Updated: Apr 12
Rome wasn't built in a day. But by taking a series of small, conscious steps, you can begin to build a better life for yourself, and a better world for us all. Sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Like any journey, it begins by taking one step, then another. Creating a green living plan is like making a map. It will help you determine whether or not you are going in the right direction, and keep you on the right path.
In this post, we'll take a quick look at the steps you should take when you set out to create a green living plan. No two plans will be exactly the same. But all will share certain common goals. And will be guided by the basic ethical principles: care for our planet, care for humanity and fair share.
Observe – Take Stock & Understand Where You're Starting From
Taking a journey within yourself can be a good place to begin. Think about what mental barriers or thought processes might be holding you back. Consider what might be done to break down those barriers and reform your thought processes. Working on coping mechanisms, empathy and conflict resolution can help us create personal resilience, and find a firm footing for our future endeavors.
It also makes sense to create an inventory of what knowledge, skills and resources we already bring to the table. Think about your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Be honest. It is only by confronting our failures and truly celebrating our strengths that we can begin to build a green living plan that will take us to a better future.
Identify Crucial Skills To Aid You On Your Journey
Certain skills will always stand you in good stead. As you begin to think about creating a green living plan, it is a good idea to identify skills for sustainable living that you are currently lacking, or where you need to improve.
Growing at least some of your own food, reducing waste (through refusing, reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling) and taking a DIY approach to boost self-reliance are three of the key things to consider. Though keeping the three core ethics in mind, you should be able to begin to identify a number of key skills that will help you live in a more green, eco-friendly and sustainable way.
Don't worry about building these skills right away. The key thing at this stage is to identify the skills you might need, and to think about how and where you might gain them.
Identify What Other Resources You Have At Your Disposal
You have more resources for sustainable living than you might think. Another key step in creating a green living plan is identifying the resources at your disposal. Think about which of the following resources are more abundant in your life, and which are in short supply:
- Energy (renewable sources like sun, wind, water etc. and your own energy)
- Natural resources (soil, plants etc.)
- Reclaimed / waste materials (that could be reused/up-cycled etc.)
Identify Areas To Tackle in Your Green Living Plan
By now, you should have a much better idea of what tools and resources are available to you as you set out to create a green living plan. Now comes what is probably the most difficult part of the puzzle: working out what needs to be changed.
It is crucial to think about what green living really means. Again, you should refer back to the core ethics. Where are you failing to care for our planet, or for people? Where are you squandering resources, or taking more than your fair share? You should think about, for example:
- Energy use
- Carbon/ greenhouse gas emissions
- Water use
- Use of land and other resources
Ask yourself whether, in reference to each of these things, the choices you make are green, ethical and sustainable. Think about:
- The home you live in
- The food you eat
- The clothes, household items, and other things you buy
- What you throw away/ waste and where it ends up
- Where you travel to, and how
- Money and finances. (Where and how you work, where you bank etc.)
There are, of course, plenty of other things to think about. But thinking about these areas can be a good place to start.
Force yourself to really look at your life. Be honest about where you are currently falling short. But don't be disheartened. Identifying problem areas just means that you are one step closer to putting them right.
Set Realistic Timescales and Milestone Objectives
Armed with the information about your current personal and household resources, and the green living problem areas in your life, you can now begin to formulate a route map to help you more forward.
First, look at where resources at your disposal might already fulfill a need and allow you to remove your support for damaging systems. (For example, you might have a garden filled with natural resources that could meet many of your needs. Not only could you potentially grow your own food. You could also use plants for other purposes, such as household cleaning, or your own personal cleaning and beauty regime).
Next, decide which skills you need to learn. And create a realistic plan and timescale for learning them (at least the basics).
Don't try to do everything all at once. Set a single goal, and identify milestones that will help you meet it. Make sure you are realistic about this. If you are, you will find it much easier to progress through each milestone and reach your goals. One step at a time, you'll be able to work your way towards green living, and find yourself on the path to a more ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable future.