We all know that climate change, global warming, depletion of the 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.
- What is Sustainable Living?
- 25+ Ultimate Ideas to Practice Sustainable Living
- 1. Become a member of a community garden
- 2. Practice minimalism
- 3. Change the lights in your house
- 4. Become more efficient with your errands
- 5. Start using natural cleaners
- 6. Spend more time reading and playing games
- 7. Try to get on a more natural sleep schedule
- 8. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
- 9. Walk, bike, or carpool to work
- 10. Unplug your devices when not in use
- 11. Buy a right-sized house
- 12. Use daylight as much as possible
- 13. Stop unwanted mail, both paper and electronic
- 14. Practice keeping a “zero energy balance” budget
- 15. Change your washing habits
- 16. Choose renewable energy
- 17. Buy products with less packaging
- 18. Ditch the plastic
- 19. Skip single-use items
- 20. Replace all possible disposables
- 21. Carry your own reusable shopping bags
- 22. Use Sustainable Technologies
- 23. Observe an Eco-Sabbath
- 24. Share with friends or borrow
- 25. Have a tree-free home
- 26. Remodeling with some green building choices
- 27. Make your own
- 28. Finally your food
What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand for 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.
If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, designed or removed from production
~ Pete Seeger
Simple measures like using public transportation more often, reducing energy consumption, and 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.
Kahle, Gurel-Atay, and Armonk (2014) meanwhile define sustainability as,
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.“
25+ Ultimate Ideas to Practice Sustainable Living
Want to start practicing sustainable living? It is easier than you think. Here are 25+ quick and easy ideas 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 and that you cut out anything unnecessary.
This applies to waste materials as well. With a minimalist lifestyle, you will recycle more, use less, and be more mindful of the items you support 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 for energy resources significantly. Using longer-lasting, energy-efficient light sources also substantially reduces the amount of waste going into landfills.
4. Become more efficient with your errands
You don’t have to buy a hybrid vehicle 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 on reducing the number of natural resources you consume.
This may mean walking or biking to wherever you need to be, assuming that the route allows you to do so safely. Commuting instead of driving is also helpful since this reduces the number of vehicles running at a given time.
5. Start using natural cleaners
Take an hour or so to research some homemade options for natural cleaners. Vinegar and water can clean most surfaces, while 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 number of chemicals that are being introduced to the water system.
6. Spend more time reading and playing games
You must be wondering how this can be a part of sustainable living. Playing, reading, or singing does not need energy. By reducing your reliance on entertainment forms that require energy and natural resources, you can help to reduce the demand and drain on them.
7. 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, but it will also begin to lessen the amount of power that you use while you are up.
8. 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 a different use than what they are intended for is essential in the waste hierarchy.
9. Walk, bike, or carpool 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 resources; walking or biking to work will also improve your health and reduce the strain on public health resources. Of course, this only applies if the route you plan to walk or bike on is safe for pedestrians and bikers.
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.
Apart from being good for your health, carpooling helps reduce the number of vehicles at a given time, which overall may lead to lesser overall emissions for transportation.
10. Unplug your devices when not in use
Most 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 a right-sized house
Practitioners of sustainable living conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability. Among the many ways that promote sustainability, one of them is buying a smaller house that 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 when 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 helps your bulbs and tube lights last longer.
13. Stop unwanted mail, both paper and electronic
Save natural resources by opting out of unwanted mailings and simplify your life. Various sites offer free services to opt-out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars, and more. It helps you to reduce clutter, protect privacy, and save the environment. This applies to emails as well, since the more data is stored in your email account, the more energy your email provider consumes to keep that data.
14. Practice keeping a “zero energy balance” budget
A zero-energy balanced budget means that what you take in, you also return them. It 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 quicker 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
Explore options for getting tax credits from the government. Speak to your utility provider if 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 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 contaminates the environment but also poses serious health effects to humans and animals.
Another way you can do away with packaging is by bringing your own bags when shopping. That way, stores don’t have to provide you with plastic/paper bags that are likely to contaminate oceans and soils.
18. Ditch the plastic
Plastic never goes away. It takes millions of years for plastic to decompose. Plastic can be found swirling on the ocean’s surfaces. It badly affects marine life. Every year a large number of mammals, seals, and sea birds are killed after ingesting plastic or getting tangled up in it.
It’s time for all of us to switch to reusable bags when we shop and ditch one-time-use plastic water bottles.
19. Skip single-use items
We encounter single-use items in our day-to-day life. Single-use items like plastic straws, toilet paper, paper towels, plastic grocery bags, and plastic cutlery are a big curse on our environment.
Among the ways you can skip single-use items is to opt out of disposable utensils when ordering food online, and buy things in bulk so that you get what you need with less packaging. You may not be able to remove all the items but can surely cut down the use of some of these items.
20. Replace all possible disposables
Identify disposable products that are possible to replace with reusable ones. The list includes towels, shopping bags, razors, cups, plates, food storage, diapers, batteries, writing pens, ink cartridges, coffee filters, furnace or air conditioner filters, etc.
You may buy refurbished, local or used products where possible.
21. Carry your own reusable shopping bags
Whenever you go to a local market or a nearby mall for shopping, always carry your reusable shopping bags. It’s never a matter of shame to carry a reusable bag along with you.
Instead, it shows how much you care for the environment and how eager you are to live a sustainable life. Carrying your own shopping bag lets you shop without needing to store your shopping items in several different plastic/paper containers.
22. Use Sustainable Technologies
Make use of rechargeable batteries. Switch to a sustainable search engine like Ecosia. They run 100% on renewable energy and use some of their profits to plant trees.
Use solar energy chargers. Donate your old devices to poor kids or NGOs. Dispose of your electronic items to local waste recycling programs.
23. Observe an Eco-Sabbath
A single day or afternoon or at least an hour a week, set your own time and give yourself and the planet a break. During that period don’t buy anything, don’t use any machines, don’t switch electrical items, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone, means don’t use any resources.
Every hour in a week cuts your carbon emissions by 0.6 percent annually. If you commit to four hours a week, that’s 2.4 percent, and for a whole day, each week’s impact will be 14.4 percent a year.
Things such as books, magazines, movies, games, and newspapers can be easily shared between friends and neighbors. In the same way, if you need something temporarily, ask if a friend or neighbor would lend it to you. Sharing and borrowing can easily go side by side.
25. Have a tree-free home
Install a bidet and supplement with bleach-free, 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper.
Reuse envelopes, wrappers, the front of gift cards or postcards, and any other paper materials you receive by converting them to notepads or message books to take notes or for leaving a message, making a grocery list, or making your cards.
Switch to a digital organizer for tracking to-do’s and grocery lists or use handmade papers.
Read books, magazines, and newspapers from the local library or online (many have email newsletters).
Print documents on once-used paper, on both sides, or on bleach-free recycled paper.
26. Remodeling with some green building choices
There are some eco-friendly flooring materials like straw bale, bamboo, true (natural) linoleum, previously used wood(vintage or timber works), and even cob.
Other ways are eco-cement, energy-efficient windows, green insulation, solar-powered water heater, energy star appliances, and lowest-flow toilets.
27. Make your own
These days DIY is highly popular on the internet. Make use of it. Make your own non-toxic homemade cleaning products, natural body products, personal care products, and other utility product.
28. Finally your food
“The world is producing the wrong kind of food, by a process that leaves millions of people landless, homeless, cashless, and unable to feed themselves.” – Anita Roddick.
A vegan diet is a powerful way to improve your health, help ensure everyone has enough to eat, and help protect our environment. Therefore, switch to an animal-free diet.
Livestock is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases accounting for 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalents.
To sum up, there are several ways that we can make our own contribution to a better world, beginning with living a sustainable lifestyle. Not only does a sustainable lifestyle have less impact on the environment, but it also involves practices that are good for both the environment and health and encourages others to be environmentally conscious as well.