If you’re wondering How to start a sustainable lifestyle, the best way is by making the simplest and smallest changes in your day to day life. Take a few minutes to think about your daily routine – all the products you use, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, I bet there are a few changes you can make to embrace a natural, healthy and sustainable lifestyle and do your part for the environment too.But before we get into them, Let’s first understand What is Sustainability? What is Sustainable living is? and Why is it important to live a sustainable lifestyle?
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is the need of the hour. It isn’t just a fancy buzzword anymore. It’s slowly becoming a way of life. Sustainability means the ability to sustain. Sustain means to endure, support, or to hold for a long time. Sustainability is a state of living that has the has ability to continue for long. Sustainability can be applied to ecosystems, the animal kingdom, also on human beings, and their future on planet Earth.
What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable Living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual or society’s use of Earth’s natural resources and cause less damage to the environment. It can also be referred to as ’Earth Harmony living’. In simpler terms, Sustainable living is a method of reducing one’s “carbon footprint”.
Why is Sustainable Living important? | Why is it important to live a Sustainable Lifestyle?
‘Our Planet has always been working with us, it is we who are not working with the planet’.
The main reason sustainable living is important is pretty straightforward – it helps the Environment, which is true. But let’s be real, for some people the environment isn’t important at all. We live in a “what’s in for me?” society. Being sustainable depends more on what your main motivation in life is and how this lifestyle helps you achieve that. If people are convinced for those reasons, it’s a win for them, and it’s a win for our environment.
Fortunately, there are still many people who find sustainable living important for various reasons.
1. Global health crisis
We are all witnessing a Global health crisis these days because of the unhealthy diet, pollution, adulterated food consumption, use of carcinogenic products. So it’s time people become more mindful and conscious of the food they buy and eat and favor an organic lifestyle.
2. Climate Change Terrors
With climate change becoming a more serious problem every day, it’s now more important than ever for people to do their part to reduce their environmental impact. The terrors of climate change are felt by the human race. The Sahara desert that is supposed to be dry has experienced snow. Ice caps are rapidly melting which brings a rise in sea levels. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are more apparent too.
3. Our Natural resources are going scarce
Our world is running out of its natural resources. Fossil fuel is an example of this. Humans are overly dependent on fossil fuels for their day-to-day activities. This makes the depletion of fossil fuel a serious concern and it’s an absolute need to decrease fossil fuel consumption. Hopefully, experts find a more practical and ecological alternative in the near future.
4. Many animal populations are in danger of becoming extinct
There are numerous species currently in danger of becoming extinct. Tiger, Cheetah, Asian Elephants, Polar bears, Jaguar, whales, certain shark species, etc. Most of them are caused directly or indirectly by man – by the destruction of their habitat, climate change, illegal hunting, etc.
5. Too much unnecessary Garbage
Most people tend to live in abundance. They like having many items in their homes. But they are also quick to throw away things they don’t find useful. However, this only brings more garbage to dumpsites. It’s time that people understand the saying ‘less is more’. Too much garbage isn’t healthy for both humans and the environment. Sometimes these garbage items like Plastics even take numerous years to decompose.
6. Importance for Future Generations
Sustainable living ensures the future generations a habitable world that they can enjoy. It gives kids, grandkids, and their future generations a good environment to live in. Sustainable living helps the young to understand that Mother Nature is the key to their future. The more informed they are the better they can embrace sustainable living.
7. Financial Benefits
When you choose to eat only what you need, your cost of groceries will cut down. When you choose to drive less, your weekly cost of fuel will cut down. Also, if you choose to use less energy in your home, your energy bills will cut down. These are a few simple ways in which sustainable habits can benefit you financially.Now that we see the importance of Sustainable living, It is time that we all act. It is the time we all talk about Conserving, Preserving, and Sustaining.
How to start a Sustainable Lifestyle
Here is the comprehensive list of ideas for beginners on How to start a sustainable lifestyle!
1. Ditch single-use Plastic
Limiting or completely stopping the use of plastic has become more and more popular these days and for good reason. Most of the plastics are difficult to recycle and contain harmful chemicals. Worse still, they get pilled up in our landfills and oceans and take thousands of years to decompose. If we work together to reduce our plastic usage, we can have a significant impact on our environment. This is one of the simplest ways to embrace sustainability, even for beginners.
These are few regular plastics you should pass on:
- Drinking straws
- Shopping bags
- Water bottles
- Food containers
- Sandwich bags
2. Grow your own herbs and/or vegetables
There is no better way to appreciate nature than digging in the dirt. Starting your own garden can be extremely fun and rewarding and is a perfect example of Sustainable living. I have a garden for the first time this year during the lockdown and have been loving the experience! Even if you don’t own land for a garden, consider growing herbs on a windowsill, edible plants in a container. These are easy to grow and take up very little space and If you have room for a garden, grow as much food as possible.
3. Shop in season and from the local farmers market
Buy food that grows in season and hasn’t had to travel far, reducing your eco-footprint. Also, buy food from your local farmer’s market and support them.
4. Try to buy in bulk
Try to buy grains, nuts, seeds in bulk. Carry your own bags or containers to fill rather than using the usual plastic packages.
5. Carry Reusable Grocery bags
6. Reduce food waste
Composting is a nice way to reduce food waste. Composting is also easy and helpful if you are growing a garden. You don’t need fancy composting bins and tools, a simple countertop compost bin with a charcoal filter and an outdoor bin with holes will keep your garden healthy.
7. Replace non-stick cookware with cast iron or stainless steel.
8. Store food in glass jars/containers instead of plastic
9. Use beeswax wrap instead of plastic wrap
10. Add Indoor plants to your home
Nature has the ability to transform your mind and soul, So adding hints of nature to your home is the key to Inspired Green Living. Also adding plants indoors help purify your air.
11. Buy Eco-friendly furniture and home decor items
Buy furniture made from Eco-friendly materials by local artisans or craftsmen and also that is manufactured without using formaldehyde or other harmful chemicals.
12. Learn to repair and up-cycle your furniture
Learn to fix a fuse, up-cycle furniture by tightening screws, sanding, or touching up paint. These skills are easy to learn and will be beneficial for extending the life of items you buy while in turn minimizing the impact on the environment.
13. Use Natural Cleaners
Most conventional, store-bought cleaners contain harsh chemicals and even carcinogens. These are not only bad for the environment but bad for your health as well. Consider making your own green, homemade cleaning products using natural ingredients such as baking soda, lemons, lavender, vinegar. Treat and polish wood with olive oil or grapeseed oil. Also, these cleaners come in plastic packaging that isn’t always recyclable or eco-friendly.
14. Conserve Energy
- Use energy-efficient lightbulbs, next time a bulb burns out, Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL and LED energy-efficient ones instead.
- Turn off all devices at night, including computers and wifi as well, to save energy.
- Use Less Light – Use the natural light throughout the day as long as you can until you need to turn on the lights. This will reduce your energy use.
- Hang clothes to air dry instead of using the Electric dryer.
15. Conserve Water
- An easy way to live more sustainably is to conserve the water at home. Try to use as little water as possible, keep the water off when brushing your teeth, take shorter showers.
- Also Consider installing water-efficient toilets, water-efficient washers, and water-saving shower-heads which can significantly conserve water.
16. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
- Recycle what you don’t need. Set out a recycling bin so it’s on top of mind!
- Reduce the use of natural resources. Ex: Fossil fuels
- Find creative ways to re-use what you can. The best part about this example is that it is practical and everyone can do to live more sustainably.
17. Go paperless! Opt to Receive Digital Files and Mail
Go paperless! Whenever you can. Most banks and other companies have a green initiative and offer to send you important emails instead of paper notices.
18. Buy Less, Buy Better
Focus on the quality of the products you are buying and look to buy from labels that use sustainable materials and treat their workers fairly.
19. Go Organic!
Buy clothes made from natural fibers and materials, buy hand made jewelry, Cruelty-free leather items.
Try mend clothes whenever possible or have them altered to fit.
21. Buy Second-hand
Shop at local thrift stores. Not only will you be helping to reduce the impact on the environment but also you will find unique pieces.
Sustainable Self Care & Beauty
22. Use Organic and Natural beauty products
Avoid beauty products made from harsh chemicals, which are bad for your skin as well as the environment.
23. Switch from Plastic toothbrush to Bamboo toothbrush
24. Switch to reusable razors
Avoid use-and-throw plastic razors.
25. Use combs, brush made from natural materials
26. Switch from body wash to bar soap.
27. Use menstrual cups/reusable sanitary pads instead of tampons
28. Drive Green! Depend less on your car
Use public transport, rail system or carpooling. Biking and walking are some of the most efficient and sustainable practices. If you intend to move within a short distance, then bike or walk instead of using the car. Driving as one person in the car is completely not sustainable and is highly discouraged. The less one uses the car, the lesser the fossil fuel emissions.
Final Thoughts on ‘How to start a Sustainable Lifestyle’
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sustainable living. Not only is it important for the future of our planet to live sustainably, but for ourselves and future generations as well. So get going using this beginner’s guide on how to start a sustainable lifestyle! Don’t worry about doing everything at once. Just pick what works for you as of now and consider the rest for the future. And yes, each one of us can make a difference. I don’t do sustainable living perfectly, I do it gradually. Also, this project is close to my heart because nothing matters more than protecting our mother Earth with an attempt to impact the larger front.
I’m always looking for new ways to spread my message and connect with similar thinkers and eco-conscious companies. If you have any questions or an interest in collaborating (or want to say hi!) drop a Comment send me an email: [email protected] and subscribe to keep updated with the latest posts.
Also do check out some of the interesting blogs from my fellow interns
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Green and Healthy Wishes!