For everyone to embrace a shared vision of enjoying a healthy and happy life while responsibly using Earth’s resources and preserving space for wilderness and wildlife, it’s essential to adopt the principles of sustainable living. This means adopting lifestyles that promote well-being and health without causing harm to the natural environment and wildlife.
Sustainable living is based on four main pillars: minimizing waste, limiting the use of Earth’s natural resources, using the environment wisely, and ensuring quality working/living environments.
This article discusses some guiding principles that can be used as an initiative to make sustainable and stable living a reality.
Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.
~ Ralph Bicknese
Principles of Sustainable Living
These principles include:
1. Effective Land Use and Wildlife Protection
This principle requires people to realize the need for effective land use and wildlife protection. The principle aims to aid in creating new habitats and restoring biodiversity through effective land use and incorporating the practices in our surrounding environments.
As the custodians of the planet’s natural environment, wise actions with regard to proper land use and wildlife protection are vital in embracing sustainable living.
2. Sustainable Water Usage
The requirement for the efficient use of water in farms, construction, and manufacturing is part of sustainable living principles.
The principle emphasizes the need to advance good water utilization practices by designing water management systems that can deal with issues such as flooding, water wastage, and protection of water sources from pollution or destruction.
3. Supporting Local and Organic Foods
Sustainable farming is one of the vital principles of sustainable living. The principal insists on humane and sustainable farming by encouraging the availability of healthy, local, organic, low-impact, and seasonal diets.
4. The Use of Sustainable Materials
5. The Use of Sustainable Transport
Promoting low and zero-carbon transport mechanisms is one of the overriding principles of sustainable living. It encompasses the need to reduce travel and accept green transport services such as electric trains, cars, walking, and cycling as an alternative to driving high-emission vehicles.
6. Zero Waste and Zero Carbon
According to this sustainable living principle, every little thing done should focus on reducing the waste that ends up in landfills. Only buying and consuming the needed staff is essential.
According to the principle, priority should be given to quality and not quantity to achieve this goal. People must also find the easiest ways to use efficient and renewable technology.
7. Creating Own Healthy Environment
This principle emphasized the need for indulging in meaningful activities to promote good health and well-being. Fun, healthy, and less stressful living can be achieved by fun activities such as biking, hiking, walking, sailing, and skiing.
8. Realize Local Cultural Values
Culture has easy and effective ways of preserving and enhancing the local environment. For instance, local cultures stress conservation, minimizing wastage, and using local materials and organic products.
Thus, reviving and respecting the local culture, identity, and knowledge contributes to the progress of people’s involvement in environmentally friendly practices and bringing a new culture of sustainability into existence.
Benefits of Sustainable Living
Sustainable living comes with numerous benefits. It limits the impacts on the natural environment and redefines our lifestyles with a promise of good health and reduced cost of living.
Here are the top benefits of assuming a sustainable lifestyle.
1. Health Benefits
A sustainable lifestyle is a sure way of attaining increased fitness and improved life balance. The health benefits are attributed to little dependence on vehicles or machinery and the consumption of quality food products that are either locally or organically produced.
With little dependence on vehicles or machinery, biking, walking, and doing tasks manually can help one keep fit. Because sustainable living embraces natural lighting and the appreciation of nature, it can also enhance happiness and lessen depression. Consumption of quality and non-toxic food products equally promotes good health.
2. Better and More Stable Planet for Future Generations
The most important reason for living sustainably is to safeguard the environment. It means ensuring its stability and existence for future generations.
Utilizing the sun’s energy, reducing the environmental footprint, using non-toxic materials, and effectively using the planet’s resources will ensure the environment is stable and can support the current generations and generations.
Statistics reported by the UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions reveal that as sustainable movement advances, greenhouse gas emissions gradually decrease. This indicates that sustainable living promises a more stable planet for future generations.
3. Cost Savings
More and more people are looking for simple ways to cut living costs. Well, sustainable living is the surest way of cutting back on living costs because it entails reducing the Earth’s natural resource consumption.
For instance, sustainable homes promise reduced water consumption, heating, and lighting costs through water-saving techniques, green energy, and smart lighting solutions.
4. Maximizing Energy and Water Efficiency
Using passive ventilation systems, passive solar design, water recycling techniques, rainwater harvesting, and waste management maximizes energy and water efficiency. This benefit guarantees comfortable homes with reduced utility bills and resource wastage.
5. Sustainable and Durable Products
A sustainable lifestyle entails purchasing and using green, durable, and sufficient products. Furniture products crafted from Bamboo are good examples, as they are sufficient and last longer.
Besides, unlike timber, Bamboo doesn’t release stored CO2. Other sustainable, durable, and affordable materials are those crafted from recycled products or waste matter. Aside from their sufficiency and durability, they also help the environment.
The most sustainable way is to not make things. The second most sustainable way is to make something very useful, to solve a problem that hasn’t been solved
~ Thomas Sigsgaard
Examples and Methods of Sustainable Living
There are lots of actions we can take to live a sustainable lifestyle. Here are a few of the examples of sustainable living.
1. Stopping the Use of Plastics
Plastics are a growing menace in our environment, taking billions of years to decompose. In other words, any plastic that has ever been produced still exists on our planet in some form, meaning that in a matter of time, we could have plastics flying all over our planet if care isn’t taken.
Furthermore, plastic products contain hazardous chemicals and have been linked to the deaths of thousands of marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and seals after ingesting the plastic or having been trapped in them. Therefore, ditching plastic especially one-time-use plastic products is a great example of sustainable living.
2. Reducing Household Energy Use and The Utilization of Renewable Energy
Reducing the overall household energy use promises a sustainable lifestyle. This can be done by:
- Turning off lights and appliances when not in use
- Installing energy-efficient appliances
- Using a programmable thermostat that regulates the temperature
- Hanging clothes to dry as an alternative to using the dryer
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.
3. Finding Creative Ways of Reusing Everything
There are a thousand and one incredible ways of reusing almost everything. One example is using plastic packaging, bottles, and cups for other purposes.
For instance, instead of throwing away used plastic water bottles, you can extend their lifetime by using them as water bottles. You can also repurpose them, for instance, by using them for irrigation.
The same applies to common household products such as mugs, jugs, magazines, shoes, clothes, and mats. Instead of throwing such items away, resale or donate them to give them an extended lifespan.
4. Cooking Food by Yourself and Eating Locally
Cooking food by yourself will ensure you enjoy your food, and above all, you’ll be eating healthy while cutting back on your spending.
Eating locally is also a more impressive way of living sustainably. Instead of going to the supermarket, shop for vegetables, fruits, and other products locally, as those in the supermarkets consume huge amounts of fossil fuel during transportation.
5. Conserve Water
Conserving water in the house is an easy way to live more sustainably. Installing water-efficient toilets, using water-efficient washers, and using water-saving showerheads can significantly conserve water.
For those interested in landscaping, drought-tolerant plants are the best, as they’ll require less water for watering. But of course, ensure that you pay attention to your type of soil, sunlight availability, and temperature, as plants have varying needs for these conditions.
You can also come up with ways of harvesting rainwater and wastewater recycling to help conserve water. Water harvested can be used for most household needs like irrigation, washing, cleaning your car, etc.
6. Depend Less on Your Car, Drive Green
Carpooling, vanpooling, using public transport or the rail system, biking, and walking are some of the most efficient and sustainable traveling practices. If you intend to move within a short distance, use a bike or walk instead of the car.
Driving as one person in a car is completely unsustainable and highly discouraged. The less one depends on their car, the lesser the fossil fuel emissions, and the more likely we’ll present a safer and healthier planet to future generations.
7. Grow Your Own Plants and Vegetables
Growing your plants and vegetables is a perfect example of sustainable living. Grow a few plants and vegetables along the driveway, at the corner of your yard, or in a window box.
Big space is not a necessity, provided the plants can grow and serve you with enough edible fruits, herbs, or vegetables to consume.
8. Recycle Items
Subscribing to recycling programs provides an opportunity for sustainable living. Have the used glass or plastic products and obsolete electronics such as TVs, laptops, refrigerators, cell phones, batteries, monitors, and CFLs, among others, picked up by appropriate recycling companies for responsible recycling.
9. Living in A Small Home
Staying in a small home encourages a simple lifestyle instead of the modern desire to live in unreasonably big homes. It has its benefits as it reduces the environmental impacts and the cost of living that comes with living in larger homes than required.
Also, small homes are resource-efficient and reduce material wastage, thus saving the planet’s resources for future generations.