Consumption: Expecting Less and Being Bold
I’m not saying I don’t clean myself, walking around dirty and smelly in the name of sustainability, but showering everyday is excessive. It’s also one of the Seven Daily Sins outlined by the UK Daily Mail. Daily hot water mixed with heavy washing rids natural oils and terribly dries out skin. What’s more, it’s dangerous to use chemical laden products on our skin, the largest organ of the body.
While the benefits of skipping a shower here and there are apparent, reducing consumption habits in all aspects of life reach beyond personal health, benefiting wealth, purpose, reduced fossil fuel reliance, decreased CO2 levels and a giant step toward resilient living in sustainable fashion.
Expected Action versus Latent Benefit
Not scrubbing our bodies with copious suds everyday does not jeopardize hygiene, but there is an expectation to do so created by society. If we don’t, we may get funny looks, and nobody wants to get a funny look for skipping a shower.
A funny look, however, is an immediate response linked to expected action, where despite exceeding prominence, latent benefits of showering less are overseen because they are not immediate. Similarly, our behavioral patters as a whole are influenced more by what actions are expected rather than what provides the greatest benefit in the mid to long-term.
Following the shower analogy, being bold and courageous is demonstrated by doing what’s best for your body and the environment by not showering everyday and saving water and energy. In a wider perspective, being bold and courageous consists of similarly taking bold and courageous steps guided by your individual values and knowledge toward enhancing the overall health, wealth and happiness of your own life that simultaneously benefit all people and the planet through subtle, slow to come results.
As with complex, wicked problems like climate change and consumption, things are not black and white. The grey area includes small steps. With showering, for instance, shorter and cooler showers, less soap, natural and organic shower products and awareness are a few ways to take small, significant steps.
Major issues facing the world today wholly benefit from citizen action no matter how big or how small. Maneuvering through the area of grey makes substantial ripples. Doing what you can and being aware of what you can implement in your life makes a profound splash in the sea of change as collective expectations towards lower levels of consumption on all fronts come to the fore.
A Culture That Collectively Consumes Less
What you can do is take action to change what actions are expected by society. Don’t be afraid to break expectation. Often being different stands out, and standing out is contagious. This is how trends take root.
Whatever you do, it’s likely that others feel the same way and will commend you for your action. In turn, you’ll inspire and welcome others to also act against traditional expectation and create a culture of new found actions supporting less consumption.
Consumption itself cannot be approached as a problem to be solved. It’s too complex and too socially integrated. If you, we, want to decrease consumption, to save money, preserve resources and discover more meaningful behavioral habits in life, we need to alter our expectations and endure with patience to give sustainable collective change a chance.
Since many find showering produces particularly inspirational thought, next time you are in the think-tub, give a thought to what actions are associated with high levels of consumption that you could adjust in your life.
I’m interested to find out what traditional expectations we can potentially rebel against to initiate progressive action. It’s difficult to objectively perceive what actions are expected by society and how they affect your life in the greater context, but give it a shot and share any revelations.
Whether it’s being crafty to create something yourself, buy second hand, have your own garden, use renewable energy, shop local, eat less processed, packaged, transported and factory farmed food, how to proactively vote with your dollars, how to better use technology or prospective innovative inventions and initiatives, the ideas and potential are boundless! All will benefit from the insight and there are no wrong answers. So, what are you expected to consume?