Imperfectly green: small steps for green habits

A guide to avoiding transforming ethical habits into performances

Tips for establishing healthy and ethical habits 

Each of us has, at some point, tried to delete our Instagram or Facebook after watching videos of American motivational coaches. Each of us has also tried to establish a morning routine that consists of waking up at 5 a.m. 

Furthermore, each of us has tried to use only vegan cosmetics, to buy a reusable water bottle and to convince our relatives to reduce the consumption of meat and to start riding the bike when going to the supermarket. 

Despite these efforts, no one feels truly immune from the guilt of ruining our environment. In this article we are going to explain why it is better to start being ‘imperfectly conscious about environment’ rather than feeling frustrated and not being able to transform actions into habits.

Imperfectly Vegan

Switching from the more common Mediterranean diet to a plant-based one can be complicated and cumbersome. If you live alone, you run the risk of not varying your diet often enough and falling back on the recipes you are most used to for convenience’s sake. 

If you live with your parents and they do not share your opinion, you risk making this behaviour seem like a rebellion. The advice is to start by becoming ‘imperfectly vegan’.

It is better to take this step gradually and ensure that it becomes a real lifestyle, rather than struggling to keep this choice and quickly falling back into your old habits.

The most famous vegan nutritionist in Italy, Silvia Goggi dispels several myths related to this diet. On her Instagram stories, she raises awareness among her followers on the issue.

First, she ensures that veganism will not cause any nutritional deficiencies (provided that you supplement vitamin B12). 

Above all, she insists on reassuring people that the most important thing is not becoming perfect in our diet but making small steps that can be maintained. No ‘vegan police’ will arrest you for every mistake you might make. This regime is not to be seen as a challenge.

A more relaxed attitude could help to maintain it with serenity, ensuring that the positive effects on the environment are greater.

Imperfectly Zero Waste

Everyone would be discouraged if they tried to reduce the waste that they produce to zero right off the bat. Kicking into high gear by throwing away all the products we already have and buying only cotton pads and bamboo toothbrushes could soon make us feel frustrated. 

The reason being that we would lack the comforts we are used to. In this case we may end up believing that our own habits could not do anything serious for the environment.

We would likely go back to buying shampoos in plastic packaging and disposable pads to remove make-up. It is normal not to feel immediately ecological or unable to contribute to the environment. 

Deciding to drastically reduce the waste that is produced (by buying powdered detergents, shopping in bulk, not using disposable plastic containers) is a starting point we must be proud of. There is no challenge, only a common will to preserve what we cherish.

Imperfectly Smog-Free

Forcing yourself to take the bicycle every day for every trip could be counterproductive. Incorporating this habit as a pleasant time to breathe, look around, and move around could make it a routine.

Traffic in our cities is always dense and air quality is strongly affected by this situation (see here in real-time the ranking of air quality in the world). If everyone slowly starts to use the bicycle or to walk, the city will empty and we could benefit from cleaner air.

This short article is not meant to be an incentive to take these issues lightly and not engage concretely in everyday actions aimed at improving the environment. However, we believe that it is better to start imperfectly to implement environmentally conscious behaviours, rather than waiting to be perfectly vegan and ecological (and thus ending up postponing this step).

Every little change counts. Reinforcing yourself positively can help you establish long-lasting habits, which can really make a difference.  

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