In August I asked, on my Instagram story, why either themselves or others choose not to try and live more sustainably. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done since it sparked so much conversation over the issue and opened up my eyes to see ways I can use this platform for good. I will anonymously list all of the responses at the end of this post so check it out if you’re curious, but there were a few responses that many people responded and I thought I’d dive deeper into these, explain why they may exist and why you certainly shouldn’t let these stop you from living more sustainably.
- More Expensive
This is a very common misconception when it comes to the sustainability trend. I think this is because, just like any other trend, people try and do so in a way that is so picturesque it would be accepted by others in a social context. It’s funny that this is even a thing since the whole premise behind sustainability is living minimally and not needing to buy new, but instead, find ways to repurpose what you already have. When you look at it from this perspective, living sustainably actually saves you money. Thrifting, repurposing old containers as lunch packs or bulk storage, and buying less all fall under the umbrella of sustainability and are far cheaper than their non-eco-friendly counterparts.
Spaghetti Jar $2.49
Amazon Fancy Storage Containers $26.93
Both serve the same purpose but with the Spaghetti jar, you get a 2 for 1 use out of it and saved a lot. So in the end, fake Instagrammable sustainability can become expensive but if you live sustainability how it was intended you will save lots! Here is a great Instagram account to help you find budget v investment sustainable swaps.
NOTE: There are some times where you may need to splurge like organic v conventional produce, sustainably made undies and bras (no bra is the way to go honestly), and health products like maybe CBD, probiotics, etc. but from my experience, I still save money from the times I don’t buy new clothes, I make my own beauty / cleaning products grow some of my own food, etc.
- Their Actions Won’t Make a Difference
Another huge misconception and from the responses I got this seems to be the biggest deterer of people choosing to live sustainably. I would like to start off this discussion with a fun fact. By recycling 1 aluminum beverage can, you just saved enough energy to run a 14 watt CFL bulb (60 watt incandescent equivalent) for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours. JUST. ONE. CAN. Now imagine your impact by making just a couple of these changes everyday… it’s massive! Another factor people don’t realize is the influence your have on others when you choose to live sustainably. Through my journey I have switched the actions of my husband, dad and friends to bring their own bags when grocery shopping. Something so simple and not that monumental, but can you imagine how many bags that’s preventing from entering our environment… easily hundreds. Or when you choose to whip out your sustainable straw at the bar, people see that and it may not make them change their actions right away but you’ve likely just planted that seed. Humans have a hard time believing the effects of their actions if they can’t immediately see it. Shoot, the only way I knew that I was making an impact was because people would DM me telling me so or a nearby table at the club would admire my glass straw and reach out to me about it. However that doesn’t always happen, but I guarantee you they’re noticing. Whenever you do something that goes against the ‘norm’ people notice and it gets them to think. Knowing that in itself should motivate you to never stop trying to live more sustainably.
- Doesn’t Negatively Impact Their Lives Personally
Okay, this one kind of stumped me at first. It’s a problem people have in all sectors of life. How do we get people to care about topics like homeless people, immigration, gun violence? You have to make it personal, because if not it’s just this ‘thing’ that people can so easily dismiss. We are creatures of emotion, and we can change behaviors based on those emotions. So this got me thinking, how do we make the destruction of our planet feel more personal (didn’t think I’d ever have to ask that question but here we are)? Showing people facts sometimes helps, or images of these effects but what I’ve found to work the best is encouraging others to educate themselves on the topic. Nothing is more convincing or personal than someone who learns about this destruction first hand. No one likes to be told what to do, I’ve learned that the hard way. Let the facts speak for itself. We live in a time where we have an island in the pacific made solely out of trash, where sea animals’ stomachs can be cut open to find exorbitant amount of microplastics, where images from different time periods can show glaciers shrinking at an alarming rate, where people in certain countries have to wear masks because their air is too toxic to breathe. Encourage people to do their own research because this can’t be made up. It’s their planet too, they just need to find out about the seriousness of this epidemic on their own for them to want to change.
Here is a list of all the responses I got. What do you think about this post? Do you agree, disagree, why? Leave it in the comments below or reach out to me personally, I’d love to discuss.