Looking for ways to live a more sustainable living? We’re hearing every day how critical it is to encourage actionable change, given the levels the climate crisis has reached. We all need to be doing our part.
Thankfully, there are literally hundreds of different things you can do on a daily basis to make your life more future-earth conscious. Many of these are easy to adopt as regular habits.
These are some of our favorites. They’re also going to make a big difference. And, some are just good skills to have in your back pocket!
What is Sustainable Living?
People often confuse sustainable with eco-friendly. But the two aren’t the same thing.
What does sustainability mean? It means an item or action is generating environmental, social and economic benefits, while not using up too many resources or causing pollution. It focuses on the future. Something that’s sustainable doesn’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
So what can you do to be more “sustainable”?
9 Easy Tips for Sustainable Living
1. Reduce meat consumption
According to research, avoiding meat (and dairy products) is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact. In fact, new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75%.
We’re not saying you need to go vegan here, just reduce the amount of meat you eat. Or choose meat that has a smaller climate footprint. For example, beef and lamb have the highest impact, so opt for chicken or fish. Or just cut down consumption. If you currently eat some type of meat every day, cut back to every other day.
2. Take a Tote
I don’t know of many grocery stores nowadays that don’t make you pay for plastic bags. That’s a step in the right direction. But what about clothing stores, home stores, shoe stores… the list goes on? Those plastic bags take up to 1000 years to decompose. So, stash a few reusable tote bags in your trunk or fold one away in your pocket so you never have to say yes to “do you need a plastic bag” again!
3. Plant a Garden
Growing veggies and herbs is something you can easily do, no matter where you live. And it’s friendly to your bank account as well as the environment. Plant based on your family’s favorites, or what grows best together.
Depending on where you live, this advice might seem a bit late, but there are plenty of ways to do this no matter the climate in your area. A windowsill garden is a great (and easy) idea. Herbs are perfect for indoor gardens. Plus, there are definite benefits to having those plants in your home for air purification.
Read This Next: These are some of the best indoor plants for air quality.
This one’s pretty common sense. We know that landfills are a major problem. Trash sitting there releases methane as it decomposes. And methane is one of the most destructive greenhouse gases.
By composting as much as you can, whether by building a composting bin in your backyard or taking advantage or your local weekly pickup, you can reduce the amount of waste sitting in those landfills. Also, composting helps in other ways – when it’s used as a fertilizer it creates healthy soil. It helps the soil retain water and isolates more carbon dioxide!
5. Take the Zero plastic challenge
And, as I mentioned earlier, plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose. But it isn’t just our land that’s hurt by it. According to National Geographic, each year about 8.8 million tons of plastic trash flows into the ocean. I don’t think I need to tell you how harmful this is. You’ve seen the images. You’ve heard the horror stories. Plastic is not our oceans’ friend.
Try to avoid buying or using plastic of any kind. Don’t buy groceries in plastic. Take your lunch in reusable glass containers. Skip the ziplock bags. Take your reusable mug and water bottle with you.
6. Shop Local
Shopping locally not only benefits others in your community, it’s also great for the environment.
How? It’s simple, really. The fewer steps it takes to get the product to the end consumer, the fewer emissions making their way into our environment. It also encourages the continued growth of plants in our local areas!
7. Go natural with your cleaning routine
Some of the cleaners we use in our homes are so full of chemicals. And those chemicals make their way into the air we breathe and the environment around us.
Instead, making your own cleaning products that are less toxic is a great way to reduce your impact. Natural ingredients such as vinegar (a great natural disinfectant) and baking soda (good for tough stains) are just as effective but safe for your health, and the environment. This also eliminates the need for all the plastic containers.
8. Save dinners out for very special occasions
How many times per week do you go out to eat? Or order in? These are not only costly options, they have an impact on the environment.
Instead, focus on making your meals at home, with local ingredients. This way, you reduce food waste, not to mention the environmental impact of the drive there or delivery service. Those are small differences that are easy to cut out – and they add up.
9. Start Sewing
If the button comes off your jeans, do you know how to sew it back on? If there’s a tear in the seam of your favorite shirt, does that mean it gets tossed? Get the most out of your clothes and shoes by learning how to sew. Knowing the basics can lead to more sustainable living with less waste.
We’re all in this together, and taking baby steps to reduce our impact on the environment can have a major impact overall. These tips don’t take a lot of effort. You can start doing them right now. Think to the future, and know that you’re doing Mother Nature (and future generations) a solid. Go you!