According to the Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) Consumer Trends Database, more than 80% of today’s total U.S. adult population shows some type of green motivation. In fact, as sustainability consultants, we receive more and more requests from individuals seeking eco awareness in their life. Some are just beginning their journey while others may have a better sense of what to do for the environment. Yet, there is confusion about what it means to live green.
Consulting inherently means offering counsel to overcome challenges, limitations, or roadblocks. In developing personal sustainability plans for clients, we've run up against some common misconceptions about green or living a sustainable lifestyle:
- You need to spend a lot of money to go green.
- Going green means buying stuff.
- Eco friendly products are inferior and more expensive compared to traditional brands in the market.
- Living a life of eco awareness defaults that person to a stereotype.
- Changing habits, purchasing choices, and living a sustainable lifestyle is hard, expensive, and requires too much commitment.
- The sustainable efforts of one person couldn't possibly have a positive impact on the environment.
Practicing a sustainable lifestyle begins with a shift in consciousness that includes awareness of our thoughts and actions that impact our environment. One approach used in our personal consulting practice is to assist clients to shift limiting perceptions. Misconceptions often are based on false premises. Once underlying misconception are recognized and transformed, then new ideas begin to blossom.
People can't change their behavior overnight; but, they can change their thoughts and their approach to environmental and sustainability concepts by looking at them differently. By making simple changes in perception to include eco awareness, small eco steps become larger eco steps.
Living a sustainable lifestyle is living a set of choices and behaviors that respects the symbiotic relationship between the environment and humanity. There is no one way or cookie cutter solution to living green. Each of us has our part to play and each of us has the innate ability to live a sustainable life that works for us and also inspires others.