Adopting a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to help keep this planet beautiful and healthy for years to come. But if you’re new to sustainable living, the thought of getting started can seem daunting at first, especially if you are at a loss for where to start.
We are here to reassure you that living a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. You don’t need to move off the grid or purchase an electric car. Although those options work great for some people, many of us can make a bigger impact if we start small. You can start living a more sustainable lifestyle today by making small and practical changes to your daily routine that will add up to have a big impact on our planet. And we are here to help! But before we get there, it’s important to understand exactly what we mean when we say “sustainable lifestyle.”
What Does It Mean To Live A Sustainable Lifestyle?
According to the United Nation Environment Program, living a sustainable life means “understanding how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us and finding ways for everyone to live better and lighter.” In simpler terms, living sustainably is about making conscious choices to reduce the impact your lifestyle has on the environment, which will help preserve it for generations to come.
One of the keys to living a sustainable lifestyle is to understand that a healthy environment provides us with an abundance of resources, but those resources can be exhausted if the environment is not properly taken care of. Therefore, we should all be striving to use our resources in harmony with the capabilities of the environment, which is what sustainable living is all about.
When the environment is being taken care of, the world, its ecosystem, and its people will all benefit. There are many benefits to living a sustainable lifestyle that we can appreciate. To begin with, a healthy environment keeps the air clear and the water clean for all plants, animals, and humans that need it. It also means that there will be sufficient food, water, and other natural resources that can be shared among us. Most importantly, sustainable living ensures that the future of this planet is bright and healthy for us, our children, and our children’s children.
Practical Ways To Live A Sustainable Life
Growing up, many of us were taught basic sustainability practices without even realizing it. For example, were you taught to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing dishes? Or maybe your parents kept the thermostat turned down at night or while you were on vacation? Those are both great habits that can contribute to a more sustainable life.
Here are some more practical and eco-friendly changes you can make in your day-to-day life.
1. Minimize Your Energy Consumption
You would be amazed by how much energy you use every day without even realizing it. While it may not be obvious at first glance, excessive energy use directly impacts the environment. By reducing the amount of power you use, you will be helping to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and preserve natural resources. How can you minimize the amount of energy you consume? For starters, swap out those incandescent lightbulbs for LED ones that are more energy-efficient. Additionally, get yourself in the habit of turning off lights when you leave the room or even unplugging appliances while they aren’t in use. Other simple ways to conserve energy involve cleaning or replacing air filters as recommended, air-drying dishes and clothes, and washing your clothes in cold water.
2. Conserve Water
Water is a valuable resource that all living things on this planet need in order to survive. While 70% of the planet is covered in water, a vast majority of it is either inaccessible or not safe for consumption. Taking steps to conserve this precious resource helps ensure that there is plenty of water circulating through the ecosystem for plants and wildlife to utilize. As a bonus, conserving water in your home also helps with energy conservation because power is needed for things like filtering, heating, and pumping. Some easy ways to conserve water include fixing leaking faucets, only running the dishwasher or washing machine with a full load, choosing to shower instead of taking a bath, and only filling the tea kettle with the amount of water you need.
Additionally, you can consider installing water-efficient toilets or faucets to help you conserve water without even thinking about it. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to collect rainwater that you can then use for many things like watering your garden or washing your car.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is another thing we were all taught as children that can make a big difference when it comes to protecting the environment. Let’s tackle these in order. Reduce simply means cutting back on the amount of trash we generate, and it’s the best method we can practice to keep the environment clean. Some simple ways to reduce waste include composting food scraps, saying not to plastic water bottles, and choosing to buy products with little or no packaging.
One of the best ways to reduce waste is to find ways to reuse items instead of tossing them in the trash. This can be as simple as utilizing reusable items like lunch boxes, grocery bags, or glass water bottles. If you are the creative type, you can draw on that creativity to find new ways to reuse old items. For example, a glass jar can be repurposed to become storage for your bathroom, or old bath towels can be cut up to be used as cleaning rags. Another practical way to reuse is to donate old items to your local thrift shop so they can be enjoyed by someone else, and while you’re there, consider doing some shopping yourself too.
Last, and most commonly used, is recycling, which involves taking discarded materials and turning them into new products. Things like corrugated cardboard, paper, tin, aluminum, and milk jugs can often be recycled with your local waste management company. Once recycled, these items will be turned into new products. For example, cardboard may be used to create paper bags while milk jugs may be turned into things like buckets or plastic bottles. Every waste management company has a slightly different recycling program, so be sure to check with them to see what items they accept and make sure to only include those in the bin to avoid slowing down the process.
4. Shop Local
Food and other items often have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles on trucks or planes before hitting the shelves at the grocery store. This transportation process greatly contributes to air pollution, and in the case of food, can also require the use of chemicals to ensure it is still fresh upon arrival. Buying from local businesses helps circumvent the need for excess transportation, as local businesses often purchase from other local businesses. So whether you choose to buy produce at the farmer’s market or purchase wall art from a local artist, you can rest assured that you are helping keep this planet as healthy as possible. As an added bonus, shopping local also helps build stronger community ties and boosts the local economy.
5. Support Eco-Friendly Businesses
While shopping locally is always the more sustainable option, it’s a fact that it isn’t possible for every purchase you make. When these situations arise, take the time to do some research and purchase your items from an eco-friendly company whenever possible. There are a lot of companies out there today that prioritize protecting the environment. These companies often do things like using green technology in their production processes, choosing packaging that is recyclable, or using renewable energy sources whenever possible. With a little awareness and research, you can get a sustainably made and shipped product while also showing your support for companies that put the planet first.
6. Grow Your Food
Growing your own food comes with a variety of benefits for the planet. For starters, you will have full control over how the food is grown, which means you can choose to conserve resources like water, use natural fertilizers, and forgo chemicals that are known to be harmful to the environment. Furthermore, much like with shopping locally, growing your own food can help cut back on the distance the food has to travel before it lands on your plate.
We know that growing your own food can sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Making the decision to grow your own food doesn’t have to involve having the time or space for a full vegetable garden. It can also look like growing some herbs in a window box or turning your flower bed into a small area to grow a few of your favorite vegetables. Additionally, many areas have community gardens you can contribute to.
7. Travel Thoughtfully
Daily commuting by car, train, or airplane leads to large amounts of carbon emissions and other types of pollution. If you can, try cycling or walking to places like work or the grocery store. If this isn’t feasible, consider taking advantage of public transportation, which has a smaller carbon footprint than personal vehicles. When traveling long distances, consider your mode of transportation carefully. For shorter trips, taking your own car or the train is often more eco-friendly than flying, as planes consume a lot of fuel. For longer trips where a flight is required, do your best to choose the most direct flight possible. Since take-off and landing consume substantially more fuel than cruising, choosing flights with the fewest layovers possible is always your most environmentally-friendly option.
Live the #NewEarthLife
Living a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. From turning off the lights as you leave the room to purchasing products from local businesses, adding these small habits to your daily life can make a big difference. That’s why we consider simple, eco-friendly habits a big part of living the #NewEarthLife. So go ahead. Join us in making the world a better place by making your lifestyle a little more sustainable.
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