Today is “Earth Day”, it’s a day to consider our habits, a day to think about what we could do differently on our day to help the planet. I think that people are getting more aware of what pollution is doing to our planet, especially because we’ve been feeling it directly. How’s it possible to be 30 degrees in October? And let’s not forget that Portugal has been having drought for a while now, thankfully the rain that we’ve been having lately is countering that, at least for now.
It’s our responsibility to try to shift the scale to the other side. These days, there’s a lot of information on how to be more Eco-friendly and today I will talk about something slightly different which I consider very important to say.
Do your best and don’t try to do everything at once.
This sentence could be used for a ton of stuff but it’s very important in this context. There’s a lot of fundamentalist and it’s hard for someone not to get intimidated by the changes in the routine to become “zero-waste”. It’s an appealing theme for me but in my opinion we should be calling it “lower waste”, zero it’s such a “yes-or-no” word, something impossible to reach for many people, including me. I love the idea, but it’s intimidating. “How am I going to do all this?” turns rapidly in “Better not do anything”.
I’m all for making changes, but adapted to YOUR lifestyle, if you don’t have time right now, starting to make your own granola, your own bread, your own cookies, etc, would be something that you could do for a while but would quickly disappear once your motivation dies off. Someone with financial struggles won’t be able to buy in bulk, since most of the stores that sell in bulk are expensive. “Nem tanto ao mar, nem tanto à terra”, it’s a Portuguese proverb very hard to translate (after half an hour, I got: “Not so much sea, not so much land”, which as a non-native speaker, sounds ridiculous, so probably for native speakers will sound more :D) that basically says we shouldn’t be extremists.
Here’s what I believe and works for me: making gradual changes with time. For example, “this month I’ll start to recycle” or “this month I’ll bring a bread bag every time I go to the bakery”, not “think month I’ll go completely zero waste”. Obviously you could achieve that, but which goal has the best change to propagate until the end of the year? Or for decades? Quercus’s Easter challenge failed in the regard, 40 days without plastic? Let’s be realistic, in 2018, this is not a possible scenario for most of the Portuguese population. Let’s not start this say, maybe we could start with “One week without plastic”, that way we could make people see how hard it’s to live without plastic. 40 days it’s immediately a deal-breaker for lots of people, it’s so intimidating that most people won’t even try one day.
So today, I invite you to reflect on this, in a small change that you can make to help our Planet, our Home, even if it’s feels insignificant in a global scale. And, if for now you do everything you can, congratulate yourself, don’t think about everything that you cannot do, don’t beat yourself up, all that pressure may be someday responsible to revert everything that you built until now, so be kind to yourself.