Contributed by Luke Clifton
After decades of increasingly damaging consumption worldwide, sustainable living has finally come to the forefront of the public’s consciousness. A recent study, for example, suggests that 71.4% of shoppers now actively care about the environmental impact of their food shopping.
But the adoption of sustainable habits presents many pitfalls to catch the unwary. Here are three of the most important ones to watch out for:
1. Don’t try too much, too soon
Success in changing to a more sustainable lifestyle requires you to take it slowly. Remember, sustainability only works as a mass movement. You won’t be able to change the world alone, but your efforts joined with those of others will send a loud and clear message to your sphere of influence.
When considered in this way, you can see how even small efforts can make a big impact. Don’t rush in and try to change your whole life in one go. Start making small changes and gradually allow sustainability to take over. Those who rush in often bite off more than they can chew and end up feeling despondent when they make mistakes. Giving up also sends a message.
Slow and steady wins the race.
2. Make sure you plan
Shopping sustainably takes some organization. If you want to shop in a more environmentally friendly way, you can’t just run into any store to pick up a last-minute purchase. You will need to take some time and effort to plan where you can buy sustainable products.
You may have to travel around different stores to pick up everything that you need.
So look at your schedule and see how you could visit the various stores alongside your other commitments. Doing so will prevent you from purchasing non-sustainable products in an emergency. It will also prevent you from having to go back to pick up some forgotten item. The less you use your car, the less fuel you consume and the more you reduce your carbon footprint.
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Living in a more sustainable way does take some research. You will need to find out about which brands are supporting sustainable movements, for instance, or find out which brands match up with your outlook ethically.
Often, though, someone else has already done the hard work. Their effort gives you the option to make purchases that you already know support sustainability. The Fair Trade movement, for example, supports farmers in growing produce in a more sustainable way as well as ensuring that they get paid fairly.
Many organizations worldwide certify products that meet their criteria. Look for their seals of approval. Just watch out for similar labels that don’t represent actual certification. Supporting efforts like these not only makes sustainability easier; it also supports movements that really know how to move forward and carry on the fight.