When we take an honest look at the world and civilization around us it may seem like living a sustainable lifestyle is an impossible task to achieve. Human being’s behavior has become so materialistic and blinded by self-interest that exploitation and greed have become an acceptable and ingrained part of human existence. In the name of progress and the accumulation of wealth, humans selfishly exploit the earth and its precious resources as well as all living creatures including humans. Everything and everyone around us is measured by its monetary value and not by its worth or greater purpose on this planet. We as a race think that the world revolves around us and our needs but what we fail to recognize is that people are only one tiny part of the ecosystem that we call home, we are just a link in the delicate chain of life and life forms that make this entire universe exist. When we start to see the truth of this and acknowledge the role we as individuals play in the exploitation and destruction of the earth, then we can begin the journey to live a more sustainable and wholesome lifestyle.
Sustainable living, like existence itself, is a journey and not a destination. There are many steps and stages that can be taken to move away from a lifestyle of materialism and mass consumption. But the very first step every person on this earth must make is observing and taking responsibility for the effects that you as an individual and your actions have on your environment and the planet as a whole. To begin examining and addressing your own behaviors, consumption levels, material dependencies, consumer habits & waste production in every aspect of your life. This is by no means an easy task as it takes great courage and self-honesty but once it is taken then the necessary right actions become clear and come naturally with ease. There are some simple questions to ask yourself to help you see what you address first and what practical changes you can make to live more sustainably in your daily living and these are:
- Am I satisfied with what I have in life?
- Do I consume more than what I need?
- In what areas of my lifestyle do I consume more of than what I need?
- Why do I consume more than I need?
- What actions can I take to reduce my consumption levels?
If we answer these questions honestly and accurately it will provide a great insight into our individual consumption levels, our overall waste, and what areas of our lives we may be feeling less satisfied and are therefore overcompensating with things outside ourselves. Almost every average person on this earth is consuming more than they need in at least one aspect of their daily lives if not all of them. Some examples of this include overconsumption of food/beverages, clothes, cosmetics, electronics, water, electricity, petrol & other fossil fuels etc.
When we examine where we invest our resources and why it can reveal behavior patterns that are potentially damaging to ourselves and to the planet. Before we even consider focusing our attention on conscious consumerism and the use of alternative eco-friendly products in our daily routines, we must put first things first by becoming aware of and addressing our harmful behaviors and habits. For simply substituting eco friendly alternatives into your lifestyle as the only action you take in the battle against climate change is just not enough anymore. What good is it purchasing a sustainably produced garment if you already have hundreds of them or having a hybrid car if you do not utilize it efficiently. Most humans are ignorant to the fact that their general behavior is selfish and extremely wasteful and addressing this first is the primary action we all need to take to save the planet in these treacherous times.