Progress over perfection is not only important for making a stronger impact, it’s a way to make sustainability more inclusive. Read how to embrace imperfection in sustainability.
“We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” -- Anne Marie Bonneau
You may have heard the phrase “progress over perfection” when it’s applied to ideas like climate change action or sustainability. Whether it’s the fly less movement, zero waste, or vegan diets, sustainability messages sometimes sound more like rules and restrictions than a hopeful way to solve problems.
Instead, we need everyone to join in with their own diverse, unique perspectives. Until our system catches up and everyone has access, affordability, and relevant alternatives for living sustainable lifestyles, it’s ok to take different paths towards shared sustainability goals.
Here are our tips for making the sustainability space more inclusive.
Sometimes products and services with green certifications or verifications cost more than the alternatives. This is especially true for most sustainable fashion brands. The reason is that clothing production which actually pays for the fair labor practices and real cost of materials should cost way more than the price points we’re used to seeing. This is because fast fashion dominates clothing sales and it’s really exploitative.
On the other hand, the most eco-friendly alternatives don’t have to have labels at all. Thrifting or buying from shops like Lifeminded, Goodwill or Salvation Army is also more affordable and eco-friendly than shopping for new clothes. When you shop these stores its always helpful to bring your own reusable bags to lower your plastic usage. We have two reusable totes for sale on our site currently.
Progress over perfection helps us remember that it’s more important to minimize impact holistically and across various aspects of your life. Buying more expensive products with “eco-friendly” labels is definitely not the only or even the best way to make an impact.
You can start to improve from where you’re at and within your means. From there, the connections towards progress will start to build and multiply, especially as you inspire more new people to take action.
It’s fine if you don’t currently know exactly what you can do to help solve the climate crisis. If you start with an open mind and expect to grow and learn along the way, you’ll be a lot more helpful long-term than if you give up because you feel like a failure. At this point, it’s not an option to give up. We need everyone to work together in whatever flawed or messy way they can.
Until the systems are in place to provide the world we want, we need to celebrate the courageous imperfect actions people take to get there. Behind every imperfect action is an ambitious dream or demand about the future, which is ours to protect.
Don’t let impossible ultimatums make you feel guilty or ashamed about your sustainability progress. It’s the big picture that matters and our planet needs us to show up in whatever way we can right now.