Start your journey of a Sustainable Lifestyle
A sustainable lifestyle is a reason why human civilization has flourished throughout the millennia, coexisting peacefully with our environment.
However, after the Industrial Revolution, our way of living has dramatically changed. We are mass-producing and consuming our resources in an irreconcilable manner, without thinking about the waste generated and how it affects our environment.
Every activity we do has a direct and indirect impact on our surroundings, which can either be positive or harmful for the environment. I am sure that you must have noticed all the waste, climate change, extinction of species, and so many avoidable circumstances that can be brought under control.
I have put together a guide of 8 simple steps for you that can be followed every day with ease.
These steps will help you adopt a Sustainable Lifestyle and become a more conscious citizen of the world while contributing so much love to the environment. Think of it in this way- Your actions today will guarantee a clean and green Earth for your children and grandchildren.
Plant trees (at least one every year)
I know that we are way past listing down the importance of trees, yet we make little effort in this area. To be consistent in planting trees, you can choose one particular day, such as your birthday, anniversary, World Environmental Day, or any day that you like. Plant at least one tree that day- each year, and take care of it. As the saying goes,
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
2. Switch to Eco-friendly products
Every single plastic item you ever discarded still exists in a landfill, in the ocean, or under the soil. Many companies have come up with alternative Sustainable Lifestyle solutions for all of our plastic needs.
Products you can swap out immediately:
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste tube
The first plastic toothbrush ever made still exists on the Earth. Bamboo toothbrushes are available in the markets in a number of designs and options. They are available in the same price range as your normal plastic toothbrush. There are toothpaste tablets like Bite and tooth powders available to replace the plastic tube
- Hairbrushes and combs
Wooden, bamboo combs and brushes as alternatives can be found in stores and have been around since before the plastic ones came into the markets.
Buying or making shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap in a solid bar form will not only be environmentally safe but will also be convenient to carry while traveling. People who menstruate can switch to menstrual cups and cloth pads. Instead of plastic razors, use metal ones.
- Plastic containers
Use glass jars, metal jars and containers, instead of plastic ones.
- Single-use cutlery
We often buy single-use items at house parties or traveling to be able to dispose of them for convenience, when you can actually have your personal set of cutlery in such cases. Steel and wooden plates, spoons, forks, and knives are excellent choices. Metal straws are a great alternative for plastic straws.
- Single-use bottles and cups
Carry your personal refillable bottle wherever you go. If the availability of clean water is your concern, there are water purifying filters and bottles made especially for this purpose and are completely safe.
While getting a coffee at your local cafe, carry your mug with you instead of buying their single-use paper/plastic cups.
- Plastic bags
Plastic bags are never a good idea when you have chic alternatives to them like cloth tote bags, paper bags, and baskets. Always carry a compact reusable bag with you while stepping out, which will guarantee that you won’t have to buy a plastic bag from any store.
Buy products as you Need not Want
If we look at the fashion industry, making one T-shirt requires approx. 3000 liters of water. Items that don’t get sold end up in the trash. Washing, drying, and ironing of clothing needs more water and energy. We can be more conscious by limiting our consumption of products, be it clothes, gadgets, or anything else.
Walk, use a bicycle or public transport
Instead of using a car as an individual to commute to work, eat, or travel, you can switch to public transportation systems. You can choose a bus, train, and metro, or simply walk if the destination is close by. You can also carpool with colleagues to get to work.
Eat local food
By eating locally grown food, not only will it keep you more healthy but it will also keep the embodied energy of your food to a minimum.
Grow your own food and compost the kitchen waste
You can ensure the quality and safety of food by growing your vegetables and fruits by yourself. It is cost-efficient, healthy, and gardening is an activity that has proven to have a positive effect on humans! Composting can reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills from your house. The leftover food and scrap from vegetables can easily be composted to use as a fertilizer for your plants.
Track your carbon footprint
A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. (Source: Wikipedia)
Each time a person uses an appliance, buys a product, travels, burns fuel, or does any activity, the greenhouse gases emitted are taken into consideration under their entire carbon footprint. By keeping a check on their carbon footprint, one can become more cautious hence conscious of their environmental impact. The key to a Sustainable Lifestyle is to keep a tab on everything that you do.
The classic 3R’s principle- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This principle can be applied to any and every product, be it non-decomposable or eco-friendly.
If something needs fixing, Restore it then reuse it. The easiest way to do this is to practice DIY, look up creative ways online to make the best of a product. You can also practice thrift shopping and reselling items.
Following these few steps can dramatically increase your positive contribution to the well being of the environment.
Starting small is the key. One cannot expect to be able to achieve all of these in a go, but starting from 2-3 steps and then expanding your practice steadily will be more practical and effective.
The only thing to keep in mind while starting your Sustainable Lifestyle practice: If you have a lot of plastic products around you and you want to switch, Do not throw out products that are still in a good condition. Do not unintentionally create more waste, which can easily be avoided. The next batch of products you buy can be a sustainable replacement.
I promise you, your efforts will leave you feeling happier and healthier than before.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children
-Native American Proverb