About three years ago, I had an epiphany : I discovered that waste sorting is not enough to have an ecological impact! I thought I was a model with my 3 colour trash bins, but I had a long way to go before being able to show off! Now that I am taking stock of the situation, I am realising that changing one’s behaviour is not necessarily easy. So, here are my 10 tips for you to get started in your ecological transition without a worry!
Everyone can’t do everything! Nowadays, more and more people are aware of the ecological crisis and ready to make a move. But of course, it’s never easy to let go of your car, your plastic packaging and your meat. Don’t worry: you shouldn’t be the only one to carry the weight of global warming on your shoulders.
The main thing is to determine on which 2 or 3 things you want and are able to act: food, transportation, waste, energy, etc. If you are a vegetarian, you are already doing your share: don’t be too hard on yourself when you throw out a plastic packaging. Don’t forget that you are on earth to live and be happy, so get rid of this ecological « original sin ». If you are not fulfilled in your life, there is no use going on in this direction.
Everyone can’t do everything right away! This is one of the most significant brakes to anyone willing to go for a more sustainable way of living: where should I start? Of course, when you see Lauren Singer, that girl who only has a small jar of waste a year, it’s not really encouraging.
Fear not: no one can operate such a drastic change overnight. Incidentally, doing it would be totally un-ecological: what point is there in getting rid of all your plastic containers to buy glass jars?
The best way is to list the first small changes you can make (either according to the areas you chose to work on, or left and right) and sort them according to the moment you can put them into place.
The french app « 90 jours » helped me a lot to start changing my habits : it gives you very simple challenges to set up, which already make a difference (put a « no ad » sign on your mailbox, pee under the shower, switch to a green energy provider, etc). I started using it at the beginning of my ecological transition and bought 12€ worth of solid soap, which I used for about 2 years and a half!
You can also check Oroeco which I never tried but looks like a really useful way to track your ecological footprint.
Gamification is THE current trend. And that’s no surprise: everything is easier when you play. Reward yourself (respectfully of the environment, if possible 😉 ) when you achieve some change in your behaviour, challenge yourself (« can I go through 10 days without meat/cars/plastic/…? »), draw a gauge on a piece of paper and fill it in the course of your evolution… Just be creative, but find some way to make things fun!
With the app I just mentioned, even the action of pressing a button allows you to feel like you are moving forward.
Throughout your journey, you will meet two kinds of people:
« we first need a global action lead by the governments in order to hope for actual change »
« it’s great to buy everything organic but have you seen all these plastic packagings? You’re polluting way too much! »
The watchword: don’t listen to them! If you really want to know what the impact of your actions is, compare it to your « former self ». That’s where you’ll see the difference.
Just as quitting smoking or studying for an exam, it’s always easier together. If you have people in your close ones who are willing to make a change, do it with them! About a year and a half ago, I started to minimise my meat consumption by doing a vegetarian week per month. I got my partner to join in and it’s been much more enjoyable this way! We are in sync, we take advantage of our vegetarian week to buy different groceries, test new recipes together… and when we go to a friend’s house and get served meat, we’re not alone to face the carnivorous people mocking our new habit!
I was just talking about my renowned vegetarian week. Why did I not just follow the « no meat Thursday » trend?
Not eating meat one day a week is easy. You just need to have a salad for lunch and some pasta with a vegetable sauce for dinner. The value in a vegetarian week is precisely to force yourself to discover new foods, new ways of cooking, etc. 7 days without meat is also 7 occasions of getting invited to friend’s houses and having to stand for your choice, plenty of unexpected opportunities where you could give in but where you hang on… and it also means diminishing your meat intake by a fourth!
It is by transforming the small initiatives of the beginning in recurring habits that you will get to the next step.
If you are of a curious nature, you are going to love testing all the new things that are presented to you. If you are of a more precautious nature, let it go and try new experiences! Only by keeping your mind open will you adopt more environmentally responsible behaviours. Eat some insects, try a kick scooter to go to work, make yourself a face mask with coffee grounds: experimenting will help you demystify things.
My latest test? Charcoal toothpaste 😀
You can complain as much as you want, but only actions can have a real impact! If your family, your colleagues or your housemates are the worst polluters in the world, it is not by reprimanding them that they will change their attitude. Instead, try inspiring them by being an example: if they see that you can do it, they will end up following in your footsteps. A few colleagues and I started having a more environmentally responsible attitude at work, giving ourselves a new challenge each month. One thing leading to another, the whole team is now contributing to our initiative!
There are two ways of dealing with environmentalism. Some only swear by hand-me-downs, but it is forgetting that this custom relies upon overconsumption of others! Some prefer to buy new things made of certified and durable material. This works until you get tired of it and find an even more ecological object to replace the one you just bought.
My advice: Play both fields. Combine the two and see what you would like to put forward according to the situation. Tricksters is a great example: the linings and pockets are made of scarves, shirts and other second-hand fabrics. As for the visible material, they are newly produced, Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, in order to guarantee a similar quality in every item.
Tricksters was not conceived as an eco-friendly brand at all. Originally, I had not thought of the market potential, which I did not even know about. It is only when I began looking at suppliers that I naturally started asking myself « what is the use of putting so much effort in my personal life if I let go of my convictions in producing polluting clothing? »
Whether at home, at work, in your hobbys or your social life, just be coherent. It would be a shame if your efforts were to be reduced to ashes… by yourself!
Today, I am still learning and getting better everyday. If you have questions on ethical fashion, I will certainly have more answers than yesterday and less than tomorrow! Because that’s what the transition is all about: getting informed to inform others. It is only by staying united and by not judging each other that we will get to a result we can all be proud of!
If you too have some tips, feel free to share them in the comments section!