In the past month or so, I have had many conversations about Sustainability, Veganism, and Climate change.
In addition to the need for immediate policy changes, the conversations also include topics about Personal accountability such as changing our diets, reducing our plastic consumption, reducing Air travel (unless entirely necessary), reducing consumerism, reducing unnecessary vacation days, reducing investments on multiple homes that push builders into constructing more homes and so on.
During these discussions, one sentence keeps coming up- “Why do you want to make such sacrifices for the World?”
Honestly, this question scares me.
This question that I received from at least 3–4 people signifies that even the most educated and brightest people on this Planet are still scared to let go of their worldly comforts, even if it is to protect humanity (and other beings) from future disasters.
While the question is scary, I am also glad that people are honest with me about their deepest fears. Such conversations allow me to address their concerns and hopefully inspire them towards more sustainable living.
Here’s how I usually respond:
#1 It isn’t a sacrifice if your Life gets better because of it!
You call something a sacrifice when you have given it up, and it has caused you pain and suffering. Leaving particular food items, reducing consumerism, or leaving products filled with toxic chemicals only gave me peace and contentment.
How can I then call these changes a sacrifice?
Buying lesser things also helped me develop immense gratitude for authentic relationships and the things I already had in my Life.
#2 If not you, then who?
Most people (especially the privileged ones) I meet complain about the “present condition of the world.” They spend hours and hours complaining about the corporations, politicians, and the “other people” who are causing environmental damage. But the same people later consume heavy amounts of meat, use plastics unnecessarily, over-consume, and plan multiple vacations a year.
I rarely find people who are willing to take the time to educate themselves and see what THEY can do about the environmental issues affecting the planet right now.
When the topic of personal accountability comes up, people lose their passion for Environmental protection and Sustainability.
Why should I live a sustainable life when the entire world is living luxuriously? Well, if you won’t do it, then who will?
#3 Different does not mean Unhappy
If we do not think about our actions consciously, something as simple as Nostalgia can stop us from progressing.
Just because you are changing your habits does not mean that it will make you unhappy — quite the contrary. Change helps you think beyond your comfort zone and enables you to be more creative.
#4 Sustainability is a Selfish act
While it might not seem like it at the moment, Sustainability is, in fact, a completely selfish human act. Improving the overall health of the Planet will only enhance human lives. It will provide us with fresh & clean air, clean water, clean & healthy food, positive mental health, positive physical health, better relationships, and so much more.
We have nothing to lose if Sustainability is done right. But individuals, corporations, and governments will HAVE TO get on board for that to happen.
So, if you think that buying two clothes instead of 15 in a year is a sacrifice, it’s not. Right not, our Planet needs us to do everything in our capacity to save it from pollutants and mindless consumption.
It isn’t a sacrifice; it’s a duty! A fun, inspiring, compassionate duty.