I hear you! ‘Sustainability,’ ‘living green,’ and ‘eco-friendly’ are complex concepts that are sometimes misunderstood and often not used properly. Each includes a lot of different aspects and opinions. The fuzziness around the use of these terms causes people to hesitate taking action toward a greener lifestyle.
Let me debunk some of the myths about living green for you based on what I have read, heard, and experienced myself.
MYTH #1 : Living green is a destination.
Living green is not a goal, it is an ongoing and growing journey we choose to pursue. Living green is a set of little habits that can be adjusted time to time, depending on the circumstances and our personal priorities.
MYTH #2 : Living green is too expensive.
This one makes sense when we consider green living like an overnight 180-degree shift in our lifestyle. We do not need to change all at once. It is important to see it as an investment for a better future. There are many ways to integrate green habits without spending a dime and you may even save money.
MYTH #3 : Living green is complicated, restrictive, and inconvenient.
The truth is, living green is challenging and daunting when you expect too much from it. Every single change in life takes time and repetition to be successful. Meaningful change does not happen without a bit of challenge. I like to say that green living starts with small adjustments that require creativity and consistency. Pick one thing you want to change or improve and do it for a month or two. Does that sound complicated?
MYTH #4 : Living green is a fad.
This one is interesting because sustainability is from the word ‘sustain’ which means “to keep up or keep going, as an action or process.” I do not see that as a tendency or “une mode,” as we say in French, but a real necessity to keep doing it and adapting it with a long-term view.
MYTH #5 : Living green is for tree huggers, vegans, and DIY enthusiasts.
When we decided as a family to be more eco-friendly and started making small changes in our daily lives, I never asked my husband and kids to leave the city and go live off the grid, disconnected from the world. Yes, a part of living green is to reconnect with nature and get from it all the physical and emotional benefits we can, without hurting it.
By reconnecting, I mean walking, enjoying, listening, observing, exploring, and be more present.
As for being vegan, we do eat meat at home and I consider our lifestyle to be a pretty green one. Being vegan is a choice and/or a culture. On a regular basis, eating more greens than meat can be less harmful for the environment, but you should also consider the carbon footprint from production methods and transportation. Choosing quality over quantity is a green way to reduce negative impacts on the environment.
As an eco-artist, the DIY argument is not totally false. I am very enthusiastic when it comes to creating and experimenting with natural methods and alternatives. DIY is not always the solution but it’s very instructive and fun.
MYTH #6 : It must be perfectly executed or nothing at all.
Have you ever heard of eco-guilt? It’s feeling bad about not being ‘green’ enough. I felt that way many times, especially during the pandemic. I had to adapt. No buying bulk anymore, no reusable bags allowed, no mug at the coffee shop – it was like I had to reset all the progress I made in my life these past three years after only three months of quarantine. Of course, safety comes first, and this unique situation confirms that living green is not about perfection, it is about progression. Most of the time, I really think there is a greener choice to make.
Which naturally takes me to the most common myth about living green
MYTH #7 : “I am just one person. Whatever I do, it won’t make any difference.”
What do you think of the snowflake that turned into a snowball? Even the smallest action you decide to take today will turn into a habit. This habit will turn into a lifestyle that will inspire your kids, your family, your neighbor, and your community. This impactful lifestyle will make a big difference.
Keep in mind that living green is a chosen lifestyle. It all depends on how you look at it. Its form may vary depending on your own needs and priorities, but its essence will last, and its impact will make us stronger.
“This story was first published in Issaquah Highlands’ Connections news, September 2020”
Hi, I am Aline.
Cardboard Designer & Eco-lifestyle Coach
Creative and eco-minded French-native mom of 3, you can find me sipping a cup of tea, eating French pastries, hiking around with my border collie, designing a new piece of art or advocating for a greener lifestyle. Everywhere I go, I always have some dust of joy and creativity in my back pocket.