Deciding to live a more conscious/sustainable or minimalism lifestyle, doesn’t especially mean that we have to go all the way and seek for absolute perfection (because honestly, who can? I would love to meet people who produces zero waste for example). For me it was never an all or nothing kind of thing, but a way to have a better understanding of my environment (both social and ecologic) and how certain of my habits are impacting it. Same with minimalism, it’s not emptiness for the sake of emptiness but trying to put more meaning into what surround me in my daily life.
When researching about those topics on the internet, social media, or simply by discussing it with people in general, I quickly notice how people are easy to judge (what a surprise I know). Ok, sometimes we all need a little bit of guilt to start to make some changes but this culture of shaming people because they eat meat, use plastic bags, or drive a car isn’t healthy or helpful either. My approach isn’t and never will be radical or dogmatic and I will always preach a do what you can, if you can, and if you want to. The “if you can” is quiet important in my opinion, because since starting to incorporate all these little changes in my life I’ve noticed that the place where you live has a big impact on what you can actually do or not.
Living a more conscious life is also not only about the habits that can impact our planet, but the people (or any other species) living on it. We are more easy to judge someone using a plastic cup than someone for not helping his/her fellow humans for example.I’m not really sure why, but even though we can’t all drop our lives to go volunteering in a war zone there are many ways to help others and wish for everyone what we wish for ourselves. It can be volunteering, donations, supporting a cause, being involve in politics, checking if the companies you are buying from are offering fair salaries and conditions to the people manufacturing your products, helping someone in need, education, etc.
All I wanted to say, is no one should feel guilty to not do enough, and any type of progress is still a progress at the end of the day. Changing habits can take time, so you should cut yourself some slack. Instead of judging others and give them paternalistic advices try your best to lead by example, it might inspire some friends, family members, or colleagues.
Here are some tips I gathered since making those changes, that you can easily incorporate in your daily life:
- Inform yourself, and share what you’ve learn.
- Get rid of at least 5 toxic/not eco-friendly cleaning products (especially aerosols like air freshener or sprays). Try to replace them with natural products (say hello to vinegar and baking soda).
- Be more conscious about your buying decisions : do I really need this? What’s in it (always check ingredients)? Where this was made?
- Don’t be fooled by the so called fair trade, organic, or ethical tags/labels on products (hello Starbucks). Always research.
- Reduce single use plastic as much as you can (for example I don’t drink tap water, so I need to make sure to have all those plastic bottles recycled). If you can, try to go fully plastic free with your kids (there are so many alternatives to plastic toys).
- Think second hand when possible.
- Engage with companies, designers, brands that have values and are actually making a change.
- Invest time in education and culture.
- Get Off the grid and try some digital detox to give yourself some headspace and time to focus on other things. See the apps I’m using here.
- Take public transport, walk, cycle.
- Shop local if you can, it supports your local economy, and it makes you connect with the makers and farmers.
- Declutter your apartment every time you feel like it. Always keep in mind that it’s not about throwing away, but making brain space. It’s important to have space for growth, or to simply have space to relax.
- Ditch processed food from your kitchen. Cook more often.
- Incorporate a couple of zero waste habits in your kitchen (like using glass containers, or making your own waxed cloth wraps (you can also buy them, I recently tried the ones from The Beeswrap Wax Co.)) or in your beauty routine .
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