Can You Make Your Holidays Sustainable?
Eco-Friendly holidays and celebrations may seem difficult: the shopping, the parties, the pressure to create perfection or uphold someone else’s ideal. It can make many die-hard environmentalists fall off the wagon.But I promise it’s all in your outlook. You don’t have to sacrifice your traditions or your enjoyment to be kind to the environment and have a sustainable holiday.
Make Your Holiday Ideas Sustainable
A sustainable holiday is one that holds meaning to us. Whether it’s a spiritual or religious belief or a family or personal tradition, we should enjoy and prioritize what is most important first.
Start by finding your focus: identifying your own sense of tradition or importance within any holiday. What matters most to you? What do you not wish to lose and what do you wish to gain?
Once you’ve found your focus, move from that place and examine every detail.
- Identify Stress: Look for things that give you a sense of dread or cause you to stress. Why is it stressful? Is it necessary? If so, can you simplify it? If not, how can you eliminate it or find an alternative for it?
- Identify Waste: Looks for and make a list of things that create wasted resources (including money, time or other things). These are the things for which you’ll be seeking alternatives.
- Involve Others: The holidays are about spending time with others. Talk to friends, family members and co-workers. Recruit your neighbours’. Share ideas and work on making changes together.
- Relax! You may not be able to make sweeping changes in one season. Decide what to tackle first: one big thing or several little things; the stressors or the wasters. Set a goal and do what you can.
As you approach the New Year, why not also approach your New Year’s resolutions with a different, more holistic perspective? Ask yourself how changing your life can also change the world.
New Year’s Resolutions:
Resolving What Really Matters
There’s just something about New Year’s resolutions, isn’t there?
In July, it all seems overrated or pointless. No one is thinking about their top New Year’s resolutions; we’re all just getting through our daily lives.
But about two days after Christmas, when the fabric gift wrap has been folded and put away and the dishes are finally done, the energy of the upcoming year starts to fall upon me.
I can’t help it. I love Big Ideas, bigger plans and the excitement that change and personal growth brings. It’s fresh and shiny and holds all the promise of the world.
Nothing feels as good as getting caught up in the collective energy of so many people embracing something new and better in their lives.
Which leads me to my thoughts on New Year’s resolutions: For me, Sustainable Baby Steps has a personal and global purpose. I can easily see the correlation between its dual purposes and its success.
A resolution is only truly sustainable (successful) if it
serves a bigger purpose.
But too often we disconnect ourselves from those bigger purposes. We feel too small, too insignificant and the problems all feel Way Too Big. How can we make real changes when we feel so incompetent?
The paradox is that in order to focus on the Big Picture (the environmental, social and political issues) we need to first focus on ourselves.
It’s absolutely imperative that we first become the people that CAN create real change in the world.
Because how can we expect to make or have an impact, stand up to corruption or get involved in helping others when we’re overworked, stressed, unhealthy, exhausted or overwhelmed?
Think Global, Act Personal
It’s the saying Think Global, Act Local: it’s about the Big Picture but it starts with the individual.
And by focusing our attention on the Big Picture, we can better define the brush with which we paint our part.
Don’t ask yourself what you want to do this year; ask yourself why you want to do it.
- Who do you want to be and what does that person look like, say and do with their life?
- What will you do with more energy from a healthy lifestyle?
- How will you spend the extra time and money you earn to improve the world around you?
What’s your Big Picture purpose for setting those top New Year’s resolutions? And how can changing your life change the world?
Personally-defined success, true happiness and deep fulfillment are what create real sustainability.
Rethinking the Top New Year’s Resolutions
This year, as you consider what you’re ready to create in the coming year, think about these top New Year’s resolutions from a new perspective:
- Improving Your Health: In most cases personal and environmental health are interlinked. When you think about improving your health this year, consider things like eating fresh, local foods to help you lose weight and support organic farming. While you’re kicking that smoking habit, go chemical-free in other areas of your life with natural household cleaners and organic pest control.
- Organizing Your Home and Life: We all know how the chaos in our homes affects our sense of well-being. It creates stress and fills our free time with more chores. And the accumulation of all that “stuff” does harm to our natural resources. Donating our excess to a good cause keeps it out of a landfill. And by decreasing our consumption of new “stuff” we keep our environmental footprint small.
- Getting Out of Debt: Nothing is less personally sustainable than debt. And decreasing our spending is usually the first step to decreasing debt. But did you know there are many ways in which you can go green to save money? And once you’re debt-free you can start investing those savings in even more sustainable changes.
- Improving Your Lifestyle: Spending more time with loved ones, getting involved with a charity, or reconnect to your spiritual beliefs all depend on a healthy, happy life. Create that purpose by getting involved with the things that matter most to you.
- Going Green: It’s on everyone’s mind these days and if it’s your New Year’s resolution, you’re in the right place. Green living is a big, giant topic with lots of steps. And that’s what Sustainable Baby Steps is all about: Taking small steps toward greener living. Stay in touch with Green Worx CS to keep the inspiration coming your way: sign up for the Going Green newsletter, subscribe to the feed, and like Green Worx CS on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay connected. Take a few steps toward green living and get connected to keep yourself going.
Above all, remember the Big Picture and keep painting your small part of it