If you’ve been keeping up with the news or scrolling through social media, then you know that climate change has been a hot topic lately. Climate change is threatening our future and if we don’t act now, we could reach a point of no return.
While this change seems to be out of our control, there are choices we can make to reduce our carbon footprint and slow down climate change.
One way we can do this is by living a more sustainable lifestyle. But how do we do that? Sustainable living may sound challenging at first, but it’s surprisingly easier than you think. You don’t have to give up your current lifestyle; it’s really about making small, simple changes in your life to reduce the amount of waste you create and resources you consume.
If you’re wondering what it means to live sustainably or looking to get started, you are in the right place. Keep on reading to learn about the importance and benefits of a sustainable lifestyle, the difference between sustainable living and zero waste, and some easy ways you can get started today to kick-off your sustainable lifestyle journey.
What is Sustainable Living?
Simply put, sustainable living means we prioritize the use of natural and renewable resources instead of creating excess waste and depleting environmental resources for future generations.
There are endless ways to live sustainably, including reducing your consumption of single-use plastic, eating fewer animal products, composting and shopping second-hand.
Sustainable Living vs. Zero Waste
Since these terms are often used interchangeably, you might wonder if sustainable living and zero waste are the same.
In fact, sustainable living and the zero waste movement have similar goals and lifestyle patterns but are a bit different. Those trying to live sustainably aim to lower their overall environmental impact in a variety of ways, while the primary focus of those living zero waste is typically to reduce the amount of trash they produce, namely single-use plastic.
The Importance of Living a Sustainable Lifestyle
The reason to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle is pretty straightforward — many of our current activities are wreaking havoc on the environment, and if we don’t take care of this, we reduce our quality of life on Earth, natural resources will grow scarce and animal populations will be in danger of becoming extinct.
Being more conscious of our decisions and reducing our environmental impact will not only benefit the planet but can also improve our quality of life.
The Benefits of Living Sustainably
There are numerous benefits to living sustainably and here are some of them.
Simplify Your Life
When you start living sustainably, you begin to question what you really need and what you can live without. Whenever you can reduce the number of things you need and want less, you simplify your life. This allows you to make time for things that really matter to you.
It sounds too good to be true but sustainability actually saves you money in the long run. Think about today’s use then throwaway culture. It’s immoral, unsustainable and you spend so much money. Living sustainably helps you stop mindlessly spending and you’ll be able to save your money.
Living a sustainable lifestyle, you end up creating less waste, which reduces your carbon footprint. You may buy less clothes, waste less food and consume less things in general.
Better Planet for Future Generations
Sustainability helps future generations thrive. Every action you take now helps all future generations have the resources and the quality of life they need.
Living a Healthier Lifestyle
When you start living in an eco-friendly way, you tend to get rid of the toxins (for example, harsh cleaning products and plastic water bottles) in your home, which helps you live a healthier lifestyle. Taking care of the planet directly impacts and improves your health.
10 Easy Sustainable Lifestyle Habits to Adopt
How can you be more sustainable?
If you are ready to live a sustainable lifestyle, there are many practical and easy habits you can adopt today that would greatly benefit you and the planet.
Single-use products like plastic straws, paper towels and disposable cups are everywhere. And our addiction to these products is destroying our oceans, wildlife and our health. Ditch plastic shopping bags and bring your own when you buy groceries, switch to reusable water bottles and use cloth towels instead of paper towels whenever you can.
There are many ways you can repurpose and reuse the items you bring home. Ever wonder what to do with your old stainless steel water bottles and containers? Containers are great for holding your takeout when you order to-go and your stainless steel waters can be used in the kitchen to hold your ingredients for cooking.
Consider switching to LED light bulbs. These are more energy- and cost-efficient, so you don’t have to swap them out as often.
Save money and conserve energy by line-drying your clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer. You will greatly reduce your carbon footprint and your clothes will last longer because you’ll protect them from the harsh heat of the dryer.
Shop at local thrift stores when you need new clothes. This will save you money, fossil fuels and water resources that come from manufacturing new clothes.
And if you want brand new clothes, shop from brands that are ethical and sustainable. Not only are they conscious about the number of resources used, but they ensure that their garment workers are paid a fair wage and work in a safe environment.
Many items in the grocery stores are needlessly packaged with plastic. So whenever possible, go to the farmer’s market and buy from local vendors. You’re not only supporting the local economy but you’re also reducing your plastic consumption.
Also, consider buying in bulk. Often, bulk items are packaged together, minimizing the amount of packaging used and making them a bit more eco-friendly.
Do-it-yourself items are almost always more sustainable. Make your own cleaning products using natural ingredients (like baking soda, lemons and essential oils) that are far safer for you than store-bought cleaning products.
Go paperless and reduce the number of trees cut down to make them. Most banks and companies offer to send you important emails instead of paper notices.
Recycling is so important because you are reducing the number of resources we use. By recycling the packaging your items come in, it can be reused to make new items.
Gardening minimizes your carbon footprint and saves you money. You won’t have to purchase lettuce packaged in plastic anymore and you won’t have to worry about your plants being sprayed with chemical pesticides. Composting is helpful because you will not only reduce food waste but you will also have fertilizer ready for your garden.
It’s never too late to start living sustainably. By slowly making small changes in your life, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help the planet, its people, plants and animals, and start the process of preventing a global catastrophe.