Ecological Lifestyle Assessment

This assessment is a first step in developing a fully ecological lifestyle. It is a way to determine how you are already promoting and hindering peace. Please fill this out as completely as possible: It is for your private use, and it will help you later as you develop goals for living a more world-sustaining lifestyle. This assessment grew out of trying to answer the question, “How much would everyone personally need to do to create a peaceful world with its life-support systems in balance?” Most of the items in Part One are considered to be necessary, but you may disagree with some items, or feel other items should be added. PDF version.

 

PART ONE: For each item circle “5” if it is something you always do, or almost always do, “4” if it is something you often do, and “3” if it is something you sometimes do, “2” if it is something you rarely do, or “1” if it is something you never do.

 

Also, if there is something you would like to learn more about, or feel you need to think about more, put a “?” in the margin next to that item. For example, in the second statement below, if you feel you need to learn more about aerobic exercise, how much is needed, or how it is properly done, then you would put a question mark in the margin next to that statement.

 

body

 

1 2 3 4 5 I get enough sleep each night.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do aerobic exercise at least three times a week for at least twenty minutes each time. (Aerobic exercises are those that increase the heart rate, such as jogging, swimming, fast walking, etc.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I make sure I get the nutrients I need in my diet. (Protein, carbohydrates, fats, roughage, vitamins, minerals, water, etc.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I maintain a healthy weight and avoid excess calories, salt and fatty foods.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I get a medical exam on a regular basis and don’t put off serious medical problems.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I know and follow proper oral hygiene: brushing teeth and tongue, flossing, getting checkups.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I avoid smoking, excess alcohol and drugs.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I live and work in a low-pollution environment.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I periodically check my home, car and workplace for safety problems and preparedness (against fire, electrical, chemical and mechanical hazards, crime, inclement weather, earthquake, etc.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I know first aid for medical emergencies.

 

 

1 2 3 4 5 I avoid excess stress by expressing my feelings, doing satisfying work, not being too competitive or busy.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I know how to deal with excess stress when I have it.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I receive and give enough physical affection (hugs, etc.)

 

environment

 

1 2 3 4 5 I don’t litter.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I avoid buying disposable items.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I recycle aluminum, glass, newspapers, etc.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I give away, sell or share what I do not need so that the Earth’s resources are efficiently used.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I buy organic produce and foods whenever possible.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I conserve energy by not wasting heat, hot water or electricity.

 

1 2 3 4 5 My home is well-insulated and energy-efficient.

 

1 2 3 4 5 If I have a car, it is energy-efficient.

 

1 2 3 4 5 If I have a car, I avoid unnecessary trips with it by walking, riding a bike, using public transportation, car-pooling, or combining errands.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I write advocacy letters on environmental issues on a continuing basis. (These letters are usually sent to Congress or other elected officials.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I recycle refrigerator coolant and maintain air conditioners to avoid putting chemicals into the air that destroy the ozone layer.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I eat a diet low in animal products because these require about 16 times as much land as vegetable products on the basis of equal protein contents.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I compost vegetable scraps and lawn clippings.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I avoid unnatural household, lawn and garden chemicals.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do not put toxic chemicals in the sewer system or other bodies of water.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I conserve water.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I donate enough time or money to environmental replenishment projects such as planting trees so as to offset pollutants put into the air by my auto, the production of the energy I use, and the manufacturing processes of things I buy.

1 2 3 4 5 I consider carefully my decision to have children, taking into account the Earth’s finite resources.

 

psyche

 

1 2 3 4 5 I plan time each week to do things I enjoy.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I have confidence in my ability to solve personal problems.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I have goals that give meaning to my life, goals that I believe I can attain.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I have enough variety and enough consistency in my life.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I have at least one personal relationship where someone will love me no matter what I do or don’t do.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I feel that I have unconditional worth and value.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am participating in a personal relationship or small group program where I can openly talk about any problem or growth issue in my life.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do not overburden myself with too many responsibilities or activities.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I regularly take time to consider the unchanging realities of life (such as existence, growth, personal relationship, and death).

 

1 2 3 4 5 I have a sense of belonging to a family or community.

 

political

 

1 2 3 4 5 I vote in every election that I can.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I regularly gather political information on issues that affect me in plenty of time to act.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I regularly do advocacy (e.g., writing a letter to Congress) on issues that are important to me.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I actively support political interest groups that share my viewpoint and that promote the long range good of all.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I study candidates for both their decision-making ability and their past voting records.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I actively support candidates that promote the long-range good of all.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am aware of the effect of business, the media, special interest groups, and the government itself on the political process. I urge these groups not to over-represent themselves politically.

personal relationships (Please consider all of your significant personal relationships for this section. It may be helpful to list these first.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I spend enough time on the important personal relationships of my life.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I make an effort to really listen to others, being alert to their experiences and feelings.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I share the work and rewards of the relationship fairly with the other, not taking too much or too little.

 

1 2 3 4 5 Decisions involving myself and the other person are arrived at in a fair and peaceful way, so that control of the relationship is mutual.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am able to share my feelings openly with the other person.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am able to talk about expectations and problems in the relationship with the other person.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am able to ask for what I need from the other. (I can assert myself without being demanding.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I regularly put extra into the relationship.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am able to resolve conflicts nonviolently.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am able to accept change and growth in the other person and in the relationship.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I frequently affirm the other person verbally and demonstrate my affection for the other.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I keep my promises.

 

economy

 

1 2 3 4 5 I live within my means.

 

1 2 3 4 5 My job is necessary to the production of a good or service that enhances the quality of life.

 

1 2 3 4 5 My savings and investments are in socially responsible funds. (Thus, my money is not being loaned to groups that will use it to harm others.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I contribute money to charities that promote self-sufficiency among the disadvantaged.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I buy goods produced by disadvantaged groups and by Third World cottage industries.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I write letters and do other advocacy on economic issues such as poverty, debt crises, and excess defense spending.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I boycott businesses that actively create social, economic, political or environmental injustices.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I return to the Third World poor the extra value I receive from the goods produced by multinational corporations that underpay the poor (for instance, by a self tax sent to organizations that promote self-reliance in the third world.)

 

nonpersonal relationships (Nonpersonal relationships include any relationships to small groups or individuals besides close personal relationships.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I treat service personnel and other strangers cordially.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do not talk negatively about others (gossip).

 

1 2 3 4 5 I am a courteous driver, deferring to others.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I carry out my responsibilities to groups of which I am a member. I keep my promises.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I put a little extra energy into each group of which I am a member.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I confront unethical or dehumanizing behavior in the groups I belong to.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do not try to make others uncomfortable with my tone of voice, body language or eye contact.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I occasionally make the effort to smile at, or say something friendly to someone I don’t know and may never see again.

 

1 2 3 4 5 If I meet someone who is very different from me, I try to avoid any prejudiced behavior, and instead try to be considerate to them.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I treat animals and plants humanely.

 

society

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do about five hours a week of volunteer work.

 

1 2 3 4 5 The volunteer work I do is satisfying and not perpetually stressful. It involves personal contact rather than impersonal bureaucracy.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do not engage in “victimless” crime (such as cheating at taxes, padding insurance claims, photocopying or recording copyrighted materials).

 

1 2 3 4 5 I make sure the groups I belong to (work, social, and charitable) put more into the environment than they get out. (Recycle, conserve energy, etc.)

 

1 2 3 4 5 I ask my groups to put more into the economy than they get out (no unfair business practices, but some charitable or progressive investments).

 

1 2 3 4 5 I ask my groups to represent themselves politically whenever appropriate so as to promote the long-term good of all.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I make sure my groups do not create advertising, policies or products that harm people’s emotional or physical health, or their personal relationships.

 

If you have children in your care, please continue, otherwise please go to PART TWO below.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I affirm my children through positive comments several times a day.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I affirm my children by spending time with them individually.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I demonstrate my love for them often through physical affection.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I encourage cooperation by structuring activities that need at least two to be accomplished.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I do not punish my children physically.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I stay out of sibling conflicts as much as possible. But when someone is being hurt physically or emotionally I intervene and ask for suggestions for resolution that require the children’s input.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I provide natural or logical consequences for unacceptable behavior.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I give my children the opportunity to make decisions of gradually increasing responsibility as he or she matures.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I discourage play and TV or movies that encourage fighting or weapons.

 

1 2 3 4 5 I teach my children to use a systems approach, to “leave the trail better than you found it.”

 

 

PART TWO: Go back to the beginning and in each section put an asterisk (*) next to the one item that you believe would be most helpful to the system. For example, in the “body” section, if you decide that the most important thing for you to do is to get a medical exam, then you would put a “*” in the margin next to this statement. You should end up with eight or nine items. (Also, remember to put a “?” next to a statement that you don’t understand or need to learn more about.)

 

PART THREE: On the following page begins a process for reviewing your last peace pact (or the most recent four months). By reviewing your efforts, you have a chance to measure any progress and personal growth that has occurred. Once you do this, you can go on to make another peace pact, stretching a little more in areas in which you succeeded, and reworking your goals and plans in areas where you did not.

 

A. Goals

 

1) Begin by listing the goals that you consciously worked toward (the ones for which you developed plans). Use extra paper if necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) For each goal that you have listed above, rate the overall accomplishment, using fractions or percent. For example, if your goal was to exercise four times a week and you only exercised twice a week, you would write “50%” or “1/2” next to that goal.

 

 

 

 

B. General Growth

 

Beyond the concrete changes you have planned, there were perhaps some additional unplanned areas of growth or change in your life. Some of these may have been the result of attempts to reach your planned goals, and others may have been a natural unfolding of your potential. Using whatever records you have, reflect on the following questions:

 

What did you learn about yourself (Your limits, strengths, attitudes, etc.) in the past four months?

 

 

 

 

What did you learn about others, or about the different systems that you participate in?

 

 

 

 

Was there any emotional growth?

 

 

 

 

Did you increase your repertoire of skills or resources?

 

 

 

 

Do you feel better able to: (if so, why?)

 

Solve problems?

 

 

 

Reach your goals?

Learn?

Appreciate life?

Appreciate yourself?

 

C. The unexpected

 

Sometimes unexpected events occur that either interfere with our goals or help us toward our goals. Use whatever records you have to help you answer the following:

 

What unforeseen problems hindered you in the past four months?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What unforeseen assistance materialized to aid you in your progress?

 

 

 

 

 

Did you find any activities in the course of the four months that, if pursued, provided a more fruitful approach to your goals? If so, what were they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you change or drop any goals during the four months? If so, was it a positive change, such as abandoning a superficial goal in favor of a more fulfilling one, or was it a negative change, such as “giving up”? (If so, what did you learn about yourself?)

 

 

 

 

 

D. Another perspective

Once you have evaluated yourself, it is helpful to get someone else’s feedback on your behavior. This is especially important for personal relationships, group interactions, and any area where we tend to be either too harsh or lenient with our self-appraisal. Ask the people who live with you or spend time with you about how your lifestyle affects them. Be specific with your questions, carefully distinguishing between behaviors, events and feelings. Note some questions and the feedback you received here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E. Present feelings

Once you have completed this assessment, it is worth noting your feelings, whether positive or negative. It’s also worth noting what you consider to be the attitudes behind the feelings. For instance, you may feel overwhelmed because you realize there is a lot you can personally do, or guilty because you may think you’re not doing your share, or you may feel excited because you already have ideas about what you can do. How do you feel now, and why do you think you feel that way?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F. Celebration

Finally, take some time to celebrate your accomplishments, your personal growth and your new goals! Every single act you have made, including completing this assessment, represents a small but real change that brings both you and the world closer to a thorough and lasting peace.

 

 

 

Name________________________________________ Date _____________

 

 

© 2003, Group Genie. This assessment is part of a larger goal-attainment and lifestyle change program and is best used with the rest of the program and the ongoing personal support of others. Visit groupgenie.org to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 


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