It’s pretty well understood that dwelling on negative ideas can lead to feelings of hopelessness and apathy. Climate change communicators struggle with engaging people – the balance between presenting the problem (and, let’s be real – it’s a global, gut-clenchingly scary one) and helping the rest of us feel like there is actually something we can do about it is challenging, at best.
Living simply has consistently been shown to have a lower impact on the world than the more modern, materialistic, keeping up with the Joneses approach. People are taking time to learn old fashioned skills; living more frugally and using less resources in the process. The motivations for these actions are varied – some make a conscious change, others can’t afford to live large.
A huge benefit of living in this way is community engagement. By living with a more local focus, reducing our footprint and learning more about our immediate surroundings we give ourselves the chance to connect with people who have similar interests and values. In this way we curate our world to have a positive focus, surrounding ourselves with hope; a combination of agency and the pathways we can use to make a change happen.
The added bonus of having positive influences in our lives is that our brain is primed to be open to more ideas and pathways when we have positive experiences, so surrounding yourself with a sustainable ‘tribe’ who have hope for the future can affect both your impact on the environment as well as your ability to have positive emotions.
So, ride a bike to your next event (enjoy the dopamine and serotonin hit from the physical exercise), get your hands dirty gardening, chat to some like minded people and take positive action. Enjoy discovering the positive environmental change you can make in the world!