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Photo by Tara Rice

I’m so excited to participate in the 2017 Eco Challenge and I want to encourage you all to participate too! The challenge runs from October 11 to October 25, 2017 and there are a bunch of different actions you can take in different categories including food, transportation, nature, energy, and many more. They say it takes about two weeks of consistent action to develop into a habit so this is a perfect time to start making a long lasting positive impact on the world!

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Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Visit Eco Challenge’s website.
  2. Sign up for a team or create your own. I signed up for the Story of Stuff team, which anyone can join. You should also check out their website or social media pages because they’ve got a lot of cool facts and stories about our waste.
  3. Browse through the challenges and choose up to three (or more on your own.)
  4. Tell your friends and family to join in as well!
  5. Share your experience after the challenge. So easy right?!

On the site, it shows the challenge level of each task and whether it’s a one time or daily challenge. You can also mark tasks that you already participate in, to earn more points for your profile (if that matters to you.)

The challenges I chose are all from the simplicity category. Although these challenges don’t necessarily have an immediate and direct effect on the environment, they are very helpful in developing an intentional way of living, which leads to more conscious decisions. When you’re more mindful about your consumption habits, you’re more likely to waste less. These challenges also give you better peace of mind so you can have a mentally sustainable lifestyle.

My three challenges are:

  1. Buy only what I need – I will not buy anything except items required for health and safety. I’m ready for this one, but only if Outdoor Voices doesn’t entice me with a good promotion. I’m also going to make sure I book all my travel plans before this two week challenge ;).
  2. Eat Mindfully – I will eat all of my meals without distractions, e.g., phone, computer, TV, or newspaper. What about podcasts? This is going to be hard for me because 1) I don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day so I try to take advantage of multitasking here and 2) eating dinner and watching TV at the same time is a guilty pleasure. But I think this is important to practice because it’s a great moment to give your brain a break. Hopefully I can use that time to fully enjoy my meal and just let my mind wander creatively.
  3. Limit social media – I will limit my social media use to once a day. The most challenging of all, which is crazy because only in this day and age would limiting social media be harder than only buying basic needs. I actually took a social media detox for a weekend and it was an eye opening experience on how much time I waste checking my phone and refreshing my Facebook feed. I’m hoping this challenge will be a good way to make the habit of limiting my social media usage stick because I’m not cut off from it completely.

Let me know which challenges you’ll be participating in! Good luck and just remember: your actions will make a difference no matter how small they might feel!

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