We all know we live in a world of cause and effect. If you drop an apple it will get bruised. Yet when we look at this fact in relation to the environment we can see that the empowered realisation of cause and effect can take on a tone of powerlessness. Theres so much to do! No matter where people stand on the side of believing that we are facing environmental crises or not, we are all overwhelmed at times. That overwhelm can turn into exasperation, it can fuel denial, it can do any number of things, but it is easy to see that we are all facing the same thing… and today we make that overwhelm a little more simple for you so that you can handle life in a way that feels a little better for YOU!
1. See Things As Solvable Parts Rather Than A Overwhelming Whole!
The environment is something that we ALL have our own influence on as people of the world, this means the power I hold is something that escapes your grasp just as the power major corporations have can escape the grasp of an individual... This can create feelings of powerlessness for the green fighters of the world. The thought that there is so much of this problem out of our control can drive us to feel like giving up. What we need to do when we are faced with this issue is to see the “problem” we are confronting not as an insurmountable whole but as a makeup of parts that we have some control over. If your goal is improvement then you do not need to have a grasp at the entirety of a thing to have influence, focus on what you can touch.
A funny thing happens when people see that you are competent in dealing with your little portion of power over the world… they start trusting you and giving you more influence… Often we need to know how to efficiently run our own lives around issues that we are trying to confront before we can seriously confront the world; and if our desire truly is improvement what we need to master is the good we CAN do rather than the good we currently can't…
Simply, if you want to make a change, start mastering what is within your reach instead of eternally grasping for what is not - and feeling bad about it. If you focus on improving parts of a whole stop feeling bad about the things you can’t or won't do to improve the situation and simply continue to improve upon what you can and will do! Use the power you DO have currently.
2. Reduce Overwhelm! Fill Up Your Emotional Cup And Take Things Off Of Your Plate!
Our lives are complicated. Our idea of thriving constitutes so many different things stacked on our plate that we are collectively burnt out... and the plastic that we would otherwise condemn comes taught in the form of convenience over some of the things we need to buy. Often we have little of the emotional reserves left over after our stressful lives that would allow for the actions that are more environmental than self-soothing and convenient... We neglect the fact that what we buy (and what industries we support through our purchasing/funding) has completely to do with how we feel. Even when we are using logic in our decisions we are using logic to calculate an outcome that adds to our life rather than takes from it… which has to do with feeling. This means that the second best way to become more environmentally friendly like we desire is to “fill up our emotional cup.” This is so that we can take empowered actions rather than ones coming at the end of exhaustion.
If we want control over our actions we need to start prioritising self-soothing and feeling good, taking the things that are overwhelming off of our plate and honestly confronting what it is that we are doing that emotionally pushes us into doing things that we feel regret for around the environment. Honest self care is what this is.
Honestly look at your day in your mind, from when you wake up to when you go to sleep. Look at all that you do and what your energy is going towards. Is there anything you can implement or cut out that will HONESTLY make you feel better, less overwhelmed or less stressed?
For some people this may mean starting the business they always felt pulled towards, for others that idea would be the very thing that runs them into the ground with misery. The reality is that we are all different, so it is up to YOU to know what actions you can take to better YOUR life.
Do not look at what you “should” do, look at what would feel “softer". This is an easy way to tell what fills up the cup compared to what drains you. Go for what feels softer.
3. Hack Your Brain! Find effortless ways to be environmental!
We take actions constantly to uphold the “system” that is our lives. We wash dishes, we do taxes, we do any number of things that expend energy. Some things take less energy, some things take more, yet sometimes it takes more effort to do something we hate, no matter the amount of energy you may need to expend. Energy does not equal effort, and this fact can be used to our advantage as it is not energy expenditure we avoid, but things that feel like draining effort....
When we look at environmentally friendly actions we think we “should” be doing, we acknowledge the energy that it would take to do those things, yet we do not acknowledge the energy we are already expending. This is because things that we do over and over become so automatic and subconscious that we are not conscious of the fact that we are doing it - it feels effortless because it is an automatic action. You will be able to see this fact when most people drive. Most people become so familiar with the action that they do not need to think or expand much mental effort towards the process. Repetition and familiarity feels effortless because our brain is an efficiency tool which acknowledges patterns and ingrains them into us to the point where the patterns are automatically followed rather than followed through conscious deliberation. To be “easily” environmental you can capitalise on this. You can find ways to be environmentally friendly that already feel effortless or you can deliberately choose one pattern of environmentalism to ingrain into your life so deeply that you will not need to think about it to carry out its actions with any effort.
When going the ingrained way, one may choose one form of environmentally friendly action to master - such as biking to your workplace during the right seasons or having two days a week that are full of meat-free meals for example.
When finding things that already feel effortless and environmental there will be some variation from one individual to the next (as what feels effortless for each person is subjective). But there are some easy things we recommend such as using the Ecosia Search Engine.
Ecosia is a search engine (like google or yahoo) that uses its profit to plant trees. There is even a live count that shows how many trees you personally have planted and how many everyone using the engine has planted collectively. (Find it here.)
4. Buy What You Want To Create More Of! (Buy Environmentally!)
Money in our modern age is like fuel. What you buy you fuel further production of. This is because you are telling the market what you want, what you value and thus what it can earn money giving you and you are supporting the company of whatever you are buying. Because of this it is useful to think of your money as a creational tool. Imagine that of everything you buy, 10 more are created. What do you want to create in this world? Do you want to create more of that which is wrapped in plastic or more of that which is free of it for example?
People say money is a vote for the world that you want to create, so be conscious of what you are creating with your money.
Obviously this point fits into what THE FLOCK stands for as a retail business. Many more shops are cottoning on to the demand for environmental, ethical and sustainable products, and we are one of them.
5. Educate Yourself!
In our modern age we have a tidal wave of information at our fingertips. There is so much to know and so much knowledge that we absorb on a daily basis... yet it is rare that we give that much thought... Often when we think of “educating ourselves” our thoughts are still on deliberate schooling. While this is an amazing way we can educate ourselves, so too can we capitalise on the fact that we are constantly being funneled information and deliberately look for the information that has to do with environmentalism.
A big part of being environmental is knowing what impact our actions have and what actually helps the environment. For this reason we recommend you capitalise on the plethora of information on the internet. From videos of people reusing what would otherwise be rubbish to people cooking vegan meals as a delicious and environmental dinner there is so much to see that can help us in making environmentalism easy and less of a nebulous thing!
Finding environmental media and entertainment makes the subject fun, shows us what to do, empowers us AND familiarises us with the lifestyle we may be trying to further pick up! So many “wins”!!
If you have any more tips for being environmental we recommend that you post them in the comments section below! Rather than repeating what other educators have said on environmentalism (such as Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, do composting, and so on (which is brilliant advice!)) we figured we would give you our take on what helps build an environmentally friendly lifestyle overall and what simple steps it takes to encourage empowerment around the subject!!!
The actions you as an individual take to help the environment will be different from the next person just as the actions you do to relax will be different from the next person. All actions however help contribute to the same end goal and it is in that perspective that we need to find what we find personally pleasurable to carry out on the front of environmentalism.
It is important too that we find others to connect with that hold the same values that we do. That is part of what THE FLOCK is here for and here to encourage. We are your environmental friend, ally and resource!