Secrets to Sustainability Decision Making!

Family conversations, late night snacks, and sustainability decision making!

The other day we were sitting about chatting about all the millions of decisions we have to make each day. Wow! Talk about skull numbing!

We agreed it was hard enough to make decisions about the things we know and understand. But then there were the decisions we don’t really have a handle on, and, worse, decisions we must make without full information.  Sometimes we get a bonus: decisions which are hard to understand and have to be made with limited knowledge.

We decided that this last category characterizes pretty much all decisions we have, or want to make around ‘all things sustainable’.

Sustainability Decision Making Paralysis

Very few of us know, for example, all the tricks and traps of energy savings. Or in the grocery store? How many times have you wondered if product A is better than product B when both have orangutan killing palm oil, both are made on a different continent with sketchy labor laws, both come in ocean filling plastic containers, and etc., etc. Then you may have to consider the fact someone in the family really, really likes it….My sentiment? ‘Oh! no I’m just want to shoot myself.’

Don’t feel bad if you feel this way. Most of us who aspire to a healthier and happier life, and a more sustainable planet have this sound track playing in our head all the time.

Don’t despair. Help is out there. There are many tools offering simple ways to start changing your habits towards more sustainable (I’ve listed a few below). Searching for other sustainability decision making tools on the net is quite simple and I urge you to do so.

A Small Bump Can Change Your Habits

If you’ve had a chance to read my book Invest Like You Give a Damn, you will know that the greater part of the battle is less about information and more about simply doing something. In Chapter 15, Stomping the Devil of Inertia and Joining the Sustainability Investment Tribe, I offer a simple seven part strategy for moving your sustainability inertia to more and better.

The premise of change focuses on our decision making psychology and goes something like this: The direction of a body in motion often requires little energy to change its course. Make one small change and you bump your lifestyle trajectory towards more and better sustainability outcomes. The change that got me motivated in a big way was simply buying my coffee differently (see box for story).

Late Night Snacks and Sustainability

In our soon to be released video Late Night Snacks and Sustainability, you see the kind of conversations we have in our family every day. We simply ask questions, challenge what we know, or don’t know, and ask ourselves what we can or can’t do be more sustainable. In this case, we are putting together a snack for my life partner Tonia, and her friend Jackie who were coming back from a long day in Mexico City. Unfortunately, they came home too late to film them eating, so my son Mateus volunteered to snack with me.

What to Eat: Decisions, Decisions

Food is so important in our family; food is so important to everybody in the world. And we know there’s a lot more that we can do to eat more sustainably.

For example, we get crazy about the cheese wrapped in plastic (although that’s kind of hard to avoid). We also don’t like the fact that some of our cheese comes from as far away as Italy, which means lots of carbon in transport to Mexico.

Pie chart comparing Meat Lover, Average, No Beef, Vegetarian, and Vegan household carbon footprints. This helps with Sustainability decision making.

We are always thinking about how we can lower our carbon footprint while eating well.  The graphic above really helped motivate us. We started changing our habits not so long ago and went from Meat Lover to nearly No Beef in the matter of a year. How gratifying!

The trick to being happily more sustainable, as my life partner Antonia has taught me, is to celebrate little things you can do, and not let things you can’t get you down.

If you do have a chance to look at Late Night Snacks and Sustainability you’ll see me cutting into some crusty fresh-from-the- toaster bread decked out with tomato and melted cheese. (Dont want to miss it? Sign up for our newsletter by clicking I hope it makes you hungry for change!

Making more sustainability related decisions may be tough at first, but like anything else, practice and success makes things easier. It has been like this for our family. Fortunately with our love of food, along the way we were able to enjoy great meals and snacks, and to celebrate the contribution of each step we took towards a happier, healthier, and more sustainable world.

Hope you can too… bon appetite, provecho, enjoy.

Feature image source: Blackle Mag, Conscious Living and Design. Each week Blackle Mag delivers original articles covering everything from sustainable architecture and fashion to green gadgets and transport; plus a healthy dose of eco living. Check them out……http://blacklemag.com/

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