Sustainability expert Moji Igun explains why living a sustainable lifestyle is an act of service and shares the 4 simple questions she is using to guide her daily choices while social distancing.
As a self-proclaimed hippie, I spend the majority of my energy thinking about how I can tread lighter on the planet. It’s a full-time effort, so much so that I made it my job when I founded Blue Daisi Consulting, a sustainability consulting company that guides businesses through the process of reducing waste and implementing more sustainable business practices.
As we endure these uncertain and challenging times, I find myself overwhelmed with questions and a desire to make a difference. Faced with an immediate threat to public health, we must remain physically apart in order to keep ourselves and others safe. As counter-intuitive as it might seem, the act of social distancing proves how interconnected we and the solutions to this crisis are, but what else can we do as individuals to help each other today and long into the future?
"Living sustainably isn't just about recycling and carrying reusable water bottles, it is about the long-term well-being of people and the planet."
As a person who highly values sustainability in all its forms, I see the interconnectedness of my choices daily. Living sustainably isn't just about recycling and carrying reusable water bottles, it is about the long-term well-being of people and the planet. It is a holistic lifestyle inclusive of self-care and caring for others. The coronavirus pandemic gives us an opportunity to re-evaluate our daily choices and habits. What we do today can and will make a difference for others both now and long into the future, this is the essence of living a sustainable lifestyle.
So how can you start this practice now during social distancing? Here are four questions to get you started. You may be surprised by how much you are already doing intuitively.
How am I taking care of myself?
Tuning in to what my body and mind need is the foundation for everything else. If I’m not making sure I’m in a good place mentally and physically, I’m not able to show up for others or nature. Cooking myself a healthy meal, moving my body, reaching out to a friend, and making time to rest are all ways I’m tending to my personal well-being and managing the waves of overwhelm during this chaotic time.
How am I taking care of others in my community?
I’m donating money to my neighborhood food bank and local mutual aid funds. I’m reaching out to friends who are looking for employment to share job postings and resources to help them update their resume. Evaluate what extra resources or skills you have that others might need and offer what you uniquely can.
How am I taking care of small and local businesses?
I’m ordering takeout and delivery from the places I’d usually visit in person. I’m shopping and ordering essentials from closed retail business through their online shops. I avoid shopping on Amazon. This is really important at this moment in time because if we don’t continue to show up for our favorite local spots, they might not be there when this is all over.
How am I taking care of the Earth?
My favorite starting point into environmentalism is through a practice called low waste living (also known as zero waste living). This mindset helps me waste less and be more intentional about the way I consume resources. For example, I’m giving my produce a second life by using what might typically be considered food waste like onion peels or carrot tops to make veggie broth and then composting what’s left. I’m also re-purposing toilet paper cores and cardboard egg crates as containers for starting seeds. Notice the ways you can be more resourceful with the items you have laying around the house.
Right now, every day feels like an emotional roller coaster. For me, it ranges from gratitude to uncertainty to hope to frustration so my advice is to be patient with yourself as you try to re-frame with these four questions. My hope is that with this opportunity for recalibration, we can continue to ask ourselves these questions long after we no longer need to stay physically apart.
"Here with you" by artist Laura Berger