Beyond January: Will The World's Eco-Resolutions Stick?
A few days ago we posted a list of 5 New Year’s resolutions - maybe you’ve seen it already. We can’t help but notice the general stigma around resolutions. “No one ever sticks to their resolutions,” people say. Many believe that “New Year’s Resolution is a January-thing”. All this negativity around resolutions has made us wonder…
If making a year-projection for ourselves can be too overwhelming, how can we engage people in making a positive change for the environment and our planet, presenting goals for a couple of years in advance?
One doesn’t always equal one
We hear it all the time: “We will reach this and this level by 2020” or “We aim to minimize the pollution with so and so much by 2025”, etc. First of all, governmental agreements and intercontinental deals may seem too overwhelming for individuals to relate to, which we fully understand. Abstract numbers, deals made in accordance with international laws (where average inhabitants barely know the laws of their own country) are difficult to grasp. What we asked ourselves is whether the idea of a goal so far away is too much already? If we do not know where we are going to be in 2025 from the personal point of view, it’s very unlikely that we will be able to relate to year-projections for nations and continents. We just don’t have the mental capacity! It’s like trying to pour 1 gallon of water into a 1-litre jug. One does not always equal one, and in this case, if we try to force it, there will be a lot of spills involved!
Plastic bag for your apples leads to more endangered species
We also believe that one of the reasons why it is so difficult to stick to the resolutions is that we cannot see the connection between making small (sometimes “inconvenient”) changes in the daily life and the big goals. Many people do not see the link between skipping the straw for the coca-cola or the plastic bag for the apples and raising numbers of endangered species. But sadly those two are highly connected!
You sip your coca-cola using a straw, that straw ends in a trash can. Trash from that trash can ends up in a landfill somewhere, but your straw will not decompose by itself (shocker, dears: not even your bioplast straw will decompose by itself!). That straw might eventually (because of winds or rains), end up in our oceans, polluting the waters, but also becoming a threat to the wildlife. While carelessly swimming around, a turtle may stumble upon your straw, and most likely, the turtle won’t survive that meeting. A whale might swallow the straw (and tons of other plastic items that accidentally ended up in the waters, just like your plastic straw did) while ingesting water from which it gets its food. The first time the whale will be fine, second time not much will happen either, but imagine this: every time the whale intakes food, elements of plastic pollute their system. And those elements of plastic come from no other place than our restaurant tables, our washing machines and our supermarkets.
Convenience over consciousness
One last reason why sticking to resolutions is so hard - whether we are talking about New Year, New Moon or New Ecosystem is the fact that the conscious solution is not always the convenient one. Yes, you do have to carry a reusable bag around if you want to shop, but aim to avoid single-use plastic bags. The same way as yes, you do have to physically go to the gym if you want to become fitter.
The change will not happen from making the resolution - the change will happen from living it, incorporating it in your daily routine (btw. want some tips on how to green up your morning routine?) and from… telling other people! It works with diets, it will work with eco-change! If you tell people about your resolution, you will most likely become more serious about it - a psychological trick where you do not want to “disappoint” others.
Let’s do it
This post was not meant to give you a tangible list of 5 things to do or 5 links to click. Instead, we wanted you to reflect on the goals you put for yourself and the effects you want to achieve (Wow, look at WOMB sounding like a business coach!). What you do on an everyday basis will come back to you - in work, in private life, in dieting and in… taking care of our planet.
Be mindful, dear reader, and let’s collectively work on making eco-resolution something that goes beyond the month of January.