Sustainable living has recently become a very hot and growing topic. Many people are starting to understand its importance and adopting a sustainable lifestyle. However, it’s not nearly enough and many more need to join the movement so we could make an impact that we need. But why is it so important?
To put in simple words: we cannot maintain our quality of life as human beings, the diversity of life on Earth, or Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace it, because the alternative is: we will run out of fossil fuels.
Thousands if not millions of animal species are in danger of becoming extinct. We will run out of lumber. We will damage the atmosphere beyond repair. It’s something we must do to preserve our qualities of life and of all of the lives on this planet.
How do we do it?
Change of Mindset
I believe that success in any aspect of life is all about mindset, and here in particular, it’s a key to start making better choices towards sustainable living. Every choice we make and every action we take has a certain impact on others: people, animals and the environment. If we acknowledge and accept that and shift our mindset towards making better choices we are on a right path to make a difference.
One small step at a time
The one thing that can happen when starting to live more sustainably is to focus too heavily on doing many changes at once which can lead to feeling overwhelmed and burned out. When taking this approach, one of the biggest things that I have learned is the value of taking things one step at a time. Start with a few simple changes, stay consistent and make your progress slowly.
Plastic is the enemy
The first step in reducing your impact is to reduce single-use plastic consumption. Plastic is piling up in our landfills, choking the oceans, endangering marine and wildlife and contributing to global warming.
Some facts that show how big the plastic pollution is:
-50 billion water bottles were sold in the US every 12 months.
-About one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually across the globe.
-300 million tons of plastic waste is produced each year around the world.
-Only 10% of single-use plastic is recycled.
-Over 1 million marine animals (including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds) are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean (UNESCO Facts & Figures on Marine Pollution).
-Plastic is made from crude oil which emits significant amounts of pollution and on average it takes about 400 years to biodegrade. Understanding the huge impact the plastic has on the environment should help you make better choices and reduce your footprint.
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle.
Adopting these principles will significantly improve your impact on the environment.
Refuse single-use plastic bags, plastic water bottles, straws and get into the habit of bringing your reusables.
Reduce your consumption and try to buy only what you really need. We live in an era of enormous consumerism. So many times we buy things that we don’t actually need which we end up throwing away.
There are so many things in each and every household that we can reuse. Try to incorporate this in your everyday routine and soon you will notice that you are producing much less waste.
On the other hand there are things that are in your possession that might not be good for its original use but still can be repurposed. Make a cleaning rag out of that old t-shirt for example.
Recycling should be your last resort after you tried all the R’s above. Get your recycling bin in order and sort things properly so that they can be recycled effectively.
I mentioned before that we should reduce our shopping to only what we really need and that is such an important part of living more sustainably.
What you already have and can reuse is the most sustainable option. However, we still need to buy groceries, household goods, clothes etc., and how we do it really matters.
When buying groceries try to buy from local farmers and frequent farmers markets. This way you are supporting your local community, reducing gas usage for transportation, reducing excessive packaging waste and getting the freshest produce possible.
Before shopping do your homework and educate yourself on brands you want to buy from. Check what sustainable practices they have and look for third party certificates that show environmental and social commitment like Certified B Corp, Fair Trade, Green America Certified, Cruelty-free Certified, etc.
When buying, choose plastic-free alternatives, look for items that have a longer lifetime, that are compostable or biodegradable, or can be repurposed or recycled.
Also, stay away from toxic chemicals that can be found in conventional products for cleaning, personal care and beauty. Instead, choose products that are organic, cruelty-free and free from harmful chemicals like SLS, SLEs, parabens, phthalates.
Easy swaps to get you started
We have already seen that single-use plastic items are taking a toll on the environment and the easiest place to get started with is by eliminating everyday single-use items that are most common. And remember, one step at a time!
-Ditch plastic water bottles and get a reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottle.
-Get a Reusable Organic Cotton Bag and never have to worry about all those plastic bags.
The fact that you read this means you've recognized how important sustainable living is and you are ready to take the next step! Hope this blog post will help you do it!
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