So what do we mean by lifestyle?
Our lifestyles are built from the choices we make. This includes:
- What we eat
- What we wear
- Where we work
- How (or if) we exercise
- What we do for fun
- The products we buy
You get the idea! We're all living certain lifestyles whether we're conscious of them or not. And the first step to a green lifestyle? Becoming conscious of your personal choices.
Let's start with a typical day. You wake up at about eight in the morning. You rush to wash your face with your Neutrogena microbead face wash, and you eat a granola bar on the go. You get in your car and stop at Starbucks for an iced coffee in a plastic cup (Do people drink iced coffee in the morning? As you can tell, I don't drink coffee!). You drive a half an hour to your corporate job, where you sit at a desk all day. During lunch, you pick up a sandwich and some chips from the deli downstairs and eat it in front of your computer. After work, you sit in traffic. When you get home, you eat some pasta and pour yourself a glass of wine, and then you're too exhausted to do anything but catch up on your favorite shows on Netflix. Soon it's time for bed, and you do the whole thing again the next day.
This is the reality for a lot of people. It's not a bad life, certainly, but it's also not a great life. A lot of these choices are being made mindlessly, without giving thought to the negative impacts that could come from them.
Let's look at this day again. That microbead face wash is going to run down the sink and into the ocean, where the plastic balls will be ingested by fish, contaminating your tuna sandwich somewhere down the line. The granola bar is made of genetically modified wheat grown with buckets of herbicides and pesticides that will run off into the water supply, and it's full of rainforest-killing palm oil and refined sugar that will leave you hungrier by the afternoon. That Starbucks cup will last for an eternity, since it's made of plastic, and it will most likely end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or at least in a ditch somewhere. Sitting all day at work and in the car will weaken your body over time, since your muscles are barely being used. The sandwich and chips you had for lunch are basically empty calories, and so is the pasta you had for dinner. Your body is lacking the nutrients it needs to thrive. Combining your lack of exercise with your nutrient-poor diet, your body is likely going to run into health problems in the future. This lifestyle is unsustainable for you and for the Earth.
The good news is that changing your lifestyle to something more sustainable for you and for the Earth is both fun and rewarding. When we make ethical, healthy choices, we feel good about the way we're living, and we feel good about our lifestyle.