A Beginners Guide
If you care about the planet and the place we live, there is a reason to be environmentally conscious. I would love to go on and on about global warming and the effect of how much garbage we produce as a species, but chances are that you already know that, or have an idea of how bad it is.
Just like most things in improvement, there is a lot of unknown and overwhelming information regarding becoming environmentally conscious. Yes, purchasing an electric vehicle is better for the environment, but if you are not in the financial situation to do that, then there are other ways to help save our planet without putting yourself in debt.
Being mindful of the products we use, and the waste we create is the very first step to becoming environmentally conscious. Taking a look at our everyday actions, and reflecting on which of those we can change is the perfect start to becoming environmentally conscious. For instance, if I journal my actions for a day, it may look something like this:
- Take a shower
- Brush Teeth
- Go grocery shopping
- Go home and get ready for brunch
- Visit friends for brunch
- Come home and write
- Cook dinner
- Clean the kitchen
- Take the dog out for a walk
- Make a cup of tea
- Brush teeth
- Go to bed
Taking Environmental Mindfulness To The Next Step
Now that I have my day written out, I can go through all of my actions and see if there are ways that I can clean up how I affect the environment.
Some example questions that I would ask myself are:
- How long am I taking in the shower?
- Do I leave the water running when I brush my teeth?
- When I go to the grocery store am I reusing bags, or getting new plastic bags each time?
- If I get new bags, am I reusing those for various things like smaller trash cans or dog poop?
- When I leave the house am I turning off/up the A/C to save on energy/costs?
- Am I turning off all the lights when I leave?
- When I cook dinner, am I efficiently using my pots and pans to save on dishwasher room?
- When I clean, am I using reusable washcloths and towels?
- Do I let the water faucet constantly run while I wash dishes?
- Am I leaving doors and windows open while the A/C or heater is running?
- Am I reusing the grocery store bags to pick up dog poop? (For some people, are you even picking up your dog poop- and to these ones: shame)
- When I make my tea am I using recyclable/compostable tea bags or loose leaf tea?
Keeping Your Environmental Goals Attainable
These are just examples of many different types of ways to start thinking more consciously about the environment. A lot of actual changes depend on lifestyle and whether or not it’s feasible. A working mom of two may think that it would be absolutely ridiculous to ditch disposable diapers for cloth, as she would need to wash them and have to spend extra up-front money on making sure she had enough to last. Maybe you live in a hot climate, and it’s not possible to turn off the A/C in the summer (or turn off the heater in the winter). The beautiful thing about being environmentally mindful means that you can choose what you can control.
It’s important that anyone who is trying to make life changes for the environment doesn’t feel ashamed of what they aren’t doing. It’s easy, with any kind of self-improvement, to compare yourself to others, or think poorly of yourself (or other people) for not being able to be a Self-Sufficient Environmentalist. It takes baby steps that work for your routine and lifestyle to make changes that will last a lifetime.
What have I done to make myself environmentally mindful?
Since I have been consciously thinking about how I can take my own baby steps to become environmentally friendly, I have:
- Removed paper towels from our household
- Removed disposable soap containers (I purchase a big container every few months and refill my soap dispensers)
- Buy more groceries in recyclable jars and cartons vs plastics
- Use reusable bags when shopping for groceries
- Swapped my sparkling water cans for a soda stream
- Make one Amazon purchase per month instead of several spread through weeks (not only has this helped with carbon emissions, but it prevents me from spending as impulsively and encourages local shopping: see Pillars of Self-Care)
None of these things happened overnight. It took time and conscious effort to make these changes. I am also very grateful that my husband seems to roll with the punches because some of these aren’t exactly convenient. My next plan of action is a simple change: purchasing water containers and utilizing those when I go places rather than purchasing plastic water bottles.
What kind of changes would you like to see in your daily life, or what changes have you made (and are proud of!), to be more environmentally friendly? Let me know down in the comments, or share your wins with me on social media!