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You’ve heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, right? As a theory in the psychology of human motivation, it outlines the five tiers of basic human needs. The premise is that the needs at the top of the pyramid only become sought-after needs once those at the base of the pyramid have been met. It’s relatively simple at face value. The nuance to this theory comes in when you understand that on top of each layer or basic need is a thin crust of security that sediments that need into place in order to free human desire up so that it may freely focus on achieving the desire beyond it. Without the security or assurance that the need below is met – we don’t have the capacity to focus on a loftier need like self-actualisation and creative expression.

Here’s the thing about the physiological needs – food, water, warmth and rest, and security and safety; in the base section of the pyramid – they are not needs we can ever hope to fulfil without planet Earth. This planet provides us with food and water and so in the broader, long-term sense, this is our home, not the roof over our heads. Without Earth, a peaceful non-destructive environment – we have no security of continued life, the continued existence of our species.

While some of you may be building ambitious New Years’ goals in career orientation, personal growth and health and fulfilling relationships – take a second to turn deeply inwards and ask yourself how certain are you in the security and protection of your planetary home, to the assurance that there will be a home here for your children? What value is there in only working towards a 10 or 20-year vision for your career if you’re not also doing everything in your power to ensure that the earth will still be a viable home for decades to come.

2017 saw some of the most severe climatic conditions in the form of raging wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, floods and volcanic eruptions to name a few, all as direct knock-on effects of the accumulation of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. If you take into consideration the global initiatives that require drastic attention; the preservation of natural habitats, restoring damaged ecologies, decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels for example; you can see how urgently we as individuals need to turn our attention and dedication towards any significant impact we can directly affect and influence when it comes to our personal lifestyle solutions.

Why sustainability goals are the SMART choice

The great thing about these New Year’s solutions is that they are resolutions you will want to keep and enjoy implementing. The best goals follow the SMART principle. They are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. When it comes to making an impact with our lifestyle choices, you’ll find these resolutions tick all these boxes:

• They give you very specific areas in which you can take action.
• They’re measurable in that you are physically decreasing your contribution to landfills and the warming of the atmosphere (which might feel like an insignificant change but collectively we caused the 1.1-degree increase in atmospheric pressure so we can definitely contribute to its reduction)
• They’re attainable in that the lifestyle changes suggested are affordable and offer readily available alternate products, food or habit options to you.
• They’re realistic in that every person can easily commit to at least one area in which to make a difference.
• They’re time-based in that there has never been a more critical time to begin implementing these changes for the betterment of the collective.

Green New Year’s Solution Goals for 2018

There are a multitude of areas in which you can turn your attention to greener living New Year’s Solutions. These are the four that are not only in alignment with the SMART goals above but will also begin to have the biggest collective impact.

1. Cultivate ZERO- WASTE habits

If you’ve been living a certain way for the past 10/20/30 years, it’s completely understandable that a total change in lifestyle can feel insurmountable. But it’s not impossible. Here’s why plastic-free living is one of the most impactful places you can start to live a more sustainable life and a simple guide to going zero-waste.

2. Seek out renewable energy

We can’t continue to rely on the earth’s non-replenishable resources, especially when those energy sources add further pollution to the environment. Clean energy is where it’s at. Get wise on the benefits of LED lighting and increase your use of ridesharing wherever possible for example. You can start switching over to green energy options right now.

3. Commit to buying only pesticide-free foods

For every action on this planet, there is a corresponding knock-on effect. It’s high time we take cognizance of the effects of irresponsible farming methods. The toxins and pesticides that are being sprayed on plantations are having devastating effects on our bee colonies and our individual health to name but one dire consequence. If you want to be sure the food you are eating is not being created to the detriment of another ecology or species, commit to only buying ethical and organic foods in 2018. Make use of the ethical and organic status product filters on our site to make sure the foods you’re getting have been vetted and certified as safe.

4. Become aware of animal cruelty

Turning a blind eye for the sake of beauty or flavour-rich food is like sticking your head in the sand and pretending your luxuries don’t come at the cost of a species you’re sharing your planet with. Choose to be informed about makeup and beauty products that are not tested on animals and opt for more plant-based food sources in your diet as kinder alternatives to food products that often incur harmful animal farming practices.

They say life is the strictest teacher, providing the test first and the lesson after. Nature teaches us in much the same way. We have already begun to see the repercussions of our ill-informed actions. If we don’t learn the lesson now and get better at passing these tests, we’re the ones that won’t have a playground anymore to continue learning. Nature is our home – our primary base of the pyramid of needs. Psychologically, we are hardwired to improve and survive and we cannot do it without this Earth. There is no Planet B.

This article first appeared on Faithful to Nature.

This article first appeared on 947 : Make SMART green New Year’s resolution goals for 2018

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