Easy Ways to Live a More Sustainable Life
What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand for natural resources by trying to have as little of an impact on the earth as possible, while making sure you replace what you use to the best of your ability.
With climate change becoming a more serious problem every day, it is more important than ever for us to do our part to reduce the environmental impact.
If we don’t take care of the environment, we reduce our quality of life here on earth. The good news is that there are things we can all do to help protect the planet.
Sustainable living means simplifying our life, and beyond the fact that lowering our personal impact can make a huge difference and can help to keep the environment comfortable for us to live in, it also benefits our finances, our health and our overall happiness.
How to start Sustainable Living
Sustainable lifestyle looks different for everyone and there are endless ways to start living more sustainably. But it is more than just adopting a few green habits and calling it a day. It’s more about regularly practicing habits to reduce your own environmental impact in a way that is sustainable for you and for the the planet.
If you are wondering how to start, the best way is by making the simplest and smallest changes. You don't have to change your lifestyle drastically overnight. As with other changes, you can take it one step at a time.
At the simplest level, try to be more considered about everyday decisions such as what you eat, what you buy (or don’t buy), what you do, and more widely, how you choose to live.
To get you started, here are some simple sustainable living habits you can start adopting:
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, & RE-PURPOSE
This is something everyone can do to live more sustainably and a great example of sustainable living. By reducing how much we consume, reusing what we can, recycle what we don’t need and repurpose old items into new ones as part of our day to day lives, we massively help to improve the environment.
Make the first step towards a sustainable lifestyle by calculating your plastic footprint - switch to reusable fabric bags when shopping instead of using the supermarket plastic bags. Choose a reusable water bottle rather than buying the the one-time-use plastic ones. Stop using disposal dishes by avoiding takeaway or choosing to order from restaurants that don’t use plastic, but bamboo or paper.
It might be obvious, but make sure you separate your waste, It’s very easy to do, and it’s one of the most direct ways you can prevent additional damage to the planet. Just make sure whatever you're recycling has been cleaned first, and follow these simple guidelines via the EPA.
Another way to reuse is buying second-hand items from thrift shops or flea markets or donating unwanted items to charitable organisations. You can make a big difference by continuing to wear second-hand clothes many years after they’ve been given up by their original owner, extending their lifespan.
If you want brand new items, try to shop ethical, sustainable brands that are not only conscious of the amount of resources used, but that their workers are receiving fair pay and they are enforcing ethical labour practices.
When it comes to items you already own, think twice before you throw anything away. If something is broken, try to fix it or try to find another use for it. For example, a worn-out cotton t-shirt can work well as a duster, or a newspaper can be used to wrap presents.
Instead of sending food scraps like vegetable peels, avocado pits, or spoiled leftovers to landfill, start composting. Composting is the process of returning anything that comes from nature to the earth, and letting it biodegrade into soil. Setting up a compost bin is very easy if you have a backyard, or even if you live in an apartment.
Reduce your food waste
Stop buying more food than you actually need and aim to reuse and repurpose your food leftovers. Whenever you put food into the bin, you waste the resources that were used to grow it. Get creative in the kitchen, find recipes that use leftovers and try to avoid wasting anything.
Choosing to buy locally and in season helps reduce the amount of shipping used to supply foods that are out of season. Doing this also helps to support your local farmers. Be mindful about where you shop for food and eat. Visit the farmers market on a regular basis and choose restaurants that work with local farms.
It’s never too late to go vegan. If you are not quite there yet, then consider going meatless for a couple of nights during the week. Going vegan has many benefits such as using less water, cost savings, and saving the lives of animals. In addition, a vegan or even a vegetarian lifestyle improves your health and promotes animal welfare. However, not only what you eat matters but also how you eat it. Using recyclable food containers or your own containers everywhere makes a huge difference.
LIVE CAR FREE
Do you really need to use a car? The less personal use of your car you do, the more you and the environment will benefit.
Traveling by car is essential If you don’t live on a good public transport route and you have to travel a reasonable distance to work. But whenever possible, we should all be seeking alternative ways to travel. Using public transport, cycling or walking are all much better for the environment and will also improve your health and reduce the strain on public health resources.
If possible, explore home working opportunities, at least for a few days a week. This would drastically cut the carbon emissions produced by a commute to work. And if that isn’t an option, try car-pooling. It assists sustainability and it’s another way to take cars off the road.
USE DAYLIGHT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Start by opening your windows, instead of using the AC around the clock.
Sunlight doesn’t cost anything, and using natural light throughout the day helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity, and will also reduce your energy use. your bulbs and tube lights are also going to last longer.
Remember to always turn off the lights in a room when you’re not using them. The same applies to electronics devices.
Educate yourself on sustainable living – it’s always good to do some research and understand the importance of sustainable living for your own benefit before you make the change.
Doing a Google search will undoubtedly bombard you with information, but you can always find accessible and helpful resources that can help you understand sustainable living such as books, articles or movies.
Remember: don't push yourself. Take any of the small steps listed here and know that you're already moving in the right direction.
Sustainable living does not mean that you have to live an uncomfortable life. It means that you consciously think about the energy that you use, and about the choices you make every day.
These steps may be just the tip of the iceberg, but any significant changes, small or big, are powerful. A sustainable lifestyle is easy to achieve, and if done right it can be a really rewarding experience with so many benefits for ourselves and for future generations.
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