Waldweg im Eversten Holz
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The Sustainability Journey towards a greener lifestyle

There are guides that suggest we can go plastic-free in 30 days or zero waste in six weeks, but I don’t think they’re realistic. Living more sustainably, in these cases by producing less waste, should not be a time-bound project, but instead a journey that takes time. And that doesn’t only apply to reducing waste, but all other aspects of our lives.

As it stands, most of us in industrialised societies have an environmental footprint that is too high to be sustainable. We consume too many resources and use too much energy. If everyone on Earth lived like us, we would need three or more planets to sustain our lifestyles. In order to preserve and protect ecosystems and limit the effects of climate change it is vital that we reduce our environmental footprint as individuals and societies, so that we only use the resources of one planet – the one planet we have. But such an undertaking will take time as we change the way we live.

Here, I would like to share with you how I embarked on my own sustainability journey and what I have learned along the way.

Starting the Sustainability Journey

I think the start of our personal Sustainability Journeys begins in our minds. It begins with the realisation that we need to change the way we live to make our societies more sustainable. By realising that we are part of the problem as well as the solution we will have made the first step on a journey that will set us on a meandering path towards a greener lifestyle. Along the way we will encounter some challenges, but also learn why our goal truly matters.

My own journey started more than ten years ago with eating less meat, and for some time even going vegetarian. Since then, I’ve been exploring other ways of making my life more sustainable. To do so, I’ve been using the Ecological Footprint as a guide. It’s helped me to put my lifestyle choices into perspective in terms of their environmental impact and helped me choose more sustainable options along the way.

A journey that takes time

I’m the sort of person who likes to do things as quickly as possible. This is maybe why guides that promise to change our lives within a matter of days or months are so attractive. But I quickly learnt that it doesn’t work when it comes to living more sustainably. Instead, it’s a project that takes times as we align our lives with our new goal.

We can’t do everything at once, but we can start somewhere!

No matter where you decide to start, it will set you on a path towards a more sustainable life and one change will sooner or later motivate you to make another one. As you go along, it will also get easier as you learn how to break old, ingrained habits and establish new, greener ones.

The journey is the reward

Reducing our Ecological Footprint and thereby our environmental impact is a journey that never truly ends. There is always something else we can change in our lives and the societies we live in to make them more sustainable.

But you can find reward in the journey itself. Making more sustainable choices is not only good for the environment, but it feels good too. This motivates me, together with the goal of reducing my environmental impact, to keep going.

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