As soon as you turn to ecology, you develop new ways of seeing.
A new vision of the incoherence of our way of life.
We see others act thoughtlessly and it leaves us feeling panic-stricken.
It saddens us when we realise the limits of what we can do in this big, tangled mess of pollution.
Some time ago, I attended a conference organised by Waterlife Community.
The theme of the future of surfing quickly took an ecological turn. It’s difficult not speak about the state of the planet when talking about the future.
How can we, as humans, become more respectful of the world around us?
From my work in emotion coaching, I offer you the following acronym:
Anouk Corolleur , photo Frédérique Seyral
Each letter corresponds to an internal development that allows us to make better choices in our consumption and become more responsible in our everyday lives.
E for Enquire
The art of calling things into question. For example, ‘Where does this thing that I use every day come from?’ ‘What is it doing to the planet?’ ‘What is happening to my body when I slather myself in toxic products every day? And when I wear clothes where the cotton has been sprayed with chemicals?’
These questions are very important as they allow us to learn about a whole range of things and no longer remain in the dark.
Social networks and the internet work in our favour, the information is accessible to anyone in the world with a mobile phone. Thanks to journalists and other amateurs that have conducted investigations, we can learn about a whole range of things about the health and environmental impacts of our consumption.
A for Action
Knowledge alone is not enough; we need to put it into action. This is often more difficult. Putting something into action also means that we stop finding loads of excuses to not do it. For example:
“We all have to die of something”, or “We already do enough, look, we recycle our plastic”.
Putting something into action means that the objective is so important that it becomes a priority. So, we make choices like: “No sorry I’d rather not eat here, because all their food is wrapped in plastic.” “No, this time I’m not going to buy X cream, because it pollutes the planet as well as my body.”
Putting things into practice can also be difficult as we can sometimes become emotionally attached to certain products. For example, product Z that my parents used when I was little.
R for "Ressentir" (Feel)
Last week I was at a flea market with my mum. I was trying on a puffer jacket made by an environmentally friendly brand. This puffer jacket fit me like a glove. I felt elegant. My mum looked at me and said, “Yes but Anouk, do you really need it, or do you just want it?”
I know this question will speak to some of you and helps when trying to decide whether or not to buy something.
I buy things based on emotion. And when my emotions are involved, I can find 10 000 reasons to prove to you why I NEED something.
Because if I’m being honest, in order to survive, I don’t NEED a lot (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).
Same goes for surf trips. Need or want?
It’s difficult to make rational choices when emotions are involved.
And Marketing knows this only too well…
The aim of our lives is to be happy. The cool thing is that all individuals are made up of the same stuff. If you have TOO MUCH, you become unhappy. So, a good question to ask yourself would be… “Does this purchase ADD value to my life, or does it take it away?”
T for "Trouver une raison" (Find a reason)
To act consciously, you need to have a good reason, and I mean a really good reason, to limit your consumption. A reason that impacts you emotionally. For example, I’ve just become an auntie, and this has motivated me to make more of an effort for my little niece. Find a reason that allows you to maintain a guiding principal and consume in a balanced way, sort your rubbish etc.
H for Happy not Guilty
Above all don’t make people feel guilty for their choices. I know that it’s difficult. But in the end, it will only further entrench people in their habits. You need to INSPIRE change by setting an example! And by the same token, don’t make yourself feel guilty! No one is perfect.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a committed organisation to meet other like-minded people that have the same approach as you.
You are not alone!
Translation (from french) Emma Shapiro
Anouk Corolleur , photo Frédérique Seyral