Home Uncategorized Things I wished I knew Before Starting my Sustainability Journey

Things I wished I knew Before Starting my Sustainability Journey

by Lola

My sustainability journey started a long, long time ago. I was a teenager when the news about the hole in the ozone layer began to dominate the media in the 80’s. For months it was all we heard about on TV, and in the newspapers and I could not get it out of my mind. It was not like an “environment day at school” moment, but more like an “OMG, is this the end of the world? moment.

I have always been a big animal and nature lover, devouring all documentaries that I came across, but never before, until that time, had I thought that those animals and nature could be destroyed, or that needed protection from us, humans.

So the Ozone Layer marked the turning point for me. It has been nearly 40 years since I made the conscious decision to do my best not to add to the problem. A long time in which I have learned a lot, gone through many ups and downs in my journey, and adapted my lifestyle to what I believe is a good balance between my personal comfort and the protection of the planet.

My sustainability journey was not always easy and often was loaded with frustration, fear and guilt. That is why sometimes I wish I could go back and give my younger self some good advice about what I learned. That is impossible, but maybe some of you can use the tips and save yourself some time and effort on your green adventure.

1 Take the Sustainability Journey One Step at a Time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a sustainable lifestyle! If you have been doing this for a while, you have surely already learned this but if you are just starting, it’s important to remember that transitioning to sustainable living is a journey, not a race. Instead of overwhelming yourself by trying to do everything at once, take it one step at a time. Start by making small changes that feel manageable and gradually build upon them. By setting realistic goals and giving yourself the time to adjust, you’ll find that sustainable living becomes a natural and rewarding part of your life.

2 No One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Sustainable living is as diverse as the people who practice it! There’s no single “right” way to be sustainable—what matters most is finding an approach that resonates with you and aligns with your values. I am more of an all-or-nothing person, and I felt very strongly about the whole thing, so I made lots of changes quickly, I was a passionate advocate of sustainability. But for other people that might be too much and they want to take it easy which is totally OK. Whether you’re reducing waste, conserving energy, supporting local farmers, or advocating for environmental policies, every effort contributes to a more sustainable world. So embrace your unique path to sustainability and celebrate the positive impact you’re making, no matter how big or small.

3 Every Action Counts

One of the things that frustrates me the most is when I hear someone say “Why should I do that? It does not make a difference”. Never underestimate the power of small actions! It’s easy to feel discouraged and think that individual efforts don’t make a difference, but the truth is, that every positive choice adds up to create meaningful change. Whether it’s choosing to bike instead of drive, switching to reusable products, or supporting eco-conscious brands, your actions have ripple effects that extend far beyond yourself. So don’t discount the impact of your efforts—embrace them and inspire others to join you in making a difference.

4 Stay Positive and Hopeful

In the face of climate change and environmental challenges, it’s important to maintain a positive outlook and remain hopeful for the future. While the road ahead may seem daunting, believing in the possibility of positive change is essential for progress. By focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on problems, we can avoid eco-anxiety and inspire others to take action and work together towards a brighter, more sustainable world. So keep your chin up, spread positivity wherever you go, and don’t give up on our planet just yet. Remember that Sustainability is the Journey and every small step forward is a step in the right direction.

5 Respect Differences in Sustainability Perspectives

Just as we all have different backgrounds and experiences, we also have unique perspectives on sustainability. It’s important to recognize that not everyone approaches sustainability in the same way or prioritizes it to the same degree. As I teenager I used to be very pushy, I wanted everyone around me to feel the same way I felt about protecting our planet. I had trouble understanding how anyone could stay idle given all the environmental disasters happening around us. But with time, I learned that instead of feeling frustrated by differing levels of commitment from others, I needed to foster understanding and empathy. By engaging in open and respectful dialogue, we can learn from one another and find common ground to work towards shared goals.

6 Sustainability Goes Beyond Surface Actions

True sustainability runs deeper than surface-level actions like using reusable bags or buying organic produce. It encompasses a holistic approach to living in harmony with the planet, considering the social, economic, and environmental impacts of our choices. We are really talking about making sustainability part of your lifestyle, and while you should not pressure yourself to do everything perfectly, what helps is to be conscious and proactive about those choices.

While individual actions are important, it’s also crucial to hold businesses and institutions accountable for their practices. Many companies claim to be sustainable because they use recyclable packaging or compensate for their CO2 by buying carbon credits. And yes, you guessed it, this does not even start to cut it. Look beyond greenwashing tactics and advocate for genuine sustainability efforts that prioritize people and the planet. For example, companies should include sustainable practices in their whole operations, supply chain and most importantly their ethics and values. Many of them are also undertaking their own sustainable journey, but there should be clear and transparent signs of where they are.

7 Drawing Inspiration from the Past for your Sustainability Journey

Our ancestors had a wealth of wisdom when it came to living sustainably, often practising resourcefulness and conservation out of necessity. By looking to the past, we can draw inspiration from their practices and incorporate them into our modern lives. Whether it’s learning traditional skills like gardening or mending clothes, or adopting timeless values of stewardship and respect for nature, there’s much we can learn from those who came before us.

8 Addressing Socio-Economic Disparities in Sustainability

While sustainable living is often associated with privileged communities, it’s important to recognize that access to eco-friendly options is not equally distributed. Socioeconomic factors can create barriers to adopting sustainable practices for many people, particularly those in marginalized communities. Instead of expecting sustainability to be a priority for everyone, advocate for policies and initiatives that promote equity and accessibility. By addressing underlying inequalities, we can work towards a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.

9 Individual Action vs. Systemic Change

Think of your sustainable journey as a piece of a larger puzzle—your individual efforts are important, but they’re even more impactful when combined with systemic changes. Imagine yourself as a drop in a vast ocean of positive change! While you’re making eco-conscious choices in your daily life, like reducing waste and conserving energy, remember to also advocate for policies that support sustainability on a broader scale. By teaming up with others who share your passion, you can create waves of positive change that ripple throughout society.

10 The Power of Collective Action

One person can make a difference, but together, we can move mountains! Joining forces with like-minded individuals amplifies the impact of your actions. Whether it’s organizing a community garden project, participating in a beach clean-up, or simply sharing tips for sustainable living with your friends and family, every collective effort counts. By working together, we can inspire change, influence policymakers, and create a brighter, greener future for all.

11 Simplicity as a Path to Sustainability

Sometimes, less really is more—especially when it comes to living sustainably! Simplifying our lives not only reduces stress and clutter but also lightens our environmental footprint. Instead of chasing after the latest gadgets or trends, focus on what truly brings you joy and fulfilment. Embrace the beauty of nature, savour homemade meals with loved ones, and cherish moments of quiet reflection. By embracing simplicity, we can tread lightly on the Earth and rediscover the true richness of life.

I am trying to bring the same principle into my business Green Cloud Nine, to help everyone willing to get on this path, to take small, simple steps. Consistency is what makes us and our lifestyle sustainable.

12 Advocating for Equitable Access to Sustainability

Sustainability should be for everyone, with no exceptions! While some eco-friendly options may seem out of reach for those on a tight budget, it’s important to advocate for equitable access to sustainable solutions. Support initiatives that make eco-friendly products more affordable and accessible to all communities. Whether it’s lobbying for subsidies for renewable energy or championing initiatives to combat food deserts, let’s work together to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live a greener, healthier life.

13 Engage in Policy Advocacy

Your voice matters, so don’t hesitate to speak up for the planet! Get involved in policy advocacy efforts aimed at promoting sustainability at every level of government. Whether you’re writing letters to your elected officials, participating in peaceful demonstrations, or simply sharing information about key environmental issues with your social network, you’re making a difference. Together, we can urge policymakers to prioritize renewable energy, protect natural habitats, and enact laws that safeguard the health of our planet for generations to come.

Lola is the founder of Green Cloud Nine. Nature lover and environmental activist since she was a teenager, Lola has always been a great fan of homesteading and she is continuously experimenting and finding her way to be more self-sufficient and sustainable.

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