Let's start with this:
“ I believe you can take minor steps, make sure it's becoming a smooth process before you add something new to it. And I don't want you to feel guilty when you are trying to be sustainable and it's not working out like you take the plane or whatever. There are a lot of unsustainable things you can do and it's okay.”
That being said, I think sustainability is cool. It is a process full of learning, becoming aware of choices you make and changing them to make you feel better about yourself. Eventually that’s what everyone wants right?
I truly believe that if you take care of yourself first, the result is you can take care of the world around you. It's like being on a plane when they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first in case of emergency. Don't do that for the person next to you first because you might not survive that literally. I think it’s the same for this : Take care of you first and then start taking care of the planet.
By taking care of yourself I mean, take care of what you eat, what is healthy for your body, what is healthy for your mind. Spoiler alert: that is not a lot of meat every day. It is not the processed foods, its not taking the car when you can walk etc. So a lot of choices you make on a daily basis, can easily be both good for you AND sustainable.
If those kind of foods are still a large part of your diet, don’t worry, they were for me too. That changed after a couple of lectures at university on how we keep animals for food production and watching the documentary “what the health” on netflix. At this moment I eat meat maybe twice a month, only on special occasions, I prefer vegan food and I am not hardcore vegan.
Knowing the backstory of where your food came from, might help you make more sustainable choices along the way. A great documentary on how food can be grown sustainably is ‘The biggest little farm”.
And once you know a little background, it is much easier to start switching out one item at a time. Get to know which type of milk replacement you like (for me that's the oat-version), how you can replace meat (processed replacements or just simple and plain beans). Every time you find one item that works, it becomes a game of finding more. By learning what works for you you can make a huge impact.
This does not only work this way for food, you can swap out your whole grocery list, item by item. Or start in a different area of your life, energy consumption, clothing, travel habits, you name it. Pick one area and try one item or thing sustainable.
Sustainability is all about creating healthy relationships. We can't love other people better than we can love ourselves. We spend the most time with ourselves. Once you start doing whatever you can to change the world from a place of loving yourself, it is also okay if it’s not perfect.
Yes, I prefer the train versus the plane, however that doesn’t mean I’ll never fly. Yes I prefer vegan food over other options, and that doesn’t mean I eat vegan only.
To me it is okay to not force myself all the way into a sustainable pattern because that would simply mean I deny myself to really live. And I believe the biggest change, the highest impact is only possible when you start out from a place of loving yourself. That is how you inspire yourself and the people around you.
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Do you have a friend who struggles with being sustainable? Someone who wants too, but feels guilty about making the wrong choices? Share this article with them to make their day better and be their hero!