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  • Writer's pictureKatie Gardner

Smartly sustainable

It's been a minute. The past several months (well, the past year) have been quite hectic, and I took a step back to focus on work and simply enjoying my post-grad school/ bar exam life. I think we’ve all experienced the weird mental strains of the past few years; for me, it required simply relaxing for a while and enjoying some of the world reopening (and then shutting down again, and hopefully staying reopened?). However, over the past year, I found myself missing writing, so I've decided to make time for this passion project of mine.

As a part of this, I have decided to refocus the blog with the underlying theme of "Smartly Sustainable." What this means: a blog focused on sustainability tips for smart, busy people who want to know how to be sustainable without wading through all of the conflicting information on the internet. Why trust me? I have a passion for research & science, backed by my education in law, engineering, and business, as well as just being a general sustainability and CleanTech nerd.

So, what topic first? I figured what better than to write a bit about first sustainability steps - and why that shouldn’t daunt you. As it's just into the new year (though already mid-April - which is crazy), 2022 is a great year to take steps towards sustainability!

So how does one start being more sustainable? Well....

  1. Start small! Many sustainability habits can be time consuming or require some thought and planning, which can make it harder to commit & stick with the habits. Because of this, I recommend picking something easy that integrates into your life seamlessly, such as swapping out an unsustainable product for a better one. One suggestion - try refillable hand soaps that use tablets instead of liquid! These are both easy to store & easy to use, and is already something that we all use. Plus you can stock up and not have to buy new hand soap for a year.

  2. On a related note - prioritize your swaps, and don't try to do everything at once. If you overcommit and make many swaps at once, it can get overwhelming and complicated, as well as throw off your routine, making completion less likely.

  3. Be flexible! I was listening to a talk by Wharton behavioral economist Katy Milkman, who mentioned that people are more likely to keep habits when they have flexibility in their habits & goals. If you have a sustainability fail (and we all do), make a note of it, and remember for the next time! Then, don't give up.

  4. Keep perspective. It can be very hard to be sustainable in our society, especially depending on your income & location, so focus on what you can control. For what you can't, advocate to those who can, such as politicians or companies.

  5. Finally, enjoy the process! This is a journey with no end, as there is never an "end state" to being sustainable. I recommend finding a way to pair sustainability with your passions, as it can make it more interesting.

I get frustrated when going around various channels on the internet (I admit - I spend a lot of time on Reddit), seeing the hate and disdain for newbies, novices, and any “others” outside the insular communities (not limited to sustainability, which I like to think is a generally welcoming community). It's a superiority complex that does no one any good, and can make it daunting to try something new. There is no “correct” way to go about being more sustainable, and, coming from someone who is busy, the only habits that you'll keep are the ones that integrate with your life seamlessly.

I can't wait to share this journey with you!

Until next time.

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