I have tried to list some of the possible actions to help the Earth, and sort them from the smallest efforts to the most challenging ones. I wish people to see how easy it can be to have a remarkable impact. I noticed it’s not possible because we’re all so different. We are driven by emotions and habits, not only by rationalism and knowledge, and some ideas may go into emotions even without us knowing why exactly. Possible reasons could be our inherited beliefs or just feelings of overwhelm or unjust.
My TOP 5 of the easiest environmentally friendly actions includes; Reduction of Consumption, Composting, Recycling, Avoidance of Plastics, and Plant-based diet. Traveling and transportation are not on the list because there are factors that are not controlled only by us but by the areas we’re living in and the societies we are part of. If the infrastructure and services of our home area do not support public transportation, there is not so much that an individual can do.
Let’s take a closer look at the first one in my TOP 5 list.
Reduce Consumption; My previous blog post touched this possibility. It is pretty straightforward; the less we consume, the less needs to be produced, transferred, and wasted. The impact reduces the need for raw-material (abuse and overconsumption of nature’s resources) and emissions.
We need products, services, essentials, and pleasure – some of us more and some less. Most of us can decrease at least the amount of non-essential products and be more thoughtful with the everyday essentials.
-We all need food, but how much of it do we throw into the trash bin because we just bought too much?
-We need clothes for sure, but will we use fast fashion or more durable options? Could we swap clothes with people and donate small or unwanted pieces? Some people like to go to secondhand shops. How many pairs of shoes does one person need? Why?
-How about toys – often made of plastic. How much do the kids need? (Just asking as a mom, who has been trying to organize the kids’ room once again?)
-How much do we consume water? Are long, hot showers a must for us? How about electricity, heating, and cooling – all the utilities?
(I’m thinking about Marie Kondo again.)
Why do we choose to consume too much? Maybe some of us have lived through the era when we could not buy even what we needed? Reasons for this could have been on a personal or national level. So now we buy extra because we can. Or maybe we want to be prepared for the days to come? Perhaps we are copying the tradition of overconsumption from our families?
We buy and consume with our eyes. Buying beautiful or new things can be very satisfying. To some of us, shopping is almost therapeutic. We shop to feel satisfaction or because we are sad, happy, or lost – it can become an addiction. We pamper our loved ones with gifts and stuff – it is a way to show affection. What marketers know well is that the idea of saving money is very appealing. So if we get more with less, it is easy to take the chance. Sometimes I hear people saying- “keep the money moving” if I talk about consumption. Sure, shopping supports the economy, but could we spend money more sustainable ways?
What do you think? Could you consume and buy less, and if so, in which category? What could it give you or perhaps take from you? What kind of thoughts arise when you think about limiting your consumption? All the feelings are possible – it can make you feel convinced, happy, relieved, sad, defensive, deliberative, or annoyed. Perhaps this one, as the most simple step, is the one you can take as a meaningful action for our planet and the future of our children?
You can find a freely translated version in Finnish here.