“Earth is the only planet we have in common, the only place life exists at the moment, the only place we can call home – let’s protect it”
So goes the admonition of eco-friendly advocates.
In as much as this is of great value and undoubtedly, a meaningful quote, there are notwithstanding unavoidable challenges of an eco-friendly lifestyle.
If you are tired of living a non-sustainable lifestyle and have resolved to live more eco-friendly lifestyle from now on – knowing all the benefits, it is wise to learn about the stumbling blocks you may likely encounter on your way to sustainable lifestyle.
These challenges can be stressful at the beginning since you are unsure of where to begin, but, the good part is that, you have completed the most difficult task by deciding to live eco-friendly.
Easing the burden further, awareness of these hidden challenges prepares one further for the task ahead. To get it right the first time, you must:
- Focus on smaller changes you can make easily before you tackle the more difficult steps.
- Be consistent with the progress you are making towards eco-friendly living.
- Be sure to adopt the sustainable lifestyle according to your work schedule.
- Follow the basic principle of sustainability which is simplicity.
- Follow the 5R’s rule of sustainability – Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Rot
- Do not be weary even if the changes you are making is not yielding instant results as expected- Great things starts small.
Here are some of the challenges you may likely encounter and hopefully surpass to help you live a more eco-friendly lifestyle:
Challenges of an eco-friendly lifestyle
Since our society is made up of many faucets that require our attention in its diversity, the challenges encountered in living an eco-friendly lifestyle is influenced directly or indirectly by these faucets.
1. Social challenges:
These are socially-influenced hidden challenges encountered when you choose to live a sustainable lifestyle. They include;
Dealing with awkward gazes while living sustainably:
Humans are creatures of habit and once you do not belong to the larger group that lives in a particular kind of way, you are automatically labelled as awkward.
An example can be seen when you probably attend your company’s meeting using your disposable water bottles instead of accepting the regular PET bottled water served in such meetings.
Most of your colleagues will keep wondering if you are really with your senses. But, do not be dismayed, they will get used to the lifestyle with time, You may probably gain a second disciple.
By being consistent with the path you have created and ignoring any distractions, you will overcome this challenge. In no time, it will become part of you and happen naturally.
Dealing with friends that have different opinion about eco-friendly living:
are in-built when it comes to living sustainably. Your closest friends may disagree with your point of view and may choose to dissociate with you on matters relating to living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
This is actually a good thing for you because you will have new friends that will give you all the motivations you need and support your cause towards living sustainably.
Despair will only get you discouraged but having a team that have the same interest as you do will help you reach your goal.
Whatever the case may be, you will have peace of mind knowing you are completely on nature’s side.
Dealing with fear of loneliness while living sustainably:
It is not a myth that those that chose to live a lifestyle different from the norm can be lonely and can potentially face depression most times.
Friends of eco-friendly advocates are usually minimal as few persons really fits into the lifestyle they want. To deal with this, be objective in your approach when interacting with people.
Do not be judgmental of their decision to live unsustainable but find the best way and time to educate them about your choice of lifestyle. If you are feeling lonely, there are local and micro communities you can always join to ease the burden.
This way, you get to interact more with people with similar mindset and lifestyle as yours. You can also build your own local community where you can educate people on sustainable living.
2. Market challenges:
There are tons of products available in the market space. Many of these products are toxic to the environment.
The manufacturers know this, the government is aware and the people buying these products are also not ignorant of these toxic products. They simply cannot do anything about it…for now. The products are one way or the other part of everyday existence.
To live a sustainable lifestyle, be ready to tackle these market challenges;
Costly sustainable products:
Sustainable products are not as flexible to produce as the “unsustainable” ones.
The process of making sustainable products are either too complex or the mechanism for extracting sustainable raw materials, too expensive.
This ultimately translates to an expensive product. This is one of the biggest challenges of an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Though this may be true, but economics studies have shown that more demand for a particular product (apart from luxury and limited product) will lead to the increase production of that goods and a reduction in price on the long run due to excess supply.
In other words,the more people demand for more sustainable lifestyle, the more manufacturers and investors are channeling their efforts to satisfy these demands. In few years time, the prices of such products is bound to reduce.
Need for standardization:
Studies have shown that green marketing campaigns are only 5% telling the truth. The companies that make green products do not have standards they look up to.
In other words, there are not just enough standardization to authenticate the claims made by the companies that market green products.
Therefore, with little or no standard quality control board, body or association, there’s no way to truly prove that a product is organic, but, there are regulations put into place that is getting us closer to green standardization.
These bodies are doing extremely well to maintain quality standard in the USA and other parts of the world. Bodies like EPA, USDA etc were established to check these standards but more needs to be done to improve on these standards.
Green products – A New Concept:
Majority of consumers are very aware of what it means to be eco-friendly, live a sustainable lifestyle or “to go-green” and buy only eco-friendly products, but, there is still a large percentage of people who don’t know what it means or what to look for when buying eco-friendly products.
There are lots of people already making eco-friendly choices and adopting healthier lifestyles like working out and Yoga. When these set of people find goods that also coincide with their healthy lifestyle, they’ll be more inclined to buy there products.
The challenge here is that lots of other people are not aware of this new concept of green products hence, more campaigns is needed to introduce these groups to this new market.
More so, new and more appealing concepts are needed to attract more green consumers.
3. Government challenges:
The challenges of an eco-friendly lifestyle can be a government-influenced challenge linked to government structure, government policies and corruption in government.
Huge capital investment for most countries:
Most developing and under-developed countries are dependent on their natural resources for survival.
Some of these countries are hugely dependent on natural gas and fossil fuels for their growth and will find it difficult to support sustainable lifestyle which require huge capital investments.
They rarely will accept losses for their economy if they are not seeing any instant gratification. This is the case with most developing countries.
Government policies and eco-friendly lifestyle:
Capitalist economies are still dependent on government policies before they can successfully operate their businesses.
Some policies set up by the government do not support sustainable lifestyle. These companies willing to set up sustainable businesses are either scared away with taxes and unfavorable operating environment.
They have no option than to abandon such economy for other viable ones.
Corrupt government practices:
Government that is corrupt hardly prospers. Same happens with searching for a sustainable lifestyle in a highly corrupt economy.
4. Geo-spatial challenges:
Ones location can influence their choices of products that promotes sustainable living. Some more sustainable raw materials can be found in regions very far from where eco-conscious person are located.
Transporting such raw materials to long distances will open route to another non-sustainable activity – burning of fossil fuel.
To curb this challenge, more sustainable means of transportation should be used to deliver these raw materials. There should be huge support that promotes the use of electric vehicles for transportation.
Availability of products:
Countries that are rich in biodegradable resources tend to do better than those not so endowed in terms of living-an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Proximity to eco-friendly raw materials:
Every sustainable raw material has locations they are more abundant in. The access to these raw materials for use in making finished product can pose another eco-friendly challenge.
To curb this challenge, most sustainable families and homes live a minimalist lifestyle and dependent on only products that they are able to source locally.
The challenges of an eco-friendly lifestyle cannot be totally emphasized in this short post. It is important to take care of the basic principles of life, be open to change, be patient and persevere through the huddles faced in the process.
Have the willingness to make new choices and give a positive attitude towards the environment. One should be conscious about the environment and use the natural resources carefully. Be ready to recycle and conserve water and fuel and look at reducing the carbon footprint.
Living sustainably is something that definitely has its challenges but in the business world, the challenges can be defeating, if you let it.
Businesses need to look at investing in the environment as a way of investing in the future.
Investor will need to have patience because there may not be immediate results but they need to persevere through the challenges because the long-term benefits will greatly pay off.