The term ‘The Middle Way’ is a concept that originated in Buddhism and is echoed by the Swedish word 'Lagom.' It highlights the importance of avoiding the extremes of either monk-like renunciation, or pleasure-obsessed hedonism. I think this term is useful when talking about making positive changes to reduce your impact on the earth.
I personally went a little extreme at one point to reduce plastic despite financial and time-constraints. My high expectations left me uptight and were actually unrealistic, considering I live within a wider system that makes living entirely environmentally-friendly impossible.
I eventually balanced this approach when realising my efforts weren’t sustainable long term and it was better to build momentum slowly. A friend suggested I take note of what’s important to me and what isn’t, as well as current limitations e.g. time or money. She suggested working my efforts around these things. For example, someone that loves fashion might treat themselves to a few new purchases in a year, but cycle instead of drive to work. Someone else might not be able to avoid a long commute, but have the financial resources to buy more expensive plastic-free products.
The Middle Way isn't about doing nothing at all — it's about doing what you can and allowing yourself to mentally relax around the things you can’t. It’s the gentler approach in a world that loves to make things black or white. The grey area is a friendlier, less dogmatic place to be for not only yourself, but those around you. It’s also the path you’ll be able to stick to for the long haul.