Sustainability

Self-Awareness:ssenerawA-fleS

The process of living more sustainably has really changed both my view of the world and myself. Self-awareness on a daily level really makes you aware (ha, pun intended) of how many small micro-decisions make or break habits and outcomes in our life. It’s crazy to compare the amount of self-awareness I have worked to have now from even a year ago, especially compared to a few years ago.

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It’s a weird feeling to be so much more aware of your presence and decisions… I’ve realized that sometimes I don’t really count myself as a physical being more often than not. As if I am standing in a room of people yet feel invisible—like a thought bubble in someone’s head. II am still having troubles really counting myself as a person (as already mentioned) and that includes voicing my opinions and seeing how my actions and decisions affect others. Not that there wasn’t any awareness before, but after going through life on autopilot for so long it really makes the wonders of life exactly that when the blinders are lifted. Another way involves relationships. Instead of making more impulsive decisions, I really think how will this affect my family member, friend, coworker, significant other, etc? These types of decisions can also be geared towards helping my future self. What is my current self doing to help both my future self, and the future Earth?

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Having this sort of internal dialogue does wonders for the mental health. Sitting back and re-assessing situations and in some cases avoiding negative outcomes is a habit I am glad I have started to pick up on. It’s already proving to be better in both the long and short term. It’s allowed me to find more creative ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, avoid, ignore, wonder, so many adjectives to put in here! Seeing the improvement they help create is almost palpable, especially to see how time changes things based on decisions that were made previously.

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Areas of improvement can contain both small and big victories. I opt out of a straw while at a restaurant, doesn’t seem like much in that instant, but is huge for the Earth. If even one single person refused a straw their entire life (or as much as possible) they will make a big difference over time based on how much they don’t use. I’ve noticed it in areas I frequent while exercising. I notice there’s not nearly as much trash to pick up all of the time. I’d say the area now seems to be cleaner longer, and I really don’t think it’s just because of me. It’s the small acts of people passing through that are helping it get better. From the person who decides not to throw their trash out of the window, to picking up trash seen out in the wild, to the person who makes a decision to go with a less wasteful alternative (ex: eating a banana instead of a granola bar since it creates waste with the wrapper, cardboard box they come in). Self-awareness has helped me make less wasteful decisions for this reason alone.

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It’s even been noticed by those around me. My roommates who have different beliefs are even noticing when something can be recycled and are making more of an effort to break down the boxes, rinse out the soda cans, put things that need rinsed out by the sink so they can be processed. A couple friend of mine has even started recycling now. It’s so exciting thinking about how much of a difference people can make, simply because they had started to become more aware.

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Making more informed and knowledgeable decisions has also helped me become aware of how apparent litter/waste is on the ground, near rivers, anywhere that has moving water, and also thinking about where the water feeds to whether it be the sewer, river, or bay. Finding and removing trash from these areas will eliminate it from being put into the rivers and oceans and away from wildlife that can mistake it for food. Nobody wants to be responsible for harming innocent people and animals… but truth be told, each and every one of us have most likely harmed multiple animals from the waste we produce. I don’t want to be a part of that problem anymore. I want to be a part of the solution. These small daily decisions are helping build a foundation of success that cannot quite be measured, but will be noticed. Don’t stop being curious, don’t stop asking questions, and most certainly… don’t stop fighting the good fight.

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Sustainably Yours,

Nicole

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