“I only do it on special occasions.” This idea has always perplexed me. Again, our minds have been manipulated to associate these types of things with such extreme pleasure that it overrides all other logic and consequence, and it seems like the only option.
Watch out for cognitive bias!
The one in play in all of the situations I’m about to describe is the one that makes a human fight in the opposite direction, no matter how illogical, when they feel that one of their freedoms is being threatened. This bias is simply termed “reactance”. The other biases I mentioned in this post are all at play as well.
Corporations make tons of money off of our material and celebratory addictions, lest ye forget. And often they are in bed with the government, encouraging further mind manipulation “to stir the economy.” Aka “to fill their own pockets”. So they use your biases to subconsciously trick you into continuing.
Have you any idea how much money the plastics industry throws into lobbying against banning single-use plastics? They have an entire department dedicated to this specific type of lobbying. They’re scared they are going to lose money and control. Of course they’re manipulating us.
If you want to make a difference in somebody’s actions, you need to be careful not to smack them down emotionally, and to instead use their biases to your advantage.
It all comes back to what feelings they are perceiving, and what freedoms they think are being threatened. Be sure to do this on yourself as well! There is a bias we all have that makes us think that we are less biased than other people. It’s called the “bias blind spot”. Keep your own brain and check, too!
Here are some examples of reasons I’ve heard to continue old ways for the sake of Celebration.
I’m going to be frank here. Brace yourself. 😉
“I use disposables cuz it’s convenient- I don’t want to do all those dishes after the party.” (and your time and money is more valuable than the Earth and it’s creatures, apparently?) … or… “But Styrofoam keeps my stuff warm!”
…Cuz 30 minutes of warmth is worth 500 to 1,000 years of decomposition and Earth and ozone poisoning, right? Not to mention poisoning yourself with the nasty chemicals that leach from styrofoam when hot food is put in it.
“But the ribbons and shiny paper make it look pretty- I can’t stop putting ribbons on my presents.” … How pretty is that strangled bird with broken legs and wings, the one that got caught in your ribbons down the road?
“But my kids love balloons and straws, and I wouldn’t want to deprive them of that joy.” (Really? That’s all u got? What else do your kids love that you DON’T let them have?) Teach them what balloons, straws, and ribbons do to animals, and I bet you they won’t like them so much after that… and balloon releases? Don’t even get me started..
Allow a moment for reality to kick in.
Balloons are an absolute devastation to nature by the way, and small creatures tend to get wrapped up in ribbons that floated off the trash truck… and die. Slowly, painfully and very scared.
Disposable Plastics are taking over the ocean, poisoning the water supply, and endangering many entire species of birds and sea creatures. Such as the majestic sea turtles. This plastic waste includes literally tons and tons of disposable silverware and straws.
For a reference starting point, America alone uses about a million tons more garbage PER WEEK from Thanksgiving to Christmas than is the average for the rest of the year. Bring that up to New Year’s, and the total is about 25 million more tons than normal. That’s 25 million MORE tons. Added on top of our usual atrocious waste output.
Sounds like cause for celebration to me… *GAG*
Beware the Law of the Instrument-
It’s what makes humans continue to use the same tools even though they are outdated, and new better ones have become available.
Time to strengthen those brain cells and get creative. In every category. And begin including the Earth and it’s creatures in our celebrations. The reward is so incredibly great when you feel the deep feelings of knowing that you’re acting by your morals.
Ok, allow me to introduce one more biasey bias to empower you: “loss aversion”- the tendency to believe that the inconvenience of giving up an object is worse than the convenience of gaining it was great. It’s just a mind trick, like all the rest. A shortcut to keep things simple for your brain.
But when you adjust your viewpoint and where you are acting from, everything changes. All of that convenience seems like piss water all of a sudden. You would never want to trade back that guilt for the warm feeling in your heart that washes over your whole body when you think about doing right for your fellow Earth dwellers. It literally feels like being high or something…
With every dish or piece of silverware that you wash, with every balloon and ribbon you deny, or replace with something truly reusable for the long term, redirect your thoughts to love and caring for the Earth and saving lives. You put less negativity energetically out into the world when you refuse these destructive processes.
But do not default to Dollar Store toys, cuz those ruin the environment, kill animals, and support forced labor in the first degree also.
The reward and amazing, warm and tingly feelings of choosing to care and do better- even in moments of celebration- outweigh the “good” convenience immeasurably, (does it really feel good anyways? Or does it feel like a cop-out deep inside)?
These are the angles you want to take when trying to sway somebody into more sustainable habits in general.
It takes a brief stint of paying attention to your thoughts, associations, and actions to create the new habit. And once you’re in the habit, you don’t even think twice about doing it the right way. The feelings you get from doing it right will be highly effective in reprogramming your mind about it without too much effort.
If building habits seems overwhelming, I’ve got you covered! I’m about to release a 21 day online program that I like to call “Heal Your Habits and Upgrade Your Life in 21 days”. Because you can use your own motivators and neuroscience to your advantage- in any area of your life! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up for the free green your life email coaching to be informed when the course is released. You will find a sign-up form for that on the left of this post or at the bottom, depending on your device.
I’ll leave you with a little inspired action…
If every American Family wrapped only THREE holiday gifts in reusable material, we would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields each year. If we dedicated ourselves to using only two feet of ribbon per family, we would save enough ribbon to tie a bow around the world… Every year. How’s that for including the Earth in your celebration?