“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This is how we have defined Sustainable Living since 1987 but still holds true.
Regardless of whether you’ve decided to go green to help the environment, to save money, or just see how easy it is, every step you take towards eco-friendly living is one that helps the world.
The Status Quo of Sustainable Development
Over the years, environmentalists have made it clear that our planet is in need of serious rehabilitation. The media has made us well aware of critical disasters caused by global warming, such as the melting of ice caps, the deterioration of forestlands, the ongoing dilemma of scarcity, and the worsening intensity of pollution.
Because of this, sustainability trends and issues have moved up the economic and political schema, influencing numerous undertakings in all levels of society.
Various non-profit organizations have been consistently dedicating themselves to saving our planet and educating people on how they could do the same. And all of us, at one point in our lives, have been told to make a number of lifestyle changes in order to be of help to the ongoing struggle to preserve our planet’s dwindling resources.
Positive response has been building up slowly but surely, with recent reports showing that more and more people are making substantial efforts to make Sustainable society. Everyone, in some way or another, is being part of the shift towards green sustainability. All aspects are given attention: the business sector, the energy consumption crisis, and the very core of human lifestyle and behavior.
How can we live sustainably?
Sustainable living does not mean that you have to live an uncomfortable life. It means that you consciously think about the stuff and the energy that you use, and about the choices you make every day.
Eat more plants and less meat:
An average western diet leads to an emission of about 2.5 tons of CO2 per person per year. For a meat lover, this amounts to 3.3 tons of. That seems simple, but it’s not.
If you think you are doing the right thing by eating vegetarian burgers made of milk and eggs, think again. The milk industry also has a negative impact like the meat industry. If you want to have the most sustainable impact, go vegan.
A vegan diet is equivalent to 1.5 tons of CO2 per person per year. That’s less than half the CO2 emissions of the diet of a meat eater!
Avoid Plastic: Plastic is omnipresent, it’s everywhere product packaging, cosmetic ingredients, textiles, mobile phones, etc. It’s even in the chewing gum you might be chewing on right now!
Therefore reducing consumption of plastics not only requires change in habits but also a drastic change in mindset.
- Single use plastic is the greatest threat to the environment, which needs to be addressed immediately at the consumer level and should be banned at the authority level.
- Remember to carry your cloth or jute bag whenever you step out, it not only saves the environment but also your packet.
- Avoid chewing gum as far as possible, as it contains plastic too. In case it’s not possible for your kid to quit, throw it in a recyclable bin as it can be recycled.
- Use bulk foods, as it requires less packaging ultimately leading to less plastic consumption.
- If you eat home cooked food at work plastic containers are a part of your day to day life, replace plastic with glass, steel or any other biodegradable option.
- Choose to recycle and choose recycled products as the first choice.
Choose train over flight:
Sometimes there is no other way though – especially if you need to travel to the other side of the world and you don’t feel like spending 3 weeks on a ship.
But if you do have the time, or your destination is close to home, consider taking the train or the boat. Usually, travelling by train or by boat is better for the environment than car or air travel.
Water conservation: Water is a limited resource. What each of us does in the world, how we live, does make a difference. As we learn the value of clean, safe water and how scarce it truly is, we can take steps to protect it and to get it to people who lack access today.
- Avoid leakage, don’t let water drip unnecessarily
- Use water flow reducer
- During hand washing or dishwashing, don’t use continuously flowing water.
- While brushing or shaving dont flow water continuously
- Wash your vehicle or water plants with a bucket.
- Use shortest washing cycle
- Avoid harmful chemicals for washing
- Use cut out timers while filling tanks to avoid water wastage
- Use water recycle measures while building houses.
Choose Eco-Friendly Toiletries:
Sanitary items are mostly made from non-organic cotton, which is a highly pesticide-intensive crop and causes soil degradation.
Farmers are using huge quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals. And the production of fertilizers uses finite energy sources, which releases considerable amounts of CO2.
As soils normally capture carbon dioxide, soil degradation reduces this capacity – increasing global warming. Plus, all of those sanitary items finally end up somewhere in a landfill or in the ocean. It is time to make a change.
Naked soaps or shower products and Eco friendly sanitary products are few getaways from non sustainable toiletries.
The biggest impact we have on the environment is endless buying and it has a hidden non sustainable impact too. This hidden impact is mainly a result of the production and transport of these items.
A simple way to reduce our (hidden) impact on the environment is simply to avoid unnecessary buying. By minimizing, you can make your life at home a lot more sustainable.
Check Labels: Sustainable living does not mean to compromise what you need today. While buying for your day to day necessities check sustainability labels or certificates of the products.
Choosing products that have a limited effect on the environment and local communities encourages sustainable practices amongst producers and manufacturers as well as reducing your own individual impact on the planet.
Be Trendy with DIY Reuse:
We need to reduce the amount we consume. We also need to reuse and repurpose as part of our day to day lives. There are a number of ways to achieve this. Giving items a second life, either by buying second-hand, donating unwanted items to charitable organizations or selling your things on to reduce the amount of stuff going to landfill.
When it comes to items you already own, think twice before you throw anything away. If something is broken, try to fix it. Or if it’s beyond repair, give it another use.
- A worn-out cotton t-shirt works well as a duster.
- A pallet can be repurposed as a garden planter
- . Newspapers can be used to wrap presents.
- We should all be aiming to reuse and repurpose our food leftovers too
- Get creative in the kitchen, find recipes that use leftovers and try to avoid wasting anything.
For many people, a car is an essential. If you don’t live on a good public transport route and you have to travel a reasonable distance to work, travelling by car is the obvious solution. However, we should all be seeking alternatives to car travel whenever possible. Using public transport/pooling, cycling or walking are all much better for the environment and an easy option for shorter journeys.
We should encourage WFH opportunities, at least for a few days a week. This would drastically cut the carbon emissions produced by a commute to work. CORONA Lockdown is the live example of cutting down CO2 emission.
Grow your own food:
Growing your own garden can be incredibly rewarding. It is economic, soulful and sustainable. Even if you don’t feel particularly green-fingered you can easily get started with a couple of planters or window boxes.
Trees and plants reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. They also provide habitats and food for a huge range of animals and insects.
Growing your own food has even greater benefits for the environment. Any fruit and vegetables you produce will have a much lower carbon footprint than food you can buy in the supermarket.
Food has to travel a very short distance from soil to table, reducing the carbon emissions involved in food transportation. There is no plastic packaging to consider. And you get to be in complete control of the way food is grown, avoiding harmful fertilizers and pesticides.
Energy Efficient home: Choosing energy efficient appliances is another good way to make your home more eco-friendly. Here are a few other ideas:
- Use energy efficient LED light bulbs.
- Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby.
- Make sure the washing machine is full before using it.
- Dry clothes on a washing line rather than in the dryer.
- Collect rainwater in a water butt and use this to water the garden.
- Choose a toilet with a dual flush.
- Install a water-saving shower head.
These home and lifestyle changes may seem small but every little bit we do for the environment helps to make a difference.
Come up with your own innovative ideas which you feel worked for you and might help the community in building a stronger and sustainable society.
Sign up and share your sustainable ideas for starting a new strong and sustainable generation.