When embarking on your sustainability journey, it’s easy to overanalyze every little thing you’re doing wrong. But in actuality, the beauty of a sustainable lifestyle is that these supposedly “wrong” actions are totally normal. That’s exactly why eco-influencer Isaias Hernandez, the environmental educator behind Queer Brown Vegan, says you should never be too hard on yourself: We’re all human, and no one is perfect.
In a recent Instagram post, Hernandez goes into the importance of being an imperfect environmentalist for the eco-community. He says we need to embrace environmental imperfections—not be ashamed of them—whether that’s buying plastic-wrapped asparagus or not owning a full collection of sustainable bathroom swaps.
Speaking from personal experience, Hernandez recalls his constant fear of failure as he transitioned into veganism. “The first time I went vegan and was accidentally given cheese, I started over my journey because I felt that I failed my community,” he says. Simple mistakes like this are a classic source of worry for newfound sustainability lovers. But when you let that desire for perfection go, you’ll be better for it—and so will the planet.
“Being an imperfect environmentalist makes you a better environmentalist.”— Isaias Hernandez of Queer Brown Vegan
“Being an imperfect environmentalist makes you a better environmentalist. Normalize being imperfect environmentalists for your mind, community, and most importantly, your work,” he says. “Coming to terms with imperfection makes you a better environmentalist than upholding yourself to a higher standard that is not recognizable to you.”
Don’t be afraid to share those mistakes, either. Hernandez says doing so “disrupts the ideals of what it means to be an environmentalist and allows others around you to define what it means to be an environmentalist for themselves.” When your friends, family, and followers know they don’t need to be perfect in order to make a difference in the world around them, they’ll be more likely to give sustainable living a try.
When you’re ready to become an imperfect environmentalist, start by slightly altering your daily routine and using what you already have. Taking small steps to achieve big goals is key to success. And remember to always do what works for you. If all your friends are vegetarians but you grew up eating meat, you don’t have to dive right in. Simply lessen your consumption of meat over time, if you wish. Listen to your mind and your body. This is your journey.
All in all, your journey toward sustainability may be a bit of a bumpy road and fall short of your expectations. But if you embrace your mistakes and your journey, smooth sailing will find you. Even a simple shift in consciousness will automatically enter you into one of the coolest communities out there: the eco-community.