Think ‘Before’ thought : the start of your sustainable journey
Imagine your child paying for air? Did that stop you in your tracks? Our grandparents and theirs never paid for drinking water. But we do. Our grandkids might grow up on synthetic food. Actually, we might not be too far away from that reality.
Forget our grandkids. How do we change that future for our children? We need to start with small questions and take small steps to create a long-term impact for our families. Then society.
Let me explain. We need a “before thought.” That is where it starts. It is that thought BEFORE a purchase. Or the thought BEFORE we dispose. So ask yourself these few questions :
- Am I buying what I really need?
- Is it really good for me?
- Am I being responsible when I throw things?
- Can I repurpose this?
Last week, we read about Ras Al Khaimah announcement that supermarkets and bakeries are ready to go plastic-free, starting 2021, and will provide eco-friendly alternatives. Truly laudable. So rather than an abrupt decision to abandon plastic, the Emirate is advocating the slow method to reduce waste. This process will go a long way as it involves a gradual change in our daily habits and lifestyle, which in turn, involves a mindset change. Towards doing the greater good.
Shattering a myth
But first, let me shatter a myth here. Many of us still seem to think that by going green and sustainable, we are protecting our environment and saving the planet. On the contrary, the planet needs no saving. It evolves and survives. However, our daily decisions and actions do affect our future generations who will be forced to live with the damage we cause due to our reckless lifestyles.
However, it does not have to be complicated. Going green is an Everyday Everywhere mission that we can adopt regardless of our roles. Each one of us can make a difference through our daily actions. No. You dont need to become a hippie or an activist.
You could start with choosing natural products over chemicals and synthetic and encourage businesses that follow ethical practices. This does immediate good for your family and your home. These small daily decisions make a long-term impact on creating sustainable communities and reducing pollution. A natural outcome if we first stop our mindless consumerism.
Be kind to yourself
Those who know me, know my aversion to plastic. But the pandemic makes it increasingly difficult to avoid plastic – thanks to the masks, gloves and disposable cutlery we need to use. For the safety of our families, currently, some plastic is unavoidable. But it is important not to start a guilt trip when you happen to use plastic. Conscious consumerism is what is important and that journey starts somewhat like this…
- We notice that we use plastic
- We are aware of its harmful effect on us
- We read up on the types of safe plastic
- Next time we will find ways to avoid it. We start with a small win
However, be kind to yourself when you do this exercise. While going zero waste is an ideal, it is a slow journey. But that journey need not be one of guilt. It is the shift towards doing good in the long run. So enjoy the path while you make that shift. My tips? Start with trying out reusable cloth face masks. Carry your own water and cutlery to a restaurant.
But then the thought arises. What difference will I make as an individual? How much change can I bring about? We often think climate change and sustainability are major responsibilities that need to be addressed by government heads, corporates and environmental activists. Someone else.
Make a difference
Let it start with you. It is time to understand that when you first start with choosing what is good for you and your home, that choice will have a direct effect on reducing mindless consumption. If you stop and try to repair something or repurpose it, you can start to reduce waste.
With these actions, you will also inspire people around you. When in doubt, remember Desmond Tutu’s quote. “Do your little bit of good where you are. It is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
It is true that our personal motivations and life circumstances might be different. But the results of going green and natural in the long run will bring many inspiring changes. We will find more time to do the things we love. We will be more secure because we will be able to focus on the things that really matter. When we make those small changes in our daily lifestyles BEFORE we buy or throw. Starting today.