It isn’t easy to give up something you love and have every day. Take coffee for example. I love coffee, especially iced hazelnut coffee with caramel drizzle, you know, the kind they make at your local Starbucks. “Extra cream and sugar please,” I say to the barista, that’s what they like to be addressed as. MMMM…it tastes just as good as it did yesterday, and they day before, and every weekday before that. I would hop back in my car and gulp it down before I reached the next red light. Just what I needed to get through a full day of school.
Then I came to college. But where’s the Starbucks? Can I even get coffee before 7:00 anymore? Apparently not. I had to change my behavior.
It wasn’t easy at first; I was groggy in the morning and yearned for the hazelnut flavor taste in my mouth. I would go to Starbucks sometimes because it was what I was used to for so long. But once I got used to the new behavior, it began to seem like a normal behavior and I forgot all about the old baristas and caramel drizzle. The same thing happened during the sustainable behavior challenge.
At first it was hard to adjust, and even unavoidable in some circumstances as I wrote about in my last post, but progress was definitely being made. The hardest thing about changing the behavior was not the alternative options to using paper, but actually remembering to cut down! Personally I am pretty technologically advanced and am capable of setting reminders and keeping a calendar in my smart phone. It doesn’t take much effort at all, just a couple of screen touches and my alarm goes off when it’s time to leave for practice. It was just difficult to remember to use my phone instead of pulling out those old pink heart-shaped sticky notes I was so accustomed to. More and more over the past couple weeks I started to remember to set the alerts in my phone instead of looking for notes on my desk. The best, most positive outcome of this behavior challenge is that I actually like the new sustainable behavior more than my old freakishly weird habit. I have become more organized with my schedule and find it beneficial to be rid of all the pink papers that cluttered my room and work space!
The sustainable behavior challenge varies from my Starbucks behavior change in the sense that one was inevitable and unavoidable due to the absence of that coffee store. I had to find alternatives to get my daily coffee, and once I did, I was satisfied in the same manner as before. The difference with cutting down on paper was that most of it was optional. I could definitely escape the “green” alternatives, which made following through with the new behavior much more difficult. However, this behavior change has been much more rewarding and has helped me live a better life.
The following link discusses ways to reduce paper use and the environmental outcomes of participating in that behavior. There is a “Calculate environmental benefits of paper use reduction” quiz on that page as well!