Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Remembering to be Green

The Climate Crusader is trying to remind herself to be green.

One of the biggest battles that people face when adopting a more sustainable lifestyle is remembering to be green. It sounds a little funny when I type it out that way, I know, but it's true. You may want to reduce your environmental footprint, but you keep forgetting your reusable bags at home. When you're cleaning the kitchen, you automatically throw your food scraps into the garbage instead of the compost. Or perhaps you've been meaning to decrease the temperature on your thermostat, but you haven't quite gotten around to it yet.

Your intentions are good, but you can't remember to follow through, because you're in the habit of doing things a certain way.

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Many environmentalists talk about the difficulty of shifting their behaviour in their efforts to be green. It's one reason that many experts recommend starting with small changes and growing from there. The easier you can make something, the more likely you are to do it. The more often you do it, the more entrenched the habit becomes. Eventually, things like recycling and composting and carrying a reusable water bottle become second nature - but it takes time and effort to get there.

I forget about things, too. For instance, I totally forgot I was scheduled to publish this blog post yesterday. It's not that I didn't want to, or didn't care. I just didn't remember to do it, and then when I did I was in the middle of something else and I couldn't sit down to write it.

One of the biggest boons to me when it comes to remembering things is my digital calendar. Thanks to technology, these days when I put something in my calendar it automatically shows up on my computer, tablet and smart phone. 10 or 15 minutes before an event happens, I even get a little pingy note reminding me where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. It's very helpful as a mom of two little kids to get those reminders.

If you're someone who also forgets about the green changes you're trying to make, you can harness the power of technology to help. For example, set reminders in your calendar to put your reusable bags in your car on the morning you normally go grocery shopping. If you're going on an outing, add a note about bringing along reusable water bottles (and maybe dishes and cutlery, too, depending) to the calendar entry so that you see it when you get the event reminder. If you're gardening, you can also add notes to your calendar to remind you when to plant, mulch or water.

Green reminders can be lower-tech, as well. Leave yourself hand-written notes reminding you to compost, recycle, or bring along your reusables when you leave the house. Put a timer in your shower where you'll see it to remind you to keep it short. Leave notes for your kids reminding them what kind of trash goes where.

Forgetting things is part of making changes. By giving yourself as many green reminders as possible, you can make sure you forget less and remember more.

What about you - do you use reminders when you're trying to make changes so that you don't forget to be green? What kind?

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin