Living a Sustainable Life
How do you wish to live life? With your optimal personal well being? To make a difference in the world? To make a contribution to others way of life? To live for a purpose? To feel less stressed? To live more simply?
If your answer was YES to any of the above, then this is just for you!
Sustainability is the ability to maintain any defined behavior forever. In modern society, sustainability is often times linked to other phrases like eco-friendly, going green, the simple life, clean living, etc. No matter what you call it, being environmentally sustainable is often a way in which we all can individually impact ourselves, our world, and others in it. And thus, environmental sustainability is the rate of renewable resource harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource deficit that can be maintained indefinitely.
As the population of the world grows, it becomes more important to use natural resources like fossil fuels and water as efficiently possible so that we can continue to have them available for our futures and other generations beyond. Moreover, it is critical with the rate in which the population of humans increase to focus on various other important topics that could lend beneficial to living more environmentally sustainable (laws and legislation, technology and social awareness). Those “going green” have found numerous upsides to the modern-less lifestyle including improvements in personal and familial health, job creation, demand of investments, financial savings, relationships with neighbors, and environmental impact.
Despite the varied benefits of living environmentally sustainable, the transition to such can take time and be rather tedious for those unfamiliar to this way of living. However, thanks to those brave enough to jump in head-first to test the waters, we have learned various ways to begin living more eco-friendly while still maintaining our modern lifestyles.
Here are a five ways you can begin today:
1. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Source: Radish Magazine
We all have heard this before, but the phrase was coined for a good reason. Everything we buy now has an environmental footprint, from the resources and materials used to make the product and the pollution emitted during manufacturing to the travel and the packing that winds up in landfills polluting the earth and air. So the tip is, before you buy anything, ask yourself if it something you “need.” If so, try purchasing a gently used item to reduce waste that ends up in landfills and always use reusable bags as an alternative to paper or plastic. You can also avoid items with a lot of packaging and less shipping to limit pollution. When you do buy things, try finding a purpose for it around your house when it is no longer in use for the purpose you purchased it for.
For Example: I have been buying spring water that comes in plastic bottles for many years. However, with the known health risk of plastic as well as the mountain of plastic bottles I had created, I wanted to do something more environmentally sustainable. I simply purchased a water filter and began filling glass containers. Now, I love my new water bottles!
2. TRAVEL GREEN
Source: Everything PR
We all have places to be and places to go, but how we get there may have more impact on the environment than you may think. Accessible petroleum reserves are growing slim and the global political state isn’t exactly eco-friendly nor financially friendly to our pocketbooks as we go to fill up the tank with gas. Understanding the continuous demand of transportation for those living a more modern lifestyle, finding ways to improve personal cost savings, pollution, and resource depletion can be tricky, but is most certainly not out of the picture. For those living closer to the inner cities, biking and walking can be an easy fix to living more sustainably, as well as mass transit options like taking the bus, train or subway. However, for those who may not have the convenience of living close to a transit stop, carpooling can be a more reasonable option. Whether you and some neighbors work out a deal to take the kids to school, or you swing by to pick up a coworker en route to work, carpooling has been a long standing idea that has worked for many busy-bees looking to make the simple life transition in their travels. If carpooling is still not an option for you, there are other ideas that may work for you such as purchasing a hybrid car, working from home a few days a week rather than traveling to the office, and even using different forms of transportation throughout the day.
For Example: When I used to work 5-6 days a week in office, I would leave my bike in the office closet so that during my lunch break I could bike to the store to run errands, swing by the bank, and even grab lunch.
3. SUSTAINABLE EATING
Source: Jarvis Garlic
From coffee to fruit to baked goods, the numerous labels on foods can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, there are some chief labels when it comes to decreasing your impact on the planet and wildlife while also improving your quality of life. Organic foods tend to lend to better quality foods without harmful pesticides that can affect your family, the land and water, farm workers, wildlife, etc. Purchasing local meats, vegetables, fruits, and other goods can help support local farmers and typically have a more favorable taste than what you can buy at the supermarket. Choosing Fair Trade certified goods when possible will help support companies dedicated to sustainable production and fair wage. If you are a coffee drinker, look for coffee that is “shade-grown,” which means it is grown while also maintaining forest habitats for wildlife. Though these labels are leaders for environmental sustainability, the items they label can sometimes be more costly than their alternative. So try buying in bulk when possible, shop at local farmer’s markets or fruit stands for better prices, and keep in mind the potential costs of healthcare due to long term exposure to pesticides, hormones, insecticides, and other harmful chemicals.
For Example: My boyfriend and I purchase our fruits and vegetables from a local farmer’s market weekly and typically purchase our organic meats in bulk every two weeks.
4. GREEN HOUSE LIFE
Home is where your heart is. When you choose to live more eco-friendly, your home is just the place to start. In the wake of the modern environmental movement, the industry has responded with a wave of various energy sources, in house appliances, building materials, and other home features that make living green easy. When building a home, consider environmentally safe options of insulation, windows, paint, etc. These choices can make a big impact on the earth as well as save you money in the long run. One thing to consider in your home is its primary energy source. Dependent on what is offered in your geographical region, solar and wind energy can have less environmental impact than its counterparts, the conventional electricity providers. When furnishing your home with appliances, choose energy-efficient options that cut your monthly costs and have less negative consequences on the environment. You can also adopt other water sources like rainwater collection to water plants and your lawn. If you are looking for a simpler way to improve your home, try replacing your traditional light bulbs with LED or CFL light bulbs instead.You can also have fun and discover different ways to recycle your waste. Wet waste can be recycled and used as compost, paper can be used during winter to help start a fire if you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and some glass containers can be sorted and typically picked up by your local recycling company. There are numerous ways to make your home more green and in turn, make your everyday environment more pleasant.
For Example: I have always grown up being told to take my shoes off at the door, now I do it out of habit. But this habit actually helps me keep pollutants out of the house and clean up at a minimum.
5. SIMPLIFY LIFE
With the first day of Spring just passed, spring cleaning can be at the top of our TO DO LIST. Take advantage of this time to de-clutter and simplify your life a bit. Donate unneeded or multiple items to a charity, church, school, or homeless shelter dear to your heart. Try making a list of goods you use weekly, monthly, and annually, and organize and sort them accordingly so not to clutter your physical space. When we clean our physical world, we invite a clear mind to be present and focused on things that matter to us, like living the simple life. However, not only do we need to improve the order of our environment physically and mentally, but also with the things we do. By choosing efficient activities that help us focus on purpose and allow us to continue to build who we are at the core, we open ourselves to various opportunities. So, put down the TV remote, and try joining a community organization that gives back to others, cares for the earth, or helps educate and research for future generations. Perhaps your time is limited; try something as simple as planting a tree. Over the years, watch it grow into a greater reminder of what you can do to live environmentally sustainable. Reorganizing the things around you, your thoughts, and the things you do can be the key to ensuring that your life purpose can align perfectly with the world you live in.
Living a “green” lifestyle can have benefits both on your personal life and the planet. See what you can do to make the world a better place!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC