The title of my blog hits home this week. I really want to live in harmony with nature…to waste less, to use nature’s gifts with gratitude and mindful that my actions affect not only my health and sense of well-being but also that of my neighbors on the South Coast and around the world. However, weaning myself off long-held habits continues to be a challenge. I can be very judgmental and preachy at times about myself and others but, even though I lectured myself at times about forgetting to bring my fabric shopping bags into the supermarket and choosing products with too much packaging, I also treated myself and others more gently.
As I’ve talked to folks dropping by the SouthCoast Energy Challenge table at different events around the area, I noticed that they often quickly glance over at our display of energy-efficient light bulbs, power strips, programmable thermostats, etc. — instant energy savers available during free MassSave home energy assessments — then hurry on their way. Aren’t they interested in saving energy and ensuring that their homes are free from toxic pollutants? Are they making excuses?
Then I recall how many times I rushed by the SouthCoast Energy Challenge table before I stopped to sign up for a home energy assessment and before I became an intern. It’s not as if I don’t care — I love the wonderful light and soft coastal breezes of my South Coast home, Buzzards Bay, the farms and woodlands — and I know that there are many environmental threats to our area unless we act together. However, knowledge only gets me so far; making energy conservation an instinctive part of my life is much more challenging. I recall a weight counselor telling me that, if the right information is all that’s needed to change behavior,her work would be so easy. We may really want to change but keep getting sabotaged by our inner wasteful demons. I’ve learned that changing behavior is not easy but, with a combination of self-awareness, discipline and positive reinforcement, we can keep making positive changes to keep ourselves and our world healthy.
I’ve also learned that we need others to maintain healthy habits; we need to be honest with each other about the challenges we are facing and find support from others to keep trying. Joining with neighbors in the SouthCoast Energy Challenge is a great way to work together and support each other as we try to change wasteful habits and truly live in harmony with nature. When I get frustrated about changing wasteful habits, it helps to check out the Challenge website and feel that I am part of something bigger than myself. It gives me the boost to hang in there because saving our beautiful South Coast is worth the hard work.