Our Blog

June 25, 2021

Why is Sustainability So Hard?

Our team at Spruce Tree Media are lucky enough to live in some of the most beautiful locations in Western Canada. This definitely inspires us to want to take care of our planet. We, and many of our clients, are really passionate about sustainability and so we thought we would write a couple of (hopefully) thought provoking blogs on the subject.

As you may know, sustainability, waste & global warming are hot topics right now (pun totally intended). 

It’s really got us thinking about why this glaringly obvious problem seems so hard to resolve. Perhaps like us, when you toss something in the garbage, you feel a pang of guilt, but you also know that it won’t be the last time you do it. 

For many of us, quitting our current lifestyle to go and live off grid at a 100% sustainable homestead is not something we are going to consider anytime soon. We applaud those who do this but many of us are just not ready for it. If you are one of these people, this blog is for you! We are going to try to unpack the struggle we face in becoming more sustainable and the little changes we can make - not the big ones.

We know we want to change, but why is it so hard? Here’s 3 points we consider to be huge influencers:

1. Convenience is incredibly valuable to us.
In our busy days, we all love convenience and suppliers exploit this. Most companies prioritize making products that are quick & easy for us - not what’s best for the planet. Convenience surrounds us, and so we have become dependent on products that come with baggage...literally. Most things that we consume come in packaging or single use containers. It’s the way we have learned to live.

What can we do about this? We can start making purchasing decisions with sustainability as a priority over what is most convenient. The options are out there - it just takes a bit more searching and a change of brand here and there. Although we may think it is a supplier’s responsibility to provide us with eco-friendly products, we  can share the responsibility by making sustainable choices. Every time we do this we are demonstrating the demand for sustainability to suppliers & manufacturers which in turn will encourage them to change their products.

2. Social approval and going with the crowd is the safe option.
Psychologists can attest to the fact that social approval is a huge influencer in our behavior on a subconscious level. It’s a lot easier to go with the status quo. If a friend or colleague asks you if you want a Starbucks, it’s way more comfortable to say “Sure! I’ll have a Venti Latte!” rather than be the buzz kill that says “No, I don’t want to encourage the use of single-use cups and imported goods.” We often find ourselves in situations where we put our values aside for the purpose of fitting in.

What can we do about this? Understand that speaking out about sustainability is a very hard thing to do. Be proud to be the one to make changes first. If approached in the right way, you have the power to change your own behavior as well as influence change in others. Share your favorite eco-friendly habits & products with friends & co-workers. Inspire them to do the same!

3. Behavior change is incredibly hard for us.

We have the capability to change but it’s so easy to continue with old habits. Behavior change is incredibly difficult, because behaviors and habits are hardwired into our brains. Changing our behavior literally means changing neural-pathways and building new ones. This is much easier said than done! Being aware of this fact is the first step to creating new habits.

What can we do about this? Try, try and try again! Be patient with yourself. If you fall off the bandwagon, shake it off and try again. Work to change one habit at a time. Such as grabbing your re-usable coffee cup before you leave the house each morning. Identify something that you want to do to live a more sustainable life and decide on how to fit it into your routine. Experts say that linking a new habit with an old one has great results.

In our next blog we will share some of our suggestions for small, easy changes that we can make to lead a more sustainable life.

We can change the world but first we have to change ourselves! Let’s do it together.

Stay tuned for our next blog!

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