I didn't have to be angry with myself. Not long after that I was eating meat again as usual.
But it kept gnawing. A few years ago I tried differently: only eating meat three times a week. That went - and goes - well. Did I fail as a vegetarian? Sure. Am I eating more environmentally friendly now? Sure. In other words, don't let the better be the enemy of the good.
Some Green resolutions
Nutrition: Do not eat meat every days of the week, say f.e. 4 days only
Transport: No flying holiday this year; at least twice a week by public transport or bicycle to work.
Energy use at home: turn off the lights, use less air-conditioning, switch TV’s and other things off if not in use/nobody is watching.
Free time: Sunday outing from now on by bicycle instead of car (your children also like it better).
Clothing: Only buy new clothes to replace old clothes.
Personal care products: Buy environmentally friendly products (ekoko has a wide choice)