Making the initial changes to a more eco friendly lifestyle may not be the hardest part of your journey to be more green, but it’s often one of the most intimidating. There are so many options that it’s really hard at times to know just where to begin.
Make a List and Prioritize
If you’re ready to be eco friendly, you probably have some idea as to what changes you would like to make in your lifestyle. You just don’t always know which to make first. Some steps may seem to be too big to do right away while others may feel too small to make a real difference.
This list should be the things you think you want to do. You may not be able to make all of these changes right away; that’s why you prioritize them.
You can also assign a cost to the various steps. If some will take a bite out of your budget, you should plan for that. But remember that many eco decisions will save you money. These are great for getting started.
Some simple steps are:
1. Drive less.
2. Change to CFL or LED light bulbs.
3. Eat less meat.
4. Buy a programmable thermostat.
5. Check out local thrift stores.
6. Buy a stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic.
7. Review what can easily be recycled in your community.
These aren’t particularly expensive for the most part. Switching to LED bulbs can be expensive as they aren’t that common yet, but even those should pay for themselves in time.
For many of us, more expensive options such as installing solar panels may not be possible right away. If that’s what you want to do and you can afford it, go for it! But if it’s not in the budget, be realistic enough to admit that it’s not time for you to do that yet.
How Fast Should You Make Changes?
It’s tempting to just plunge in and make all the changes you know you should make right away. It’s great if you can manage it, but most people will have a lot of trouble that.
That’s fine. None of us are perfect.
Start with some simple changes, and add to them over time. I won’t say to go really slowly, but make changes at a rate where you can accept the new habits. Otherwise it’s far too easy to slide back into bad habits.
Some changes you’ll be amazed at how comfortable they are. Others will challenge your resolve. We’re all human and there are things we all want in life. Choosing a slightly different lifestyle isn’t always going to be easy. You will find that it gets better with time and you’ll find new ways to enjoy yourself and what you’re doing. A more eco friendly lifestyle is worth the effort.
What About Skeptics?
Unless you’re extremely lucky, you’re going to have some skeptical people in your life who don’t see the need for such changes. Some don’t believe in protecting the environment because they don’t believe in climate change while others don’t think they or you can make a difference.
Talk to them as you find appropriate. Some people are really great for having spirited, respectful arguments with. Others respect only their own opinions and aren’t worth the trouble. Still others may find what you’re doing interesting and decide to give it a try themselves.
Remember that when you’re talking about living an eco friendly lifestyle that you do not need to focus just on climate change. Talk about pollution in general. Talk about ocean acidification. Talk about decreasing fresh water supplies in many communities. These are areas that give a different angle to the usual environmental arguments many skeptics are used to.