Why Being Green is not a Sacrifice

Our philosophy at Bolygó is that being green should not be interpreted as a constant act of sacrifice, it should be interpreted more as a process of liberation. Giving a negative connotation to sustainable living, is like trying to advertise a chocolate as it is the worst chocolate you can get. Of course, no one would buy it. So if we want to convince people to change their lifestyles, we need to come up with a positive interpretation, which is actually if we start to think about it, not that hard to do. 

The habits that are the hardest to change are usually the ones that you do because it gives you some kind of a good feeling – you are doing it because it makes you happy. We use cars because driving makes us feel good, we buy new clothes so that we feel happy, we go on fancy vacations to feel relaxed. What we usually don’t realize is that we are making too much effort to feel just a little spark of happiness, without realizing it. What if someone would tell you that you can feel happy without buying a product, without working so much, just to pay for all the unnecessary things that are supposed to give you the feeling of joy? What if someone would tell you that you could skip all those processes, and still be able to feel wholesome? 

Whenever I talk about environmentalism with my friends, I always tell them that my motivation for living a green lifestyle is not climate anxiety – my motivation is that, since I’m an environmentalist, I’m able to experience wholesomeness because of the smallest things, that I don’t have to do anything for, I just pay attention. Seeing the full moon, how it makes the night so bright, seeing bees flying around the wildflowers, seeing the trees and flowers blooming during spring gives me so much happiness every time, without making any effort. With this approach, they can relate to sustainability so much easier than shocking them with numbers and data about climate change.

The key for convincing someone to change their lifestyle and mindset, is showing them alternatives for their old habits and for reaching the same kind of feelings. With this in mind, it’s easy to see that if you can reach the same level of happiness with less effort, it is not a sacrifice, it is a process of liberation. 

By Olga Körner, the Local Coordinator of Bolygó, our makerspace in Budapest, Hungary.

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