An eco-positive lifestyle, it’s the lifestyle I thrive. It’s in line with my values and it makes me happy. I’ve written about it a lot, since it’s the subject of my blog. I’ve written about it mostly in the form of weekly diaries. There, I try to show what an eco-positive lifestyle looks like on a daily basis. And in the other blogposts, I try to give tools and information so that an eco-positive lifestyle becomes tangible. But never have I dedicated a blogpost on what an eco-positive lifestyle actually is. That’s what I’d like to describe today.
Eco-positive of sustainable?
I like to use the term eco-positive lifestyle over sustainable lifestyle because to me personally eco-positive is more clear. Sustainable and sustainability can be such vague terms. What is sustainable? I’ve come to learn this:
‘Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’ – Brundtland
This is just the term I’ve heard a lot, especially in school. Yet, I find it very vague. I mean, what are needs? And how do we measure this? It’s hard. Therefore I like to work with the term eco-positive. The main thing is that it is much more measurable for me, which is perfect. Me, personally, I like to know where I stand. Do I live in line with my values yet? Am I harming the planet? Well, not if you live eco-positive!
What is an eco-positive lifestyle?
An eco-positive lifestyle for me is to live within the earth’s capacity (part 1) and if that’s the case contribute to our society/the earth in a positive way (part 2). This is what it means to me personally, but I think the term eco-positive is also described in a similar way in this amazing book by Babette Porcelijn.
1. Live within the earth’s capacity
Living within the earth’s capacity means that if all human beings lived like you, we were to need 1 earth (which is the only thing we have, obviously). This is something you can actually calculate and if your test result is 1 earth, you live within the earth’s capacity. The average Dutch person has a score of 3.6 earths! This means that if every human being lived like the average Dutch person, we’d need 3.6 earths to maintain our practices. We obviously have only 1 earth and since most western people score way above 1, this is the reason why the earth is degrading so fast. As someone who thrives to live eco-positive, I try to have a score of 1 or lower even. For me, this means that my life is in line with my values. This means that I did not harm the earth by living on it my entire life. Living within the earth’s capacity, for me it’s the least I can do. It’s the basis, because if you surpass this score of 1, this means that when you die the only thing you left behind on this earth is negative impact. I personally do not want that. What’s also important to mention: besides that you served your own part here, you also are an example. You are the living example for others. As I said, you can measure whether you live within the earth’s capacity. I use this tool from a fellow blogger (and researcher) Zaailingen. It’s the most accurate one I can find at this moment. It is in Dutch unfortunately.
This bring me to the big question: am I living within the earths capacity? Unfortunately, no. I had a score of 2.5 earth’s in 2017/2018 and recently my 2018/2019 score is 1.7. This means I am not quite there yet, which is a huge disappointment to me. Yet, in September 2020 I will measure again and I really hope I’ll be at 1. You can read all about these scores here (2017/2018) and here (2018/2019). Since this is the basis I am currently mostly focussing on this first part of an eco-positive lifestyle.
2. Contribute to planet earth/society
If you have a basis of living within the earth’s capacity I’d say you live eco-neutral. When you leave this beautiful planet again, your personal score would be a total 0. Which is good, at least it is not negative (like it is with a lot of people). Yet, to be eco-positive your impact on this planet should not be neutral, it should be positive. Anything you contribute to society or the earth from this basis is the part which makes your lifestyle eco-positive. Here’s a list of examples:
- Contributing to a better world with your job. This can be any job, as long as you serve a social/environmental purpose. Maybe you work as a nurse, fireman or you have a paid job at an animal shelter. The list is extensive. I’ve mentioned Sofie Senden a few times here, she has an animal sanctuary. It’s an amazing example if you ask me.
- Volunteering. If your job is not per se positive, you can do volunteering. Helping out the homeless, helping people with debts, volunteering at Greenpeace, volunteering at the Food Bank, volunteering at an Animal Shelter, you name it! Any volunteering is positive.
- Cleaning the environment. There are a lot of trash-pickers out there. People who go out on the streets to pick up trash and clean the environment. It’s definitely positive! I do not necessarily see this as volunteering since it is not organizzed, but you might see it as such.
- Green influencing. There’s a lot of people who try to get the eco-positive message out there by social mediums. You might be a green Youtuber, blogger or Instagram-influencer. Any social medium where you reach people which an eco-positive message. You might inspire others and that’s a positive thing.
- Activism. To not fly or be vegan is one thing. A very good thing! But that’s within part 1 (see above) of an eco-positive lifestyle. But influencing others by activism is the next positive step. Doing out-reach with Anonymous for the Voiceless, a climate march or an organized march at your local airport are some examples. Anything to make the public aware and really make a statement.
These are just a few examples! Of course there are many more options, but these are the things I personally try to do and really find value in. If you have any more good ideas on the eco-positive side: let me know! I am really curious for more ways to contribute!
Do you live an eco-positive lifestyle? If yes, what do you like most about it? And if no, what’s your biggest struggle?