The Wheaton Eco Scale

It’s sustainability week. Have you heard of the Wheaton Eco Scale?

It’s one person’s way to describe how we see ourselves on our journey to becoming more environmentally friendly and how we see others.

My interpretation of the scale is that we often view people a few steps behind us as ignorant. And people ahead of us as inspirational. More than a few steps behind us are viewed as exasperating and people more than a few steps ahead are plain crazy.

But frowning on people behind or ahead of ourselves is unnecessary because we’re all on the path somewhere, making progress at our own pace.

See the origins of the Wheaton Eco Scale

Here’s my fun interpretation of the scale

Level 0 – No interest in being environmentally friendly at all. But might try second hand shopping for other reasons.

Level 1 – Thinking about the environment, starting to recycle. Just found out that buying new things all the time isn’t so great after-all.

Level 2 – Beginning to normalise habits like pulling dandelions instead of poisoning. Goes second hand shopping regularly to reduce contributing to landfill.

Level 3 – Contemplating zero waste habits. Becoming selective about which second hand shops they buy from. Actively seeks out products made from natural materials instead of synthetic.

Level 4 – Very concerned about environmental problems and passionately studying solutions. Eats dandelions. Supports local initiatives like sustainability festivals and carboot sales.

Level 5 – Grows 90% of their own food. Shares their knowledge of sustainable initiatives with everyone they meet. Organises local community initiatives such as clothing swap meets and up-cycling workshops.

Level 6 – Living in a community of like-minded people. Owns very few personal items. No interest in following fashion trends. Dabbles in making their own fabric for clothing and crafting furniture from home grown wood.

Level 7 – Inventing things to solve environmental problems. Leading thousands of people in changing their environmental impact. Reporters interview this person regularly for their take on the latest environmental news.

Level 8 – Writing many books on the topic and making big changes to the way millions of people live. Everything they own has been home-made or given to them. Many of their worldly possessions were given to people in need some time ago. Successfully living a zero waste lifestyle.

Very few people make it to level 9 and 10. Check out to see who makes it.

Where do you place your current lifestyle on this scale? Where do you want to be?