Let's see there's phthalates, BPA, parabens, and acrylamide. Mercury, nanoparticles, pesticides, and formaldehyde. Fragrances, flame retardants, hormones, and nitrates. Artificial colors, artificial dyes, dioxins, and GMOs.
These are just a sampling of the things you need to avoid at the store in order to go green. And this is just the grocery store! If you've started to do your holiday shopping, you've no doubt run across another list of dangers to watch out for (lead paint, anyone?) Then there's recycling, composting, saving energy, saving water, teaching your kids about the environment, advocating for new environmental laws, petitioning companies to change their products, and so on, and so on. The to-do list of an environmentalist seems never ending.
So how do you fit it all in? And how do you avoid burnout when it seems like you're banging your hear against a brick wall? Not surprisingly, this is a topic that comes up frequently among folks trying to live an eco-savvy lifestyle. Particularly at this time of year when the balance between 'green' and 'festive' seems hard to achieve.
So I posed this question to some of my eco-awesome friends and here are the tips they gave for avoiding burnout when it comes to going green:
Anna Hackman, Green Talk: "I guess as I have aged, I just don't stress as much if I mess up. It washes out because I know I have gotten better at other environmental areas such as increasing how much food I grow and being very conscious of the products I use on my body."
Betsy Escandon, Eco-novice: "For me, one of the most important things is to focus on my successes. I actually don't find it too difficult to CONTINUE doing things I'm already doing. For me it's often hard to muster the energy to take the next step." Be sure to check out Betsy's post on 10 steps to help you avoid eco-exhaustion.
Carissa Berg Bonham, Creative Green Living: "I think you can burn out early on if you try to do too much at once. Pick one thing to tackle and once it is second nature, tackle something else."
Brenna Burke, Almost All the Truth: "Find joy in the small steps. Recognize that one person may well change the world, but it isn't going to be in one day and without a lot of encouragement and support. Keep doing/adding what you know to be right and ignore the negative - at least as much as possible!"
Lindsay Dahl: "I also think getting involved in advocacy movements makes a difference. You work to make systemic change rather than always feeling like it's you in your home."
Nancy Baldwin, Surviving and Thriving on Pennies: "[K]now that you truly cannot do everything eco friendly and be okay with it as long as you did your best."
Julie Hancher, Green Philly Blog: "I also think I stopped thinking of it as a chore and started incorporating it/thinking of it as my lifestyle instead. Keeping (foldable) reusable bags in my purse, finding the 'best' brands and sticking to them, stay out of mainstream grocery stores and getting bulk bin foods instead. Since I feel like I incorporate it everyday where I can, I don't get too upset with myself on the rare occasion where I make compromises due to budget/circumstances."
How do you avoid eco-burnout?
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