Insight: Sustainable Living? Here are 5 easy ways to start
Starting a sustainable lifestyle is not as hard as you think. There are so many ways to start a sustainable living. By definition, sustainable living is a philosophy that aims to reduce personal and societal environmental impact by making positive changes to reduce "carbon footprint". The challenge is sustaining it. Ironic isn't it? The challenge is to sustain your sustainable lifestyle amidst the culture of instant gratification.
We live in a world that promotes a culture of impatience and instant gratification. The younger generation has become more accustomed to getting things at the click of a button, so to speak instantly. But among the younger generation as well, there is an awareness of living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Advocates of sustainable living attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, consumption of energy, and change in diet. The goal is to conduct their lives in more ways than one that is consistent with sustainability. You can calculate your carbon footprint here.
According to WHO, 13 million deaths worldwide are related to environmental causes that could be prevented or avoided. The challenge for you is to do your part in taking care of the environment so that you do not just protect yourself but also contribute to the bigger picture.
Here are some easy steps to start your sustainable living journey:
- Reduce Energy Consumption
Make it a habit to turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Heater and Air Conditioners consume the most electricity in an ordinary household. Computers, televisions, and other electronics are next on the list. What you need to do is unplug seldom used electronics and turn off heating and cooling appliances when not in use.
Switch to LED bulbs. Get rid of those incandescent light bulbs. This will consume 75% less energy. LED bulbs are not just affordable. They are also easy to find in any local hardware store. LED bulbs give brighter lumens with lesser power consumption.
Prevent "Phantom" Energy loss. Use power strips for multiple gadgets. When electronic gadgets are not in use, switch off the power strip to prevent phantom energy loss. The computer goes to sleep when not in use. This still consumes some electricity. A simple click of a button to power it off is a big energy saver. This goes with other computer accessories as well.
- Drink from Tap - be Water Wise
Fact: The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 is a legislation that was aimed at improving public health. The act ensures public drinking water supplies are safe from contamination.
This means that there is no need to buy bottled mineral water, distilled water, or any other processed and bottled water available in the supermarket. Your tap water is potable. You can drink directly from the tap.
- Drive Green
Fact: Pollution is one of the biggest killers in the world. An average American breathes 2 gallons of air per minute including air pollution which takes away up to 2 years of a typical human life. It can cause burning eyes and itchy throat and other breathing problems.
You are contributing to air pollution in more ways than one, but you can reduce your carbon footprint with the following:
Use a bike. In your short trips to the park, going to work, doing an errand, a bike is a good alternative. Your carbon footprint for an hour trip to the office is with a diesel car is at about 0.006 t CO2 which if done 5 times a week, multiplied to a year. Your carbon footprint plus all other people who drove their cars to work with you.
Walk and Exercise. You can have Mondays your 'walk and exercise day'. Instead of taking a car walk to work. Take the bus or take the train. It does not just lessen the carbon footprint but it makes you healthier. Exercise once a week for health and the environment.
Green Car. If you have the means to buy a green car then this might be the time. There are fuel-efficient cars available in the market.
The Clean Air Act of 1970 is the first law that regulated air pollution on a national level in the U.S. In 1990, it was amended to address ozone depletion and acid rain problems, and the promotion of overall air quality.
- Rethink Shopping Habits
Boycott products that endanger wildlife. Stop buying products that come from animal leather. Alternative leather products are available that mimic the texture and quality of animal leather. These are not just eco-friendly and cruelty-free but also affordable. With GNL Accessories, there is one tree planted every product you buy. It is always a win-win situation.
Lesser trips to the supermarket. If you go to the market every week, it might be best to do it every two weeks or twice a month. Lesser trips to the grocery store mean a lesser carbon footprint. Small things like this matter in the long run.
Pay attention to the label. The fine print says everything you need to know about the product. Make sure you buy only those that can contribute to sustainable living.
Go plastic-free. Plastic is one of the environmental top problems because it is non-biodegradable. Bring reusable bags when you shop or go to the grocery stores.
- Eat a Plant-Based Diet (Or the Most Sustainable Diet)
Make sustainable food choices. You might want to go plant-based when it comes to your diet. Being a vegetarian is one of the sure ways in helping the environment. Eating a plant-based diet also gives benefits to your health. They are not hard to find. Last year McDonald's launched a vegan burger. Burger King launched theirs a year before. Going meatless is a must-try, at least once in your life, not just because it is the healthier option but because it also will help the environment.