7 min read
Sustainable living is a hot topic of discussion these days, but do we actually know what it means to live sustainably? I too was unclear on this topic and started doing my research. Here I have compiled my findings so that you can use your time “sustainably” instead of wasting it on the same research.
What is sustainable living?
First let’s understand what is the basic meaning of living sustainably. Sustainable living, according to Wikipedia, describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society ‘s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources. I would extend it further to say that self-sustainable living can be implemented by using resources which don’t accumulate or degrade nature. So, it is not just about eliminating your consumption of available resources but to use them consciously and as per your needs.
Benefits of sustainable living
Next, of course would be to learn how sustainable living practices are beneficial. On the broadest level, we can help protect the environment through sustainable living. It will help in extending the life of resources and living species on our planet Earth. By employing sustainable living practices, we can provide a healthy planet for many generations of our human race as well. So, this lifestyle is not about forgoing ones needs and wants (which is the view majority of us have); but to create a healthy environment for humans and other life that belong to this world. This lifestyle will bring in fresh air to breathe, clear drinking water, green forests and hills and many more positive aspects that are required to live a healthy life for many more years.
How to achieve sustainable living
Now, let’s look at the many simple and easy practices/ideas you can implement to live a sustainable life at home itself. You will be surprised as to how easy it is to implement this lifestyle from these sustainable living examples.
1. Stop using plastic
The most effective sustainable living practice is to stop the use of plastic. You can replace many plastic items with wooden, metal or glass alternatives. For example, you can use wooden toothbrush and combs instead of the plastic ones. Do not use plastic bottles, instead you can use steel or copper bottles. Copper bottles also have an added health benefit. This shows how sustainable living is not only good for the environment but also for you. Females can use reusable cotton napkins or menstrual cups during their monthly periods instead of use and throw sanitary napkins. These kinds of napkins cause a lot of damage to the environment. Parents can use washable cotton diapers for babies instead of the “use and throw” diapers. And of course, the most common sustainable living idea you would have received under this topic – carry your own cloth shopping bag (you can even reuse plastic bags you already have). Such small changes can cumulatively have a great positive impact on the environment.
2. Reduce waste
These days “zero waste” has become something like a fashion statement. However, I wouldn’t suggest to completely eradicate waste as I feel waste is not something which can be eliminated completely from your life. But, there are many ways you can reduce it from your life. For example, you can reuse the packaging material you get when you make online purchases, instead of throwing it away. I have written an entire blog post on how you can implement this sustainable living idea. I have also created DIY jewellery organiser from these packaging material.
A big portion of our waste comes from food. One common way to make it useful is to start composting. This compost can further be used to grow your own plants, which is another sustainable living example. I have covered this in more detail in the next point. Another way is to give the leftover cut vegetables such as leafy vegetable stems, cauliflower or broccoli stems to cows. You can even give the leftover food such as rice to pigeons, dogs and other stray animals. Can you see a win-win situation forming up with each sustainable living idea?
3. Grow your own plants
This is a therapeutic sustainable living idea. I am sure you have heard people saying that gardening helps to relax your mind. Then why not implement it and keep your mind, body and environment safe and healthy? By growing your own plants, you are also aware of what you are feeding your plants. So, you can be sure that there are no chemical pesticides or insecticides used, which is one common problem you would face while purchasing vegetables/ fruits from stores. There are many plants you can grow at your home ranging from flowers to herbs to tomatoes and curry leaves. You can get their saplings not just from online store but from local vendors, which is yet another way of sustainable living. Can you see the pattern of how everything is linked to one big goal of creating a healthy environment for all?
4. Support local business
The carbon footprint of making online orders especially from abroad is quite high due to the packaging and flight transport. So, it is best to purchase items found locally. It not only helps the environment but it will also help in the economic growth of the place you live in. There are many health benefits as well when you consume food purchased locally. Every place has certain foods which grow there naturally during a specific season. It would be best to consume this type of food for optimal health. By purchasing local foods you also help the small time vendors to make a living. You can also purchase slightly bruised fruits/vegetables as it will still be good on the inside. This also helps in reducing waste, another sustainable living practice covered previously. All these points are interconnected like the circle of life. There are many local businesses which also donate or help the environment and animal lives from their profits. I would like to mention our company PrettyKnotts as we sell handmade products with the purpose of helping community animals. Check out our site to know more. I am sure you can find many more similar businesses in your locality.
5. Avoid fast fashion
With the growing amount of social media usage everyone wants to look and dress like everyone else. In this process we end up purchasing so many clothes, using it once or twice, and then throwing it away. There is also a concept that you can’t be seen wearing the same outfit to any function or event. I have always been against this idea not knowing that it comes under sustainable living. You can just maintain certain staple pieces in your wardrobe and mix- n -match to create many unique looks. You not only save money from not buying new clothes but you will also receive more compliments than before. There are also many online shopping stores these days where you can purchase second hand clothing. This is a great way when you still want to go shopping for clothes but want to live a sustainable life as well. What about slightly torn clothes? You need not throw them away -there are many ways you can re-stitch them and use. Let your creative mind go wild. If none of these sustainable living ideas are working for you, the next best thing you can do is donate your clothes. Not just to orphanages and old age homes, but you can donate even to animal shelters (especially towels, blankets and bedsheets). This way you can be sure that your clothes are being put to good use instead of lying in the garbage bin.
6. Conserve energy
The last sustainable living practice I would like to touch upon is things you can do to conserve energy. There are many small actions you can do to achieve this; I am sure you would have heard many of these already. For example, switch off lights when you don’t need it. Take bath from a bucket of water instead of the shower or bathtub. You yourself can experiment on this to check how much water you will be saving by following this sustainable living practice. Run the shower for the amount of time you would take with a bucket placed below it. You will be surprised how much you are saving in just one bath session. The same thing applies to washing cars as well. Use a bucket of water rather than the hose pipe. Another water conservation tip would be wash your used vessels immediately or at least rinse them completely. For fuel conservation, ensure that you check the fuel efficiency when you are purchasing any gadget or appliance. This can be easily done with a quick search on internet of the product you are planning to purchase.
These small changes in your daily life have a huge positive impact on the environment – then why not just implement them? You can start slow, one step at a time. I myself have recently started making decisions consciously towards a sustainable life. It is a continuous journey and no one is perfect. All that matters is that you are putting some effort at least in the right direction. I hope that this article has helped you in the right direction.
We would love to know more sustainable living ideas and how you are implementing a sustainable lifestyle. Leave them in the comments below so that others also can be encouraged by your journey.
All the best for your sustainable living journey!