New clothes every month, food products coming in plastic bags, loads of parcels with press samples shipped through the entire world, hip events here and there, and all that electrictiy spend on working on the laptop all day long; I mean seriously am I actually living a conscious and sustainable lifestyle AT ALL?
And, more precisely, do I actually have an impact on this world with what I do? And am I entitled to do what I do here on the blog? “Pretending” to live a sustainable life?
These are a few questions I would love to debate in today’s post!
I got the idea of writing this post the other day when I received yet another package of press samples from a fair fashion company. I was really happy opening the package and trying on the new items, however I asked myself (as I do many times) in which way what I am doing here is sustainable at all, in which way I am entitled to share new products evey othe day. I asked myself this question before I restructured my blog back in 2016 (those of you following me since a long time know that I was just that average blabla lifestyle blog before I changed towards sharing inspiration on a more sustainable lifestyle), I asked myself this question before I opened my own business, and I keep asking myself this question over and over again.
And I thought it might be interesting for you as well to get to know more about my opinion on what I am doing here!?
Okay, so let me start by discussing what I believe a truly sustainable life actually is (and I am going to exaggerate just a little to make my point clear): living a truly sustainable life to me means to live a life where I grow my own veggies, I eat only what my garden or the neighbors garden is offering. Because everything else would need to get transported to my place and that wouldn’t be sustainable. I do not buy new items, no matter what; no new clothes, no new books, no new furniture, nothing new. Because everything new costs new resources and using them wouldn’t be sustainable. Of course, I would not buy anything packed in plastic or whatsoever – because I wouldn’t be buying anything at all. I wouldn’t travel by car or airplane, I would do my best not to use the heater in my house and to use as little electricity as possible.
I am pretty sure I would be able to live that way, I mean I would be able to survive. And I would truly have a MUCH lover CO2 footprint compared to right now. Also, I would probably be overall happy with me not having a bad impact on the environment.
However, how much impact would I REALLY have? If I would live that life all on my own, doing my thing somewhere on the countryside in a cute little German village – how many people would I effect with what I am doing? How many people other than me would change their behavior as well?
Okay, I could open an Instagram account and share my hyper sustainable life, share how I repair my clothes all over again, share how I grow vegetables all around the year in the garden, share how I use three blankets in Winter to use less gas. I would maybe even get a million follower who would enjoy looking at all of that. But the question is: how much would they change then in their life when looking at mine?
When I would be that far away from the mainstream, that far away from everyone else; how much would I truly inspire others to change small bit and pieces of their behavior? I do believe: not that much!
Because most people do not change their behavior from looking at someone they cannot relate to.
Most people get inspired by people they can relate to, people they have at least something in common with. As soon as you are too far away from the rest, the rest is no longer able to see themselves in you!
You can see that the other way around too: like Hollywood stars are probably not your biggest inspiration when it comes to your own behavior!? You see Justin Timberlake taking a vacation to the outer space but you cannot really relate to that so it is not going to become part of your bucket list.
And when you see someone living in the middle of nowhere, growing their own vegetables and never buying anything and not using any resources at all you will most probably not relate to that either – and that lifestyle will not make it on your bucket list either.
However – as soon as you find some common ground, some similarities with another person, you are able to truly get inspired!
And this is where my sustainable-not sustainable lifestyle comes it.
I do believe that I inspire (and change) MORE when I share a lifestyle that everyone can relate to, a lifestyle that is close to the mainstream, and yet it is somehow greener and a little more organic than the mainstream. When I share that I BUY food, then we have something in common; we both buy food – and I can build on that common ground and maybe I can inspire you to buy organic food instead of conventional one. When I would grow my own veggies only and you buy your food in the supermarket only, then there isn’t this bridge of “buying food”, not that common ground that we can build upon. This applies throughout all the topics: cosmetics (going from conventional to organic), fashion (going from fast to fair), eating out (going from chains to individual and green places), etc.
So, this is the first point I want to make: We can only inspire those people we do have something in common with. When you cannot relate to what another person is doing you will not be open to change your own behavior.
Now that this is clear, let’s move forward. If now I lived that hyper sustainable life but (almost) no one would feel inspired to follow along, I personally would have a lower impact on the environment; however, all the people I DO NOT reach, they would still have the same impact as before. But, if now I lived that medium sustainable life (which I do) and thereby I inspire let’s say 100 people every month to buy a. less clothes from fast fashion brands b. more organic food c. less things wrapped in plastic d. more organic cosmetics etc. than how much impact will we all together have in the end? I believe much more than I ever could all on my own!
100 people changing just a little bit in their everyday behavior will have more impact than 1 person doing it all perfect!
So am I living a truly sustainable lifestyle? No I am not! But do I have a positive impact on the environment anyway? I hope I do!
To sum up:
If 100 persons are inspired by my blog and stop buying from fast fashion chains – and they talk to their friends about the reasons for why they do it – this will have an enormous snowball effect. However, if I on my own lived that perfectly sustainable life, only growing my own vegetables, never buying new clothes etc. and noone would know about that, I would of course still be great what I am doing, but the overall impact on the world would be much smaller. This is why I believe that what I do here is having a positve impact overall, and this is why I believe that even though I am not perfect, I am entitled to write this blog 🙂
Or- what do you think :)?