Our Small Barriers Add Up to Make One Big Challenge


Because through the Sustainable Behavior Challenge, I have had to individually assume the task of changing a specific behavior, I did not expect to derive any real strong sense of community in forming our challenge teams. Mostly, I think that this is because of the barrier that our community faces, in that it is pretty much solely online through our blog posts, and therefore our contact is not very direct with one another. However, I felt a stronger sense of commonality with the other members of my team than I had expected to. By reading the posts of the other members of my team, I saw that many of them were having very similar experiences to me, which immediately strengthened the sense that I was taking on this challenge with a community, rather than as an individual. This feeling was only made stronger when commenting on other posts, or reading what other people had to say about my own blog posts. For the first time, we were really sharing our experience with others, not just by posting them on to a website that the entire class could see, but by actually interacting with one another.

I think that our experiences so far have all been pretty similar. I think that we can all agree that cutting down our water use by taking shorter showers, or reducing our loads of laundry per week, or brushing our teeth at the sink instead of the shower are all habits that should be able to be changed with minor effort. I think that all of our posts recognize that, but still, we each found that the smallest, most seemingly insignificant factors in each of our lives served as barriers preventing us from making these changes immediately. I think that all of us understand that it is simply just a little more work, or a tiny bit less comfort that we will get if we are able to change flat out.

Though forming a community did not necessarily change how I viewed my experience so far in the Sustainable Behavior Challenge, it did show me exactly how many small factors can have such an impact on some of our worse habits. Though when thinking about how  I do several loads of laundry a week because I wear the same clothes over and over again, someone else raised my awareness on the impact the weather has on how often we do laundry. Each post brought to my awareness yet another factor that not only affects how my team members act, but how I act as well. Though each factor individually is generally, in all honesty, not exceedingly difficult to overcome, reading about what serves as a barrier to each of my team members has showed me how easily these small barriers pile up, and become one giant obstacle to overcome on the road to more sustainable behavior!

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