It’s easier to follow through on a positive intention than a negative one, so when planning changes, there’s a lot to be said for couching them in ‘I will do’ style terms, than thinking about giving up, cutting back and so forth. Human nature is such that we do not like to feel we are depriving ourselves. If we think of a planned action as a chore, or something inherently miserable, it’s that bit harder to see it through.
I’ve talked a lot in previous blogs about the need to be able to get by with less. We have a wasteful culture that consumes too much. But, saying ‘you have to give stuff up’ is, I realise, a quick way of turning people off. So, today I thought it would be interesting to look at framing such ideas in more positive and productive language. Not least because once you get into living in greener ways, it gives far more than it costs, and the personal benefits are significant.
This isn’t just an issue about taking less from the planet, it’s an entire lifestyle. How we live, how we treat ourselves is very much part of the process. Self care should be an intrinsic part of any green agenda. Taking care of the planet begins at home, with better self care, and actions that save resources, and money. We need to do this for ourselves and our own wellbeing as much as we do it for altruistic reasons. We are pushed to work longer hours to buy more things we don’t need in order to hide from ourselves the ways in which this lifestyle makes us unwell, and unhappy. Time taken for the self, enjoying no, or low cost rewarding activities, is good for the soul, and the body, and the planet. These things are not separate. Being green is not about self denial, it’s about recognising we’ve been sold an idea of happiness that is all about making other people rich, and has nothing at all to do with what is actually good. Being green is also about reclaiming your life, your control, and your happiness.
I offer below a list of positive actions which I’m undertaking, all of which have a green element, add to life in good ways, and none of which are difficult. If you can think of more, then please add them to the comments.
I will buy only what I need, and save myself money.
I will turn off devices I’m not using them, which will cut my electricity bills.
I will walk more.
I will eat more fruit and veg, and less pre-packed stuff.
I will use greener cleaning products.
I will drink more water, for my own wellbeing and economy.
When something ceases to be useful to me, I will find it a new home.
I will spend time outdoors, in green places, relaxing.
I will get my money’s worth out of the things I buy.
I will invest in things that last rather than waste money on cheap tat I have to keep replacing.
I will spend more time with friends, and less time with the television/computer.
I will grow some of my own food.
I will be in control of what I eat and make food I can really enjoy.
I will work out what makes me truly happy, and do more of it.
I will slow down and enjoy things more.
I will make choices I can feel proud of and take joy in.