What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability. Sometimes that can mean not choosing to consume a product that is made using practices that don’t promote sustainability; and sometimes it means changing how you do things so that you start becoming more of an active part of the cycle of life.
We all know that climate change, global warming, depletion of ozone layer and resource depletion are real and their impact on human and animal lives can be devastating. It is an opportunity for people to adopt actions for sustainable living that can help them to reduce their carbon footprint or environmental impact by altering their lifestyle. Simple measures like using public transportation more often, reducing energy consumption, becoming more eco-friendly can go a long way in reducing your environmental impact and making this planet a clean and safe place.
Wikipedia defines ‘Sustainable Living‘ as,
“Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet. Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity’s symbiotic relationship with the Earth’s natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development.”
15 Easy Ways to Practice Sustainable Living
Want to start practicing sustainable living? It is easier than you think. Although there are various ways to live and practice sustainable living, here are 15 quick and easy suggestions to live a sustainable life.
1. Become a member of a community garden: It isn’t just about growing your own food, being a member of a community garden helps to promote sustainable living in your area. Gardens create green spaces and the garden waste can be mulched and returned to support healthy soil. Green spaces aren’t just important for your state of mind; in urban areas they can play an important role in offsetting carbon emissions.
2. Practice minimalism: Minimalism doesn’t mean living without anything, it means that you are making sure that everything you own and use is put to its maximum purpose. This means waste materials as well. With a minimalist lifestyle, you will recycle more, and be more mindful of the items you support being produced so that sustainability is emphasized.
3. Change the lights in your house: By changing the lighting in your home from traditional light bulbs to CFL, using skylights and more natural light you will reduce your demand on energy resources significantly. Using longer lasting, energy efficient light sources also reduces the amount of waste going into landfills significantly.
4. Become more efficient with your errands: You don’t have to buy a hybrid to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. By choosing to become more efficient with your errands you can create a system of sustainable living that is based in reducing the amount of natural resources you consume.
5. Start using natural cleaners: Take an hour or so to research some home-made options for natural cleaners. Vinegar and water can clean most surfaces, and the saponin from quinoa is a natural laundry detergent. By using natural cleaners you are reducing the amount of plastic packaging being made, and the amount of chemicals that are being introduced to the water system.
6. Walk, bike or car pool to work: The less personal use of your car you do, the more you and the environment will benefit. Sustainable living not only promotes sustainability by reducing pollution and the consumption of natural resource; walking or biking to work will also improve your health and reduce the strain on public health resources.
Even car-pooling assists sustainability as it can provide an increased social outlet that can improve the quality of life. Science has found that there is a direct connection between your quality of life and the sustainability of life that you will choose to lead.
7. Spend more time reading and playing games: How can this be a part of sustainable living? By reducing your reliance on entertainment forms that require energy and natural resources you can help to reduce the demand and drain on them.
8. Try to get on a more natural sleep schedule: Getting on a natural sleep schedule means becoming more attuned to the natural light in the day. Not only is this better for your health, it will begin to lessen the amount of power that you use while you are up.
9. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Reduce your need to buy new products. If there is less waste, then there is less to recycle or reuse. Learning to reuse items, or repurpose them for different use then what they are intended for is essential in waste hierarchy. Recycle old glass bottles or aluminium cans. Keep a recycle bin at your home and try making more trips to recycling station than to the landfill.
10. Unplug device when not in use: Most of the electronic devices keep on drawing electricity even when they’re off. To reduce energy usage, simply pull the plug when not in use. It will help you to save energy and reduce your monthly electricity bill.
11. Buy right-sized house: Practitioners of sustainable living conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability. Among many ways that promotes sustainability, one of them is buying a smaller house is going to consume less energy as compared to a big house. You’re going to spend less on lighting, furniture and overall furnishing. You can even purchase items from thrift stores and donate them again when they’re no longer needed. Make use of green home building ideas and techniques while building a new home.
12. Use daylight as much as possible: Sunlight is free and doesn’t cost anything. Using sunlight during the day helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity and your bulbs and tube lights are going to last longer.
13. Stop unwanted mail: Save natural resources by opting out from billions of unwanted mailings and simplify your life. Sites like www.catalogchoice.org offers free service to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more. It helps you to reduce clutter, protect privacy and save environment.
14. Practice keeping a “zero energy balance” budget: A zero energy balance budget means that what you take in, you also return back. This is really the core of all sustainable living. If you practice keeping a budget that has a zero energy balance, you will be surprised how your habits of consuming will change and reduce your imprint on the world.
15. Change your washing habits: This one is important to attain sustainable living. We wash everything too much. Not only has science discovered that our over emphasis on being clean has reduced our natural immune resistance to diseases (which require exposure to bacteria to develop), but each person wastes tremendous amounts of water when they bathe, wash dishes or do laundry. Practice taking short and times showers, washing dishes in a sink of water and then rinsing them and cutting down on the amount of laundry that you do.
16. Choose Renewable energy: Choosing renewable energy over fossil fuels is a great way to stop climate change and doing your part in making things happen. Install solar panels for solar water heating. Explore options of getting tax credit from the government. Speak to your utility is there is any way to add clean power to the grid so as to offset your carbon footprint.
17. Buy products with less packaging: Whenever you go out for shopping, always buy products with less packaging. The excess packaging on the stuff goes in your dustbin and from there it goes to landfills in most cases. It not only further contaminate the environment but also pose serious health effects to humans and animals.
18. Ditch the plastic: Plastic never goes away. It takes millions of years for plastic to decompose. Plastic can be found swirling in the ocean’s surfaces. It badly affects marine life. Every year large number of mammals, seals, sea birds are killed after ingesting plastic or getting tangled up in it. Its time for all of us to switch to reusable bags when we shop and ditch one-time use plastic water bottles.
Image credit: leahcarroll , pagedooley
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