The Year of the Wasted

Bernice Esguerra, March 2018
Photo taken at Danjugan Island, Negros Occidental by yours truly

2018 was a year of wants and haves. I wanted to buy all these items of better quality, and had to have so and so reusables. Refusing and saying no was extra difficult this year despite the voice at the back of my head telling me not to be a woman of waste and want. I tried justifying purchases with "this will last me longer than the one I already have", or online shopping with "I'll use up more resources going to the mall to buy it". It's a struggle I tell ya.

Not everything was entirely bad. I had a few small wins. I can count on one hand the number of bottles of water I used out of absolute necessity. I've replaced decrepit items with stuff that would last longer than the cheaper, flimsy options. I'm slowly starting to shift my meal prep containers from plastic to glass, and toothbrushes to bamboo. Most importantly, I somehow managed to influence a certain someone to get people at her office to buy their lunch meals in reusable containers instead of plastic bags (I don't want to name names, but her name starts and ends with a M with a vowel in the middle!). Small steps, as is the premise of this blog. We're moving very slowly, but its certainty is uncertain. These quick wins are good, but they aren't enough.

That's why when I crafted my personal roadmap earlier this year, I decided to be more proactive about conserving the environment and contributing to green efforts. Going zero waste is about knowing the essentials and making an effort to choose them. I can't always say no, but what I can do is to make sure that the things I say yes to don't bother the Earth too much.

Personal governance has been close to my heart for the last few years. My boss has been talking about personal governance for years, and this year, he got us to craft scorecards for ourselves. I made one in 2016, but I never really religiously followed it since I never really knew what I wanted to do. Now that I have a clearer vision of who I want to be and how I can protect Mother Nature to the best of my abilities, I have more motivation and willpower to see this plan through. I'm sharing my journey with you for better accountability, and hopefully somehow we can learn from each other.

For those hearing about the term personal governance for the first time, it's a fancy way of saying how you want to live your life. It's pretty much translating corporate strategic planning principles into personal application. You first identify the core values that make  you uniquely you. The following step is to articulate your mission in life, or the direction you want your life to take. Next, you come up with a short- or mid-term vision for yourself, or who you want to be in 5 to 10 years, while fulfilling your mission. You would then need to create objectives and metrics that would support your vision and mission statements. To promote a balanced life, according to my boss, the objectives must address seven different facets -- physical, financial, professional, spiritual, cultural, socials, and environmental.

I took the holidays as an opportunity to revist my roadmap and flesh out my strategy before diving into another year of grinding. I haven't been good this year, and I need to strive to be better. If only the Earth subscribed to the "new year, new me" mantra, that would be great, especially since "new me" usually means a "better me". The Earth can't, but I can. I'm thankful for the holiday break for the time to mull over how and what I want to change.

The starting point of my five-year journey is my charter statement (vision, mission, core values). This is the story of my roadmap:

Anchored on my core values of courage, humility, and sustainability, it is my mission to live a sustainable lifestyle and to contribute to nation building. My vision is to consistently practice the 5 R's of ZW in all (major) aspects of life. To do that, I commit to adding a certain shade of green to the different aspects of my lifestyle and do the following:
  • Be a good Steward of the Earth (spiritual)
  • Practice zero waste principles (environmental)
  • Engage with sustainable communities (cultural)
  • Encourage others to take steps towards sustainability (social)
  • Nourish my body in an earth-friendly way (physical)
  • Expand knowledge on sustainability and the environment (professional)
  • Spend consciously to ensure financial security (financial)

Each of these objectives has a corresponding metric that will track my progress on each perspective. For example, my metric for the physical perspective is the number of meatless days I have in a week. It progresses from 1 day a week in 2019 to 2 in 2020, and so on until 2023. I enjoy eating vegetables, but I'm heavier on the carnivorous side. Consciously cutting down my meat intake by at least 15% will hopefully help me transition to a more plant-based diet. I don't really intend on going full-on vegetarian, especially since sushi is my favorite food, but who knows!

I am a believer of zero waste lifestyles, but it has to go hand-in-hand with something proactive, something positive. ZW has to be the foundation of running things, but we need to find the yin to its yang. We need to balance the negativity of waste with creating something good. We can positively contribute to society and to environment conservation. We just have to identify how we want to take action and follow through.

I've outlined my steps to living a life closer to zero waste. In the future, I want the lifestyle to come more naturally. For that to happen, I need to make several conscious changes. Aside from refusing, reducing, and reusing, I also need to inject more positivity into the Earth and face the environmental issues with a more head on approach. I'll be sharing with you my personal governance journey little by little, and hopefully some of you can journey along with me.

See you next year!


PS - My personal governance explanation above is a sliver of a large pie. If you want to know more about personal governance and crafting your own goals of this sort, hit me up @foolest on Instagram. Let's get craftin'!


Edited on 13 February 2019, Wednesday

1 comment:

  1. Excited to follow the journey! Good luck with the grind! //fellow earthling

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