Where is Going Green on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs?

Needs Pyramid & Going Green

source: themissiah

There are some great posts in the archives that don’t get much attention anymore, so I’m reposting my favorites here and there. As we approach our babymoon and the days of having a newborn in the house one more time, I’m sure I’ll be scaling back to survival mode and just focusing on our basic needs once again!

There’s a theory in psychology known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which says that a person’s physiological and safety needs must be met before they can focus on love & belonging, esteem and eventually self-actualization, which includes morality, creativity, spontaneity, etc.

I’ve often thought about this theory in regards to making changes such as going green (not the fun, trendy stuff, but the harder things that involve research and hard work, such as learning about natural, herbal remedies or reducing the amount of trash we produce) and improving our diets (things such as understanding supplements, cooking from scratch, replacing familiar ingredients with unfamiliar ones).

Until recently, I knew about the dangers of certain ingredients in processed foods and the benefits of cooking from scratch (both from a health perspective and for the wallet), but I was focused on work – out of necessity – and I simply didn’t have the energy or motivation to investigate, learn more and make drastic changes.

I probably could have found a spare hour in the day to devote to learning more and making changes, but – as demonstrated by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – because my focus was on the basics, I wasn’t ready to move on to the next level.

I think this is true even for families who do eat whole foods diets or live sustainably – when a busy time or crisis affects their family, they sometimes have to take their focus off the things they know are best for the long term and scale back to focus their energy and resources on the immediate needs.

And you know what I’ve realized? It’s okay.

It’s okay if you don’t have the motivation to overhaul your entire diet right now, even if you’re convinced you should do it.

It’s okay if you have to make some compromises for the sake of your sanity and relationships.

It’s okay to read and learn and discover more ways to live sustainably, even if you’re not ready to invest a lot of time into making the changes.

And if you’re eating a whole foods diet and living sustainably yourself, it’s important not to judge people who aren’t doing those things. It may be that they’re simply not important to them, but it may also be that they’re overwhelmed by the basics of life and not ready to move to the next level. Instead of judging, answer questions when they ask, share the things you’re doing in your own family and be supportive of them wherever they are on their journey!

Have you seen this principle at work in your own life?

Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.