“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle
Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously, without one directly thinking consciously about them. In the world of personal sustainability plans, this unconscious display of habits is a fertile ground of opportunity offering low hanging fruit for eco action.
The gap between awareness and action may represent the single largest opportunity for global sustainability progress. While historical efforts have focused on expanding awareness, the recent explosion of information and global interest indicates that the “word is out” on most major issues. The next step is closing the growing gap between knowledge and personal action.
As communicated in our sustainability consulting, the basic formula is: change your habits= different result. The trick is to become aware of the areas in your life that have the biggest environmental impact, and then take inspired action to create new habits. Sounds easy, but how do you do that?
First, what are your current habits telling you? Where is your biggest environmental impact?
- Discover you impacts here and take eco action today: PineMark
- Discover how much land area it takes to support your lifestyle with Global Footprint Network
Next, create new habits. Following are 4 areas of eco action to help get you started.
- Vehicle Fuel Consumption: The most significant area of personal impact and one that is well within your sphere of influence. Sustainable actions directly aligned with personal savings include: alternative fuel transportation, fuel efficiency, and personal reduction (commuting, ride share, alternative transportation).
- Electricity Consumption: By switching to wind or renewable sources, the average family could save the equivalent to thousands of miles driven in a car. Sustainable actions include: source control (wind, renewable, offsets), home efficiency (energy star appliances), and personal energy management.
- Water Consumption: Clear fresh water is rapidly becoming an endangered resource in even the most developed countries. Sustainable actions directly aligned with personal savings include: water management (personal use and outdoor watering) and waste water management (controlling what goes down the drain and into the storm drains).
- Waste Disposal: A large portion of what goes into the average garbage is recyclable. By separating your plastics, glass, and paper, the weekly volume sent to the landfill could be cut by more than half. Sustainable actions include: inquiring about recycling programs with traditional collectors and locating recycling centers in your area.
Discovering hidden treasures in your daily habits begins by becoming conscious of your routines as well as creating new habits and eco actions you take. Change your habits and watch your world unfold differently. Remember, every eco action adds up. Your eco actions matter. Together, we can all make positive change in our world.
Julie Urlaub is Founder & Managing Partner of Taiga Company, a sustainability consulting firm located in Houston, Texas dedicated to accelerating the integration of sustainability concepts in business. Today, Julie speaks, writes, and advises clients on a variety of issues related to the intersection between environmental stewardship, and sustainable business practices. Her writing has been featured in SocialYell’s Corporate Advice, the GreenEcomonyPost, the Business Exchange and, the ThinkGreenAlliance. Connect with Taiga Company on Facebook and Twitter. Also Find Julie on LinkedIn.