I’m not usually a New Year’s Resolution setting-type of person, but I started a bullet journal (bujo) this year and subsequently forced myself to create some resolutions that I could draw out in my bujo. The last resolution I ended up setting was to start changing my beauty inventory over to be cruelty-free. Now, this post isn’t going to be about that journey, we’ll save that for another time, but this goal started me down a YouTube research path that included search terms such as eco, sustainable, cruelty-free, zero waste. This research path ultimately led me to the term “low impact,” which is a concept I decided to start exploring more- and am here to share a little with you on today!
As a little background, the Low Impact Movement instagram (@thelowimpactmovement) was started by @sustainably_vegan, but this is relatively new social campaign and lifestyle that is being marketed and followed by influencers and activists who previously considered themselves part of the zero waste movement. Collectively, this group of people and their social followings became frustrated by the impossibility of actually becoming “zero waste.” That movement essentially set people up for failure and criticized those who were unable to make certain changes in the direction of sustainability due to their life circumstances. The goal of this new movement, in the words of Sustainably Vegan, is to “lower your impact in a way that is attainable for you and your circumstances, without feeling dejected or life you have failed.” The Low Impact Movement is about taking the steps you are able to take to help lower your impact and to make a commitment to living your life in this way. This movement is not about being perfect, it’s about continually trying.
DISCLAIMER: I would by NO MEANS consider myself an expert in any of the following topics. Additionally, my current lifestyle is not consistent with many of these areas, but it something that I am very slowly working on. I know this is going to be a long journey, and I am proud of myself for even beginning to look into how I can lessen my impact and live more intelligently and sustainably.
The 5 R’s of Sustainability!
💚 REFUSE – Living a more sustainable and low impact life is about learning to live with less and live “without.” Ask yourself, do you need it? Can you live a happy life without it? Are there alternative ways to live if you do not have this item?
💚 REDUCE – It’s time to start asking yourself- what do you actually need? It is more important to invest in quality over quantity. What truly adds value to your life? Reducing not about forcing yourself to live with the bare minimum to the point that you are uncomfortable! Reducing is about critically analyzing your life as a whole (your wants and your needs) and finding a level of comfort and sustainability that you can maintain.
💚 REUSE – As the saying goes, one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure! Step three is all about having creativity and a problem-solving mindset readily accessible for life. The discovery of way to re-use, re-purpose, and re-design products is not only a way to sharpen your mind, but also a way to lower your impact. What can you get second-hand and give a second-life? What in your own home can be used again again?
💚 REPAIR – As technology makes information more and more accessible to us, this step should become easier and easier to implement! So many times humanity takes the easy way out by simply throwing things out and then re-buying them instead of taking the time to fix what you already have. With online resources such as video tutorials on YouTube and countless articles written by people around the world, it is extremely easy to get helpful tips and even step-by-step directions on how to repair items in your life and lower your impact!
💚 RECYCLE – This is the last piece of the age-old sustainability trifecta: reduce, reuse, recycle. When it comes to recycling, it is important to be conscious of what we’re getting rid of in this manner. We need to make sure we consider the cleanliness of the jar when you put it in the recycling can, the grade of plastic, the material itself, etc., etc., etc! There are many limitations on what can actually be recycled, so make sure to do your research on what your area’s guidelines are.
💚 ROT – This last piece of the model is specifically geared toward food waste (and some paper/cardboard waste). This encourages us to think about how we store food to make it last longer (ie: freezing items) as well as how to get rid of remains after meals (ie: composting). Eating is a fundamental part of life so it’s important to think about the impact those actions we take everyday have on the plant and humanity as a whole.
Now, there are several different versions of the the 6 R’s of Sustainability circulating around the internet, but this version posted by Sustainably Vegan resonated with me the most. I like the models that include “re-think,” but the more I really thought about it, the low impact movement and actions toward a more sustainable lifestyle are all conscious decisions- meaning they require thought and preparation. To me that means that the “re-thinking” step should just be a part of the entire process, not a step on it’s own.
I hope that this post introduced you to a new model to help you focus on sustainability and look at the idea of living a low impact life in a different light. I’m definitely interested in learning more about this topic and related topics so stay tuned for more of my findings!
All my best,
- Header Photo | Tree archway in a park photo by Ashley Knedler on Unsplash
- Instagram Post | Photo and post by @sustainably_vegan from February 22, 2018