Sustainable Lifestyle: Tips to Make it Happen
What is Sustainable Living?
Climate change, pollution and water scarcity are the most pressing global concerns we must face. The reason we face these challenges is people across the globe are consuming resources at a rate we can’t keep up with in the long term. This is dangerous not only for the health of the planet, but also for developing nations which are more likely to be exploited to keep up with global demand. A sustainable lifestyle offers individuals a means of helping reduce the global impact of overconsumption without giving up many of the conveniences to which they’ve become accustomed.
Why is Living Sustainably Important?
Sustainable living is concerned with much more than just the environment. As we mentioned, developing nations have been exploited for cheap labor and resources. In this way, living more sustainably is every bit as much of a humanitarian cause as an environmental one. Living sustainably can also help support smaller businesses struggling to compete with international corporations.
Tips for Sustainable Eating
- Avoid Single-use Water Bottles
Physical waste is one of the leading contributors to the pollution of underground water sources. Though physical waste, in general, is bad for the environment, plastic waste is especially dangerous because of how long it takes to break down. In fact, there is a good chance many of the plastic water bottles in landfills will outlive some people. It can take literal decades for a single water bottle to completely break down. This is why it is important to avoid using single-use plastic water bottles as much as possible. Instead, invest in a quality water filter and a reusable bottle.
- Reduce Your Meat Consumption
Factory farming is a major contributor to air pollution and soil pollution. In fact, factory-farmed beef has a higher carbon footprint than the production of cheese, chicken, fish and eggs combined. Though it may be unrealistic to expect every person to cut meat entirely out of their diet, it would benefit everyone to reduce the amount of meat they eat. The average American consumes roughly 274 pounds of meat per year, which is nearly double the recommended daily intake of protein. It would be healthier for both the planet, and its people, to reduce the amount of meat we eat.
- Cook More at Home
We all know cooking at home is healthier for us, but did you know it is also better for the environment? This is because when you cook your own meals you have total control over things like packaging, plastic waste and where your food is sourced. Cooking simple meals at home is an easy way to be kinder to the environment.
Tips for Sustainable Shopping
- Bring Reusable Bags
As previously mentioned, plastic waste is the most troublesome form of physical waste. The most common kind of plastic waste we produce is the thin plastic bags we use to hold our groceries. America alone uses hundreds of millions of these single-use bags every year. That’s a lot of wasted oil and a lot of plastic to be in the environment. The easiest way to avoid using these bags is to invest in reusable shopping bags. Reusable shopping bags aren’t very expensive and go a long way in reducing the amount of physical waste we produce.
- Choose Green Shipping Options
Online shopping has become incredibly popular in recent years because of how convenient it is. Unfortunately though, this convenience can come at a huge cost for the environment. The fuel used to transport our goods across the globe ruins air quality and can pollute the oceans. Though online shopping is unavoidable these days, it’s important to take measures to lessen its environmental impact. One way to shop online more sustainably is to opt for green shipping services when you checkout. This will ensure your products are delivered with as little harm to the planet as possible.
- Shop Seasonally and Regionally
The global market has made it possible to find any food we want at any time of the year. Produce is grown outside of the areas where it can be found naturally and is given hormones to make food larger and more resistant to pests. This sounds like an amazing feat, but it has unforeseen consequences for the environment. Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are actually ruining ecosystems by taking land away from indigenous plant species where they are grown. If you want to enjoy produce more sustainably, purchase fruits and vegetables when they are naturally in season. This will reduce pollution and support local farmers who are growing the crops.
Other Sustainable Tips
- Drive Less, Drive Green
At this point, it is common knowledge our vehicles are incredibly harsh on the environment. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have their place. Not every part of the world has a robust public transportation system, making cars a necessity in these areas. This is why we need to be conscious of how often we use cars. They may be an inevitable part of life, but we can still limit their environmental impact by carpooling or using ride-sharing services.
- Energy Efficient Appliances
The appliances we use in our homes consume a massive amount of energy. Fortunately, there have been improvements in home appliances to make them more sustainable. For example, low-flow shower heads are an affordable way to reduce the amount of water you use in every shower. As an added benefit, green appliances will save you money on your monthly utility bills.