Your Living Environment Shapes You More Than You Realise

Two months into the Live Lagom project and due to circumstances beyond our control my partner and I found ourselves having to move from our flat to lodging in a new house.

As we started to pack it was the perfect time to reflect on just what was important to us, what items would come with us on the next part of our life journey and what would make their way to the charity shop or into the recycling bins.  Proud of ourselves of rationalising our “stuff” we moved with help from family and friends at the end of February.

One month later, it’s time to reflect on the habits we’ve brought into our new environment and how our new living arrangements are shaping our thoughts and behaviour.

One thing I noticed early on is how accessibility to resources and living with others has a subtle yet influential impact on your behaviour and can either reinforce or challenge your ways of doing things; making change easier or harder to implement.

Food CaddyAccessibility To Resources Makes Change Possible

One of the disadvantages of living in a flat is you have communal bins which only allow for a certain amount of recycling and there was no facility to recycle our food waste.  We eat a lot of fruit and vegetables so a large proportion of our household waste is peelings and discards. We discussed options at length when we had the IKEA home visit, but there wasn’t an obvious way forward.

Fast forward two months and on arrival at our new home, not only do we have two bins but also a food caddy which we can fill and the waste is turned into soil conditioner.  Result.

The Magic of Kitchen Table Conversations

There’s something about the preparation and eating of food together which seems to prompt the most natural of conversations around sustainable living.  We’ve discovered that a love of good quality food and looking after ourselves through what we eat is shared between us and our new living partner and this makes for interesting conversation over mealtimes. It also offers a different kind of learning as we gather together in the evening to enjoy food and exchange recipes; having prepared and cooked our food using our IKEA cookware of course.

IKEA cookware in actionCooking With Gas

One of our main objectives is to reduce our energy usage and so it was with great delight that we found that our new cooker has a gas hob. I’ve never cooked with gas before, but already we’re seeing the benefits of reduced energy usage in terms of the cooking time it takes.  For example; porridge which took 20-25 minutes to cook on an electric stove is now ready in about 10 minutes.  Wholesome tasty food available to enjoy quicker AND using less energy. That’s a win-win all round wouldn’t you say?

Mark Watson Crap at the environmentWhat Comes Into Your Environment Can Change Your Perspective

Shortly after our move I went to the local library and I found a book entitled “Crap At The Environment” by Mark Watson.  This is the story of one comedian who takes action on his own carbon footprint and creates a community to join him on being less crap at the environment.  It’s a brilliant read and early on it addresses the point that many people want to play their part in treading more lightly on the Earth but they don’t want to be told if they’re getting it wrong.

As someone who is keen to understand behavioural change, this came as an important insight to me and shows the real value of being part of a community of like-minded people.  What community sharing does better than any other forms of communication is that it provides a safe, supportive and non- judgemental space where steps in new ways of living are positively celebrated.

In a world where the focus is often drawn to what’s wrong, this community led antidote is much needed and shows what’s possible when we come together and support each other in making changes.

So let’s celebrate more of what’s working and focus on doing more of it.



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