COMPLEX

SYSTEMS
SUSTAINABILITY SIMPLIFIED
Living life in Sustainable Style without the eco-overwhelm.

Welcome!

You’ve found your way to the Sustainability in Style ‘Sustainability Simplified’ section of our ‘Take Action’ collection. This collection of posts and it’s home-page (coming soon) are loaded with content and resources to help you take action in Sustainable Style in a way that is meaningful to you.

From identifying your Values Motivators, to understanding what makes you feel overwhelmed in mind, body, emotions and spirit. This series (when combined with some of our Level-Up courses, the members site, and mindful living products) are part of our holistic approach to sustainability action.  

Some of the resources on this page date back to the beginnings of Sustainability in Style’s online journey as a personal blog. We’ve been learning, sharing, and caring for more than a decade now and it delights us daily to see you interact with what we have on offer and take away what serves you.

By identifying what it is that you value, we invite you to investigate, assess, and take action. One day and one decision at a time! Making small steps towards solutions for large-scale wicked problems.

Go forth and take action in Sustainable Style (minus the eco-overwhelm)

Katie

 

THE SUSTAINABILITY QUAGMIRE

When we think about ‘bad’ or negative behaviours some obvious ones come to mind.

Smoking, drinking, or lack of exercise are just a few examples. These examples all have clear-cut  solutions.Quit smoking. Stop or reduce alcohol consumption. Get a personal trainer. Sustainability habits can be a little bit harder to find solutions for. If you are planning to ‘swap-out’ a bad sustainability habit with good, it can be a challenge to find the right solution.

Let’s start to unpack this a little further.

 

UNPACKING SUSTAINABILITY HABITS

An example of a simple ‘bad habit’ switch would be to stop using plastic bags by bringing a reusable one. Another simple switch is bringing a refillable water bottle or coffee cup.

These simple examples are often shared in our media streams because they are small steps towards sustainability and a relatively easy switch (all you have to do is remember to take the alternative with you and use it). Things become a little trickier with other examples

One ‘bad’ habit you wish to change might be buying shampoo in a plastic bottle. There are lots of simple solutions for this. Get your bottle refilled at the zero-waste store, go shampoo free (the no-poo method), or to buy a solid shampoo bar. All of these options are simple. However, they require time (to research, source, buy and try), money, and motivation. You might find barriers to some of them. There’s a physical effort to refilling your bottle and often a shampoo refill at the zero-waste store can be far more expensive than buying a new bottle from the supermarket and you usually only have one type of shampoo to choose from for refill (which isn’t a great incentive to use this option).

 

  • Theme Park Passes: These days out can be really fun for the whole family, they create memories and wear kids (and adults) out pretty decently! Many theme parks offer special deals this time of year with ‘multi park’,’multi entry’, or ‘Year’ passes. Beware- don’t offer passes to parks without checking with the family members first. Some parent’s don’t love the idea of their kids on rollercoasters and often a gift of an aquarium or zoo pass won’t go down well with a Vegan family.
  • Cooking lessons: Have a look online for kids cooking schools near you. These can be fun ways to teach kids some of the essential skills they will need to develop to be independent and healthy.
  • A herb or veggie garden: If you live nearby the gift recipient why not head to the nursery or farmers markets and pot up some kid friendly herbs or spices and gift them a living present that will reward them later. If they plants die they can always repot something else later.
  • Active adventure vouchers: Most places have jumped aboard the ‘adventure’ boom and offer activities like mountain bike riding, indoor rock climbing, trampolining, kayaking, fishing, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, skateboarding and more! Search what’s available in the gift recipients area and book a time for adventure or purchase a voucher for them to redeem at a later date.

VALUES MOTIVATORS AND DECISION MAKING

It takes a lot of time to trial a variety of solid shampoo bars or the no-poo method to see what works for you. Then, if you happen to have a really sensitive scalp or hair type, you might find that none of these are suitable options for you. Perhaps if you dug a little deeper, you might find that the one solid shampoo bar that works for you. Let’s look at this challenge through the lens of our Values Motivators framework. 

ANIMAL WELFARE AND COMPASSION
A barrier to adoption for someone who has identified as being motivated by Animal Welfare and Compassion might be:

  • The shampoo bar contains an animal-based ingredient (such as beeswax)
  • The shampoo bar comes from a company that tests on animals 
SOCIAL EQUALITY
A barrier to adoption for someone who has identified as being motivated by Social Equality might be:

  • The shampoo bar comes from a company that underpays its staff
  • The shampoo bar comes from a company that uses unethical offshore labour
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
A barrier to adoption for someone who has identified as being motivated by Environmental Sustainability might be: 

  • The shampoo bar is loaded with Sodium Laureth sulfate, a chemical ingredient that you’ve worked actively to remove from your home.
  • The shampoo bar is made across the other side of the world which doesn’t sit well with your low-carbon-miles approach to living life in Sustainable Style. 
SIMPLICITY AND STREAMLINED LIFESTYLE
A barrier to adoption for someone who has identified as being motivated by Simplicity and Streamlined Lifestyles might be:

  • The shampoo bar is from a company that doesn’t offer shipping and the nearest store is 2 hours from your home.
  • The shampoo bar is only available from a wholefood store that’s opening hours don’t work with your work hours.

 

This is just one small example of a seemingly tiny Sustainable Living change. It shows how complicated it can be to find a solution to something that we perceived to be ‘bad’ as most of our daily living and consumption choices are wrapped in and delivered by wickedly complex systems.

WHAT DO YOU

VALUE?

Our four Values Motivators categories are developed based on research in Sustainability Education and experience in communicating sustainability messages for behavioural outcomes.Take the quiz to help guide your Sustainably Stylish journey.  Find goods, services or act in ways that fit your main Values Motivator category and make small steps towards big changes in that area (without eco-overwhelm). 

WICKED COMPLEXITY

The following clips from the wonderful show The Good Place, illustrate just how complex every ‘bad’ habit in the world can be. If you haven’t seen the show (and I highly recommend it) the premise is that the lead character dies on earth and is sent to ‘The Good Place’ (heaven but not called heaven). The series cleverly unpacks moral and ethical philosophy, rights and wrongs, and shows (in a hilariously endearing way) the folly of being human in our wickedly complex global society. 

ANALYSIS PARALYSIS

Our approach here at Sustainability in Style accepts that the obvious ‘sustainable’ switch (i.e. swapping a plastic bag for a reusable one) isn’t something we come by often. That each of us has our own motivations to act sustainably and barriers to behaviour adoption. We know that Michaels illustration of the complexity of purchasing a tomato applies to most of our daily purchases and actions. 

We also know that living life as a Morals and Ethics philosopher* makes life choices excruciatingly painful. More often than not, a truly ‘sustainable’ or no-impact option doesn’t exist. Which means we have to use our judgement to make the best possible decision within the systems we have to work in.  

That’s where the Values Motivators framework comes into play. These four categories are developed based on research in Sustainability Education and experience in communicating sustainability messages for behavioural outcomes. If you can find goods, services or act in ways that fit your main Values Motivator category then you are making tiny steps towards big changes in that area. It is likely that any action you take will also have effects in the other Values Motivator categories. However, I recommend focusing on just your main one (or two if you’re game) as it can be easy to spiral into eco-overwhelm if you try to consider too many factors at once (remember the tomato example). 

*Side note from Katie: I had to investigate all this Ethics and Morals stuff for my Masters… it sent me into a Chidi spiral for months. Which is why I invented the Values Motivator Framework for you. Simplifying Sustainability.  

 KISS ECO-OVERWHELM GOODBYE

Is Sustainably Stylish living during the holiday season got you feeling a bit stressed out? We’ve got you covered with FREE resources to help you combat eco-overwhelm.

Click here to find out about our unique approach to caring for your Sustainable Self (including our eight-part toolkit) as you live life in Sustainable Style.

THIS POST IS BASED ON CONTENT FROM ONE OF OUR ‘READ’ LIVE BOOK CLUB EVENTS. IF IT APPEALS, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS IT AT A SELF GUIDED PACE IN OUR MINDFUL LIVING HQ MEMBERS SITE.