How to Find Balance as an Eco-Conscious Urbanite

Our planet is a mess. Fish are disappearing from our oceans. Global warming is on the rise. A million species are on the brink of extinction. Plastic pollution is out of control. Predictions for the future are even more alarming.

In the face of such overwhelming challenges, it can sometimes feel like the only answer is to build an off-the-grid cob house and grow your own food. But while that might sound like an idyllic lifestyle, it’s not a feasible solution for most people.

The majority of us have lives in the city that we either can’t leave behind or simply don’t want to. It’s where we earn a living, raise our families and caffeinate ourselves.

We might not want to live elsewhere, but at the same time we’re also acutely aware that our urbanite carbon footprint dwarfs that of our yurt-dwelling counterparts.

Humans tend to be an all or nothing lot. We either deny the evidence in front of us or we try to do everything in our power to make a difference. As a Care2 reader, you obviously fall into the second category. Me too.

Unfortunately, doing everything isn’t an option. Finding balance as an eco-conscious urbanite is key. It’s about doing your best, rather than striving for perfection. How do you do that?

Choose Your #1 Cause


My wife and I have been eating a vegan diet for almost eight years now. Not harming animals is our number one priority. We might compromise in other areas, but not this one.

What’s most important for you? It could be living a zero-waste lifestyle, eating locally grown, organic food or whatever.

Identify something you can do unfailingly. Knowing you’re doing one thing perfectly (or close to) will help you feel better about the fact that you can’t do everything.

Take a Hard Line When It Matters

With some things, you have to take a hard line no matter what. They’re the kinds of issues that you can’t compromise on.

  • You might eat meat, eggs and dairy, but that doesn’t mean you have to support factory farming.
  • You might enjoy pampering yourself, but that doesn’t mean you have to use products that have been tested on animals.
  • You might like wearing nice clothes, but that doesn’t mean you have to contribute to the fast fashion industry.

There’s always a sustainable alternative. It might not be as readily available, and it could cost more, but it’s better than indulging your desires at the expense of another living being.

Compromise When It Counts

Living plastic-free is an ongoing mission in our house. We’re nowhere near where we’d like to be, but we’re doing our best.

Recently, we discovered that a local plant-based food brand supports Sea Shepherd, a non-profit, marine conservation organization fighting to protect our oceans.

We’ve always loved Fry’s Foods but stopped buying it because of the packaging. When we heard about their efforts to make a difference, we decided a compromise was in order. Rather than just toss the packaging in the trash, we’ll be making eco-bricks with our non-recyclables.

I’ve always believed it’s important to support businesses that are making an effort to be eco-conscious. It’s not always easy, as they have investors to placate and staff to pay. In spite of this, they still try.

A powerful way to protest the things we don’t like (factory farming, manufacturing of single-use plastic, etc.) is with our pockets. We need to support the businesses that are making a difference and ignore the ones that are contributing to the problem.

Find a Balance that Works for You


As eco-conscious urbanites, our approaches will differ from person to person. What holds true for all of us, however, is our belief that we can leave the world a better place.

Focus on the things you can do and don’t worry so much about the rest. That may be easier said than done when you’re constantly being bombarded with bad news, but it’s important to try. Instead of getting down about the way things are, go out there and make a difference in whatever way you can. It’s also helpful to go on a news fast every now and then.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Barbara S
Barbara S3 days ago

Thank you

Leo C
Leo Custer4 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Leo C
Leo Custer5 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

Leo C
Leo Custer7 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Paulo Reeson
Paulo Reeson9 days ago


Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill10 days ago


Hannah A
Hannah A10 days ago

thanks for sharing

Leo Custer
Leo Custer11 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Leo C
Leo Custer13 days ago

Thank you for sharing!