"It's Not Easy Being Green" | How to Feel Less Intimidated by an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Nothing worth having comes easy -- that’s a fact. I think it’s safe to say that everyone wants a prosperous planet that is beautiful for eternity and will serve our future generations. That starts with us making some changes before it’s too late. For a lot of people, a more conscious way of living can be intimidating because of the culture we have become accustomed to. People may think their efforts serve no purpose because of the way our world has become. But how will it ever change if everyone shared that mindset? 

From my efforts to go green over the years, I’ve experienced some struggles and questioned my impact, but with the bigger picture in my head, I keep pushing forward with hope for a more beautiful tomorrow. 

If you’re passionate about the planet like me, here are some ways you can encourage those around you to have faith in their efforts and lend their hand to a more sustainable future. 

 

Little things add up to a bigger picture.

Start small! You don’t have to instantly flip your way of living upside down -- that’s not how life works. Healthy habits are formed with time, repetition, and then can become more involved. Living with an awareness of how your actions impact the earth isn’t a full-time job, unless you make it one. Small efforts make a huge impact in the grand scheme of things. How do you think we got here in the first place? (Food for thought.) If everyone had the same mindset of “my small contribution means nothing,” then we would have no small efforts and nothing would ever change. We need people like you, people who are doing their part, big or small, to initiate any degree of a culture shift. 

I could go on and on with examples of small lifestyle adjustments to consider, but I really like the list The University of Scranton put together, view it HERE. It includes things as simple as turning off your electronics when you’re not using them or using cold water to wash full-loads of clothes, which you may not usually think about. 

Don’t compare your efforts.

We all see those perfectly curated zero-waste Instagram accounts that are absolute goals with their fully-stocked mason-jar pantries, wooden cleaning brushes, artistic ceramic mugs, and handmade clothing. This is actually what intimidated me at first. I had the misconception that if I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint, I’d have to buy a bunch of glass, metal, and wooden alternatives to plastics I had already owned. I found myself getting overwhelmed, worrying that what I’m doing isn’t enough in comparison to those with entirely zero-waste lifestyles. 

Everyone comes from different homes, different ways of living. Some people grow up with an eco-conscious family, while many do not. Seeking to decrease the waste you contribute is a personal choice and you can accomplish that in your own way. I find comfort in knowing that these eco-gurus started somewhere too. What they’re doing is incredible, but it’s not possible for everyone. I remind myself that I’m in college, I live in a dorm, and I am sustained with what I have right now. If anything, I want to reduce my inventory, not buy a fancy metal ice tray because they “look cool” or feel “more sustainable.” Only invest when it’s necessary, even if Instagram/Pinterest makes you feel like being eco-friendly should be aesthetically pleasing.

Each time you choose your reusable water bottle over a plastic one, that’s something. When you shower for a minute less than you usually do, that’s something. Everyone out there doing their “somethings” is contributing to the bigger picture, they’re changing the world too. Any conscious effort, is effort -- don’t discredit yourself. 

Eco-friendly can be cost-effective.

A reason a lot of people find green living to be intimidating is the cost factor. Statistically, healthier, more natural foods are more expensive than fast-food or any less-healthy alternative. The same can be said for environmentally friendly products compared to their plastic alternatives. However, it doesn’t have to be recurring cost if you make the investment into pieces that are durable and will sustain use over time! 

By this, I mean investing in a set of reusable paper towels to avoid the waste from paper. Yes, the price range for “un-paper towels” might be $15-25, but think of how much you will spend on paper towels in your lifetime and all the waste that accumulates. You can even re-purpose things you already own to act as paper towels for free (like me!) -- old t-shirts can be cut or sewn into various sized “towels” for dusting or wiping around the house. I have cut my old clothing that was too damaged to be worn or donated into dust rags and rewash them. Simply using a bath towel or kitchen rag in place of a paper towel roll also does the trick. Zero waste doesn’t have to be glamorous, but it does require a little bit of creativity.

I personally have found that being more conscious about the environment has saved me money. I’m reusing/rewashing ceramic plates and silverware in my dorm room compared to my freshman year when I restocked plastic cutlery and paper plates. Being more strict with where you spend money won’t only save you money, but decrease your inventory of our planet’s resources. Find the one-time costs where you can -- the Earth and your wallet will thank you!

Share this article if you learned something new or to encourage your friends and family to make little changes in their daily routine to help save our home.  

 

HCXO,

Ashley