How to Sustain Your Sustainability

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photo: @carissaandclimate IG

 

In 2021, the word “sustainable,” has become a household term. Whether it’s a sustainable collection line or a buzzword on an advertisement, it’s clear that sustainability is a key part of the future of consumer culture. What does sustainability truly mean though? Sustaining something means keeping it afloat in perpetuity – forever. It means creating a system or process that can be supported indefinitely. 

When it comes to our environment, most of us can agree that we want the health of our planet to be sustained for future generations. But as we continue to understand the climate crisis, it’s clear that we need active, widespread participation from everyone to solve this enormous challenge. Every person no matter their age, specialty, background, or geography needs to take an active role in climate solutions and environmentalism. While we’re seeing a jump in excitement and involvement, let’s talk about how to keep that going long term. Let’s talk about ways to sustain your sustainability.

 

1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. 

When you first get involved, it can be extremely motivating to go all in and overcommit! This can be an easy way to jump start your new passion, but make sure that you are committing to the long haul. Instead of signing up for 6 beach cleanups this month, sign up for one for the next 6 months. The more you are able to make sustainability and environmental behaviors part of your life, for the long haul, the more success we will have as a collective movement. 

2. Where there’s community, there’s accountability.

I can’t stress this enough, find a community by joining an organization. Being surrounded by other individuals who share your values is the most motivating way to sustain your activism. It allows you to build rich relationships, learn together, and see the changes you’re making as a group.

3. Carve out time for everything else. It’s easy to want to do everything at once, especially with such an urgent issue. But in order to effectively sustain your activism, you need to make space for the other things you love. This means spending time outside in nature, giving time to hobbies, and spending time with loved one.

4. Share your passions with others. It’s much easier to care for the planet when those around you do too! Share what you’ve learned and what you’re doing with your friends and family, and invite them to an event or organization. Watch documentaries with them, or share social media posts. Who knows, you could be the reason they discover their place in the movement too!

 

Here are a few everyday suggestions on how to be sustainable in your own life in the most high-impact ways!

  • Diet. One of the best ways to greatly reduce your impact on the planet is to shift to a more plant based diet. Did you know that the driving force for destruction of the Amazon rainforest is to make room for animal agriculture development? Raising animals for food production is one of the most costly things we do. It pollutes our water, is the leading cause of deforestation, releases potent greenhouse gases like methane into our atmosphere, and is extremely inefficient for our growing human population. If this is off the table entirely, you can make a huge impact by just cutting out red meat like beef. 
  • Divest. Large banks are funding the fossil fuel industry, on the order of trillions of dollars annually. That means that the bank you could be using, like Chase or Wells Fargo, is using your money to fund fossil fuel giants that are responsible for destroying our planet. The simplest thing to do is to shift your money over to a local credit union! When you close your bank accounts, make sure to let them know why so they can share that message with their managers and we can make impactful change. 
  • Swap single use. With so many plastic alternatives out there, itʻs never been easier to choose a more sustainable option. Whether itʻs in your bathroom or kitchen, consider making swaps in your home that help reduce waste. This could be using shampoo and soap bars instead of bottles, using dish towels instead of paper towels, and eliminating disposable items for ones that can be reused over and over! My favorite swap is to get start buy items in glass at the grocery store and cleaning our the jars when they are empty. These jars can be used for so many things around the house, and glass is infinitely recyclable! 

 

Hopefully these tips help you keep in mind the big picture. Yes, we need everyone involved in sustainability, environmentalism, and climate solutions right now. But everyone we need, we need for the long-term. Welcome to the movement!

 

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