Any sustainable living guide worth it’s salt is crystal clear on what sustainable actually means.
We recently looked at the definition of the word “sustainable” here on Whole People.
We typically define sustainable as: “an action taken today to meet our needs which doesn’t impact on the needs of future generations.”
Now, we’d like to turn our attention to sustainable living and how to live a sustainable lifestyle.
What is sustainable living?
And how do you begin to live a sustainable lifestyle?
What Is A Sustainable Lifestyle?
It is a way of living that makes an effort to reduce personal or societal consumption of both our own resources and the Earth’s resources.
In short, it’s a constructive way to live which sees you taking an active role to make the world a better place.
If you know that climate change and resource exhaustion are real…
If you are concerned about the deforestation of the world and the extinction of plant, insect and animal species…
Then you have to help! And the way to help?
It’s by living a sustainable lifestyle.
How To Practice Sustainable Living?
Depending on your situation in life there may be thousands of actions that you could carry out to live more sustainably.
It would be impossible to list them all but here are some pointers that we feel can get most people heading in the right direction.
Just, please, take this as a start rather than the final destination.
Eliminate Plastics Wherever Possible
Plastic is a brilliant invention or at least, it was a brilliant invention.
Now, we understand that it never goes away. It doesn’t break down or decompose. It may be millions of years before the plastic you throw out today is finally broken down.
It pollutes everything on earth. It pollutes everything on land.
It’s easy to stop using plastic bags, plastic straws, and other plastic containers and the impact you have is measurable.
Many of us throw out a ton of plastic or more in our lives.
Read Kathryn Kellog’s 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste for practical strategies and tips and tricks for a zero-waste lifestyle.
There are also a variety of apps you can use to improve your personal sustainability.
Choose Renewable Energy Sources
You may find that choosing solar panels for your home quickly pays for itself – many places offer tax credits, rebates or grants to help with the initial costs.
Being able to sell some of the electricity you make back to the grid can help too.
You might also want to pick up the phone and call your energy provider and ask if they have any schemes which help you offset the carbon emissions that they create right now.
Put An End To Junk Mail
Forests can be sustainable. For every tree that is cut down to make paper, two are planted.
Yet, creating paper waste for the sake of it is still not sustainable.
Landfills are full of endless paper junk mail that nobody ever wanted or needed.
This paper waste rots and creates methane – a major greenhouse gas.
Use www.catalogchoice.org and other similar websites to opt out of mailing lists and cut down on the garbage you create, instantly.
Buy A House Which Fits Your Needs
Heating, lighting, insulating, etc. they all cost money and they all cost the planet dearly.
We’re not suggesting that you try and move your family into a studio apartment here, but we are suggesting that you might want to think about the space you really need before buying your next home.
Not only would a smaller house save money at the time of purchasing but it will continue to save you money every single month you live there.
This is not just eco-friendly, it’s wallet-friendly too.
Think Minimalism All The Time
We’re sure that Marie Kondo would approve of the minimalist life too. This means keeping your consumption to a minimum.
Don’t buy things you don’t really need or want. Make sure to use the things that you do own.
Not only will this help you lead a sustainable life, but it can also help free you to enjoy life more.
When you’re not living to consume; you find that you have far more time and money to come to grips with the things you do care about.
Try Natural Cleaning Products
You don’t have to buy harsh chemical products to clean much of what you own.
Vinegar and water, for example, are perfectly excellent for cleaning most surfaces and are particularly excellent for windows.
If you spend some time researching online, you can replace almost all your cleaning products with natural alternatives.
You may well find that you save a small fortune doing this too as many natural products are very inexpensive.
For additional information on choosing the best natural organic cleaning products don’t miss our guide to the top nine best choices.
Don’t Drive If You Don’t Have To
Cars consume huge amounts of unnecessary oil each year and contribute their exhaust fumes to the global warming crisis.
One of the easiest things most people can do in their lives is use their car less often.
Walking is good for you. Science shows that walking 30 minutes a day can help you live a longer, happier and healthier life.
Cycling can help you cover longer distances. If you do have to use a car – can you share it with someone? Every little bit counts when it comes to reducing the ecological burden.
Try Sleeping In A Natural Fashion
If you were to sleep when it was dark and wake when the sun arose; you’d use a lot less electricity in the home.
That’s because one of the biggest uses of power in modern society is artificial lighting.
There’s no need to be up all night long and then snore through the dawn chorus; this is a fairly recent luxury.
Only 100 years ago, everybody would have slept when the dusk was over.
It’s the way we were designed to live in harmony with our environments.
Read And Play Games
Just in case you were thinking that this lifestyle needs to be burdensome and lacking in fun, quite the contrary.
Spending time reading can help you broaden your understanding of sustainability and allow your life to become ever more balanced with nature.
Playing games isn’t just fun, it’s also a form of entertainment which doesn’t consume power or resources.
Yes, having a good time with your family is your duty to the planet.
That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Learn The Three Green “R’s”
No ‘riting, reading and ‘rithmatic here.
We’re talking about the three new “R’s” which actually all begin with the letter R.
They are reduce, reuse and recycle.
Simply ask, what can you reduce or eliminate the use of in your life? If you can’t reduce or eliminate can you reuse it?
If you can’t, can it at least be recycled?
They are listed in order of sustainability.
It’s better to give something up than to reuse it but it’s also better to reuse than to recycle and recycle is better than just chucking things away as we do now.
Final Thoughts on Sustainable Living
Living a sustainable lifestyle means doing your bit to ensure the future of our planet for our children and their children. It means taking less and giving more.
It doesn’t need to be expensive, in fact, in many cases it can be much cheaper to live sustainably.
It can also be a lot of fun.
Once you change your mindset to live a sustainable life; it becomes a super challenge that lets you see the impact you can have on the world around you.
It’s the best way to live.
For more strategies on living naturally check out our Guide to Natural Living.