So how did you go?
The most Eco-Friendly Answers were
1: A - I’ll just carry my items. I own bags and I’m not buying that much.
2: B - Sew it myself or take it to get repaired
3: B - Run back inside and switch the TV off at the power outlet
4: A - I’ll walk! Exercise and listening to tunes on the way
5: C - Kindly let the waiter know you’ve got your own reusable one for next time!
If you got all 5 questions correct, you're a certified Eco-Warrior ! You put the environment first in all decision making processes. You're happy to give up creature comforts for the betterment of the planet.
If you got 3-4 right, you're Eco-Mindful. You care about the environment and will do what you can to help the planet if there is a practical benefit.
If you just got a couple right, thats okay! We all begin our journey somewhere.
Read on to find out more
Whether you’re already making your own dishwashing detergent from soap nuts, or you’re simply thinking about purchasing your first bamboo toothbrush, we want to reach out to everyone on the broad Eco-Spectrum. It doesn’t matter if you’re already on the journey, or about to embark on it.
It’s not a zero sum game. You don’t need to be a hardcore Eco-Warrior (though we love them to bits) to make a difference. But, it is about being aware of consumption related choices that allow us to tread lightly, making our individual impact on the environment smaller with each day.
The Ecological Spectrum is a graphic representation of your impact on the environment. At one end of the spectrum, you have people that reflect on their ecological footprint consistently, with every consumption decision they make. They are willing to forego creature comforts to minimise their consumption and waste at every opportunity, in every aspect of their lives. We call this group the Eco-Warriors.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have people that rarely question or consider their consumption habits. This group is generally concerned about the environment but are often ill-informed or overwhelmed. They believe the problem is too big for any single individual to have a meaningful impact. We call this group, the Eco-Detached. This group shouldn’t be confused with a small group of individuals who dismiss the environment, because their views are clouded by vested interests or narcissistic world-views. The Eco-Detached are just at the start of their journey.
Thankfully, most individuals care and have a natural inclination to do good (1)
If one day, we were all Eco-Warriors, it would be ideal for the environment and its preservation. However, it’s simply unrealistic. It takes a special type of lifestyle and personality to be so committed to a cause, whilst balancing the rest of our busy, modern lives. The goal then is to move a critical mass of people from the Eco-Detached end of the spectrum, towards the Eco-Warriors. Individuals become communities, communities have a larger impact and better outcomes for the environment are delivered.
We all exist somewhere on this spectrum, and it’s not static. We will move up and down at times, based on how mindful we are about the daily consumption choices we make, over time. It’s easy to be distracted, we live in a chaotic world with many demands and stresses. Most of us are time poor, and we’re constantly being tempted to take short-cuts at the expense of the environment. For example, what would you do in the following situation?
You’ve had a crazy day at work and you’re running extremely late to get home and feed the kids. You’ve promised barbecued steak for dinner, their favourite. You get to the supermarket to find the only steaks they’ve got left are individually packaged, in hard plastic. You’re going to need 5 packages for dinner. Your phone vibrates and it’s the kids calling, asking when you’re home. You feel your stress levels rising. What do you do?
Sure, you can say sorry kids, no steak tonight! It’s lentil soup and mung beans. Unfortunately, in most households that wouldn’t go down too well. It’s a difficult choice, even for Eco-Warriors. It’s the real world and different choices will be made at different times, because our motivation to commit to the environment is affected by a variety of personal factors, including our emotional state at the time.
If you do choose the steaks, the important thing is to have the presence of mind to acknowledge the decision as a poor outcome for the environment. Accept your choice, and move on. It’s not about guilt or shame, but rather a learning process, where you begin to ask yourself, what can I do in the future to make sure I don’t find myself making similar decisions.
It could be as easy as being more organised in the future, or extreme as becoming vegan. The point is, we are all different. Where we currently reside on the Eco-Spectrum is not as important as where we are headed towards.
Cut yourself some slack. It’s a long journey that you’re on. There will be countless decisions to be made over your lifetime that will impact the earth. With proper knowledge and mindful attention of your consumption habits and choices, you will progress on the Eco-Spectrum towards achieving better, more ideal outcomes for the environment.
There will be stumbles along this journey, so look for support from like minded people, link into communities that will support each others journey, and the environment.
Thanks for reading!
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(1) 82% of Australian adults (12.8 million people) reported that they were concerned about at least one environmental problem ABS 2008.