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.

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.

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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, 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.

25+ Ultimate Ideas 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 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.

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.

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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 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.

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 number of chemicals that are being introduced to the water system.

6. Spend more time reading and playing games

You must be wondering how can this 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 different use then what they are intended for is essential in the waste hierarchy.

Recycle old glass bottles or aluminum cans. Keep a recycle bin at your home and try making more trips to the recycling station than to the landfill.

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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.

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.

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 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 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. Various sites offer 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 the environment.

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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 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 for 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 poses 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 a 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.

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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, plastic cutlery are a big curse on our environment. 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.

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.

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Use solar energy chargers. Donate your old devices to poor kids or NGO’s. 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.

24. Share with friends or borrow

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 tree-free home

Replace paper napkins, towels with cloth napkins/towels. You can even use your old t-shirts like towels, napkins, mops, duster and many more options you need. Just wash and reuse.

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 converting them to note pad or message book 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 accounted for 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalents.

References:

Promoting Sustainable Living

Sustainable Lifestyle

Lifestyle and Sustainable Development

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