I am the world’s worst at beating myself up over small things. It’s a habit I am trying to let go of, but I do seem to rather delight in self critique. Even little things like going out to get some groceries and forgetting the shopping bags - never mind that we had a day bordering on insanely busy, or that my usually delightful girls had decided to have some fun with Mummy and so leaving the house had been like trying to herd cats, (seriously how can such little people remove shoes so fast?!) or that the bag I had to use has already been put to use many times over, and will continue to be used until it finds its way to being recycled - I wasn’t about to cut myself any slack for neglecting the most basic of eco practices.
However, when an acquaintance asked me if I really felt I could advise on eco matters if I still did things/bought things/used things that were not eco friendly it got me to thinking. Thinking that led me to the conclusion that actually, it is not about beating myself up for the things that I or my family don’t do, guilt is rarely a good motivator, but rather about celebrating and giving ourselves the odd high five for the things that we do do (I would also like to add at this juncture that I do not feel like it is my place to give advice! Merely to share, experiences, knowledge, mistakes, finds etc.if any of that ends up helping anyone then, yay!)
We have come a long way in our efforts to live in a more sustainable way, but I am under no illusions that we still have a long way to go. It takes a very special person to decide that they are going the whole hog approach when it comes to changing lifestyle and if you are one of those people, then I wholeheartedly take my hat off to you. But a lot of people are adverse to change, myself included and so the only way this was going to work was for us was to take it slowly, one step at a time.
We started really simply, by changing the kinds of bags we used, from bin bags to shopping bags (before we were charged for using plastic shopping bags). Out went the usual off the shelf bags and in came some lovely degradable ones for the rubbish and cotton string bags for the shopping.
Then a month or so later we started swapping our toiletries, shampoos, soaps, moiturisers etc, as the brands we had used for years ran out so they were replaced. A little while after that we swapped out our laundry products, then cleaning and so on.
With some products it took some trial and error before we found the ones that worked for us, (I will do some quick comparison posts later on to try and help you if you are having trouble deciding what to switch to. For example, switching your Persil for soap nuts ((which literally grow on trees)) might seem a bit of a stretch for you, maybe not, but if so then perhaps a laundry powder or liquid without chemicals will be a better fit...) but we were amazed by the options out there, that we had just never known about because they are not stocked in the supermarkets (generally speaking) or advertised on TV.
Sometimes it can be hard knowing where to start. What is the first step to take? So it can be surprising how once you do start, the way opens up in front of you and it can take you much further and in more directions than you ever imagined. It's one of the things that gets me really excited about what we do and about helping people when they are just starting out. Even if you only change one thing a month, that will make a huge difference after a year. Pick something that speaks to you the most, and go from there.
One of the areas that we are still working on changing, but is also a great example of how your horizons and point of view can change as you go, is our diet. When we first started this I would have sworn that I would never be vegan, you could not have induced me to go down that road for love nor money and my husband even more so…but now… well, we are not there yet, but we do not eat much meat at all now, our diets are certainly much healthier. We are more aware and make more conscious choices about where any meat, diary products etc come from, and I can see it being a distinct possibility that we will be slipping more and more into that lifestyle choice, it just seems to be a natural progression
Another great example is re-usable menstrual products. When we first started stocking them I was horrified! I couldn’t think of many things worse! However a few years on and I cant imagine what I was making such a fuss about, I wouldn’t be without them now!
So now, as a family we do quite a bit to lessen our footprint upon this world, we've done it slowly, nothing has been a shock to the system. Is it all we can do? No. But next week we will be doing a little more than today. Our next personal project is to cut down on waste as it has started creeping up a bit lately. Sometimes I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack and celebrate the things that we do that are great. Whether they be big small, green, kind, thoughtful, or just ordinary and every-day. So wherever you are now, take a moment to celebrate and congratulate yourself for the effort you are already making, then think of the next thing you are going to change and when, and go tackle that goal with a spring in your step.
Action Steps - Make it Happen!
- Choose some first products to start swapping. It can be overwhelming to swap everything over straight away, so pick an area you would like to start with, Cleaning? Laundry? Personal care? And get some more eco choices in to try.
- Have a look around your home for the amount of products you use that could be swapped out. It can be quite surprsing!
- Have a look into the options avaliable to you. A great place to start could be with ECO EGG, BIOD, FAITH IN NATURE CRYSTAL SPRING, D2W BAGS, Or more generally with CLEANING or LAUNDRY to see the wide range of options avaliable to you
- If you have any questions or are unsure about where to start, please get in touch with us or your local Wikaniko consultant for a no obligation chat. We are always excited to talk eco and we would be happy to help you.