One of the greatest hurdles I've run up against--within myself and with others--on the road to becoming an eco-warrior is the phrase "I don't want to". That phrase can bring a fantastic idea to a screeching halt in a moments notice. It can vaporize even the best of intentions. How do you contend with that? How can a person clear that hurdle?
Just for fun let us run through a scenario to illustrate my point...for the sake of keeping me humble, I will illustrate an internal conversation I've had before....
(Setting: Dairy Aisle in Grocery Store)
Rational Self: You shouldn't buy the individual servings of yogurt. They are a huge waste of packaging and you know it is a pain in the butt to try and get the containers recycled. You always just end up throwing them away...(quietly and trailing off)...loser.
Stupid Self: I need my yogurt fix...What are you the yogurt police now? So what brilliant alternatives are you proposing then?
Rational Self: Well, you could buy the really big container and dish out individual servings...or you could make your own yogurt at home.
Stupid Self: Dishing out individual servings of yogurt is time-consuming as well as impractical for my hectic schedule and then you also run into the disgusting possibility that grubby little children have eaten directly out of the container. Making your own yogurt limits your flavor variety...I'd like to see you try and make Apricot/Mango or Pina Colada at home...Don't restrict my flavors, man!
Rational Self: If you make your own yogurt you can control the ingredients. That's always a bonus!
Stupid Self: I'm not taking out a second mortgage so you can buy organic milk for your precious homemade yogurt.
Rational Self: You know it's the right thing to do...
Stupid Self: But I don't want to.
Rational Self: You want to kill the earth and all the animal life on it? You want to make the landfills explode at the seems with all of your stupid yogurt containers?
Stupid Self: No.
Rational Self: Then put the friggin' individual serving yogurt containers back on the shelf, dumb ass.
Stupid Self: Nope. Don't want to.
Rational Self: Come on! What's your problem? Just do it already... Stop being a jerk.
Stupid Self: Look...I don't want to give up my yogurt...can we just move on? Lets just agree to disagree. We're buying the yogurt...
Rational Self: Put it back you selfish, earth-killing pig!
Stupid Self: (Laughing at Rational Self) Did you just call me an earth-killing pig? Dude, wouldn't that be crazy...like seeing a giant pig taking a big bite out of the earth...chomp, chomp!
Rational Self: You are the most immature person I've ever met...just try making your own yogurt...just once...if you hate it, you can go back to buying the ridiculously wasteful individual portions....OK?
Stupid Self: Nope. Don't want to. End of story.
Now do you all see what I deal with on a daily basis? Talking to myself, lack of discipline, lack of motivation, lack of energy...I'm seeing a pattern here...I seem to be rather "lacking" don't I?....
Granted, there are some things that we really shouldn't cut out of our lives--even if we are trying to become eco-warriors. Medications that are necessary for our physical and mental well-being are non-negotiable. Adequate medical and dental care overall is something that we should not give up just for the sake of our desire to be eco-friendly. While I absolutely believe we should push hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, medical goods companies and drug companies to develop ecologically friendly products and services, our current health and safety is just as important.
But outside of that--why do we hold on to so much crap? Why is it so hard to give up certain things or pay more for "greener" alternatives? Why can't we do these things that are better for us and for the environment? When it comes to sacrificing certain beloved products...why don't we want to try?
I'm sure there is some wonderful philosophical explanation...and that's what I'm NOT looking for...I'm looking for the thing I can say or do to attempt to change the "I don't want to" into the "Yeah, I guess I could try it."