Sustainability is now a hot topic in many areas. Global issues, such as environmental change, may be difficult to consider oneself, especially when compared to something which could be happening right in front of the individual or something that has a direct impact on the individual’s own life in a way which affects them personally.
There may actually be many people who don’t come to the point even if they are told that they will leave the nature that exists in posterity after their lifetime.
In this article, we will introduce a solution for those who would like to live a sustainable lifestyle. One which is generally environmentally friendly, not just regarding traveling, but for all those who are frustrated by a perceived lack of actionable opportunities.
See environmental problems as your own
Environmental problems are getting worse and are happening faster, thus making a ‘wait and see’ approach impossible. Environmentally-friendly daily choices are necessary on a global level. As one can clearly see via news and documentaries, environmental issues are important. But when being realistic in real life, one may not be challenged to actually take any action. There could be many people who feel that way.
Environmental problems which are not something that is happening to the individual personally or someone close to them, can be difficult to consider in connection with the effect it has on oneself. The brain may not handle this as an urgent problem, due to the perceived distance from one’s own immediate ‘bubble’. Also if one is unconsciously busy with daily life, environmental issues will probably not be at the forefront of the mind.
To know in one’s own mind that “it is better to be environmentally friendly” is one thing, but to actively do something in practice may take a bit of motivation until it becomes a habit.
For those who are frustrated by the thought that “I know that I should be environmentally friendly, but I haven’t really done anything yet “, we would like to introduce some steps that one can realistically do.
Change behavior first and the heart will follow
In the mind, logic is the left brain and emotions are in the right brain. Making a logic-based decision to act or not act will result in an emotional response either way. In most cases, the emotional response to engaging in an activity which is beneficial to the environment or helps others, is that of fulfillment and satisfaction or some kind of happiness response.
It has been scientifically proven that even when consciously making a smile by doing the physical motion of smiling, it can result in a happy mood. In this way, conscious action can be helpful.
So then the question would be: if one does not take action, will they then change from the inaction? It sounds paradoxical, but there’s a valid point in it.
The point is to take action “consciously”.
Behavior → Habits → Affects the mind and way of thinking!
Start by making small things that can be done reasonably, into tasks. The act of consciously repeating the task will make it become a habit. It can be any trivial matter, but it’s important to consider it in a logic-based manner just to get into the habit. For example, preservation and eco-friendliness are often a matter of simple consideration, so it might be a good idea to think of it from a perspective of “how will this action affect?”.
What other environmentally friendly actions can be considered to become a habit?
One may feel confident that they are taking action and want to tell people about it or recommend it.
By continuing these behaviors, one will notice that they are more motivated and respond faster to people who are doing things that are damaging for the environment. Things such as considering if that extra plastic bag really is necessary, or realising that the shop has perhaps gone a bit overboard with the amount of packaging. Before one knows it, they are becoming more aware of the environment at the level of daily life.
If it is possible to keep doing it every day, so that eco-friendly behaviour becomes a habit, it is preferable. Once the thinking becomes automatic, many people find themselves feeling much more aware of their surroundings and wanting to share with friends on social media about it. Sharing one’s environmentally friendly activities actually has two merits. One is that a friend may be influenced and start doing the same thing. In that case, you have spread environmentally aware behaviour and have acted as an influencer. The other is the action of telling people, has the result that the person is reaffirming to themselves that they are a person who behaves in this certain way that is good for the environment, and coming public about it serves as a bit of self-imposed pressure to continue the lifestyle because friends are only too happy to hold each other accountable.
A reminder of some simple actionable behaviours
Write down the sustainable actions that can be taken:
・ Refuse wrapping paper at the store
・ Bring own reusable bottle
・ Walk, or travel by bicycle or train
・ Carry a fabric eco bag and avoid using single-use plastic bags
・ Be aware when shopping and purchase only the amount which will be consumed so that leftover food is not discarded
・ When making a travel plan, look for eco-friendly accommodation options
・ Make the choice not to wash towels and linens daily when at the hotel, etc.
Post that list in the room when travelling or put it in the memo function of the mobile phone so that it can be checked from time to time and see if any of these tasks can be done.
Once the first task becomes a habit, it’s good to consider what the next good habit to adopt might be.
Tell friends about it on social media
If it is desired to be a person who can act in consideration of the environment, why not make a habit of small actions first in order to guide by motivation and emotions. To look at oneself objectively and consider how one can increase their own emotions and motivation, may result in becoming the person who wants to be “sustainable.”
It’s up to the individual to take action. If feeling frustrated with the plethora of environmental issues the world is bombarded with on a daily basis, it may be worth it to give these simple tasks a try. Many small actions add up over time. That is what being more environmentally-minded is all about.
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