People seem to measure their sustainability efforts by how hard they feel they tried. But nature and doesn’t react to how we feel. Nature reacts to how we act.
People constantly tell me they’re what they can, they can’t do any more, or they balanced how much they can do with what time, money, and other resources they have. I’m not just talking about my Mom, but nearly everyone.
Using perceived effort as the measure is counterproductive in several ways. It motivates us to act as if every effort is big so we can credit ourselves more. We act as if avoiding straws or going camping instead of flying is a huge burden people should credit ourselves.
It discourages us from enjoying sustainability, which discourages us from practicing it. This motivation others conjure up not to act motivates me to share how joyful and delightful sustainability is. Apples taste better than Ben and Jerry’s and broccoli tastes better than Doritos, in all areas of life, as we find when we kick our addictions.
Measure by effect on others
Measuring your efforts by how much they affect others forces you to look at your impact on nature, which makes you humble to nature. No matter how little you think flying affects the world, the impact you support when you buy your impact is in tons of pollution. For most people who fly, flying is their biggest contribution.
What people don’t get is that when they transition to actually sustainable practices, their lives improve in many ways since they approach a life more like what their emotional system evolved to love.
You’ll start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, vacationing close to home, buying less stuff, spending more time with people you love, simplifying your life, and other things that you’ll appreciate. You won’t spend more money or have less time.
You’ll also feel like you’re working less and enjoying more since you won’t feel the motivation to exaggerate your efforts.
Then you get results like these, improving your life by lowering your pollution by over 90 percent in under 3 years, and you’ll find it easier than just trying hard.
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