Where environmental concerns are paramount, people often wonder how to live in an eco-friendly sustainable manner. Sustainable living has a myriad of facets and can be done on a grand or small scale. Permaculture, green home renovations (solar panels, tank less water heaters, low-flow faucets), and hybrid/electric vehicles are major sustainable efforts.
However, little steps are just as effective and are a great way to develop permanent earth-friendly habits. Recycling and reducing your electricity usage are painless ways to begin your sustainable journey. In the long run, living sustainably saves you money, reduces your reliance on the corporate machine, and supports a simpler way of life.
1. Give up Plastic. Plastic is one of the most detrimental materials made, maybe ever. Scientists have estimated that, at minimum, it takes 500 years for this material to decompose. Use reusable bags for groceries; invest in a good water filter to avoid having to buy plastic water bottles; use mason jars or better yet reuse the glass containers from store bought items like jelly, salsa, and sauces.
2. Grow your own food. Living in the city is no longer a reason not to have some fresh food on hand. Lot gardens, rooftop gardens, container gardens, even small windowsill herb gardens are an option for anyone who wants to have fresh veggies, herbs, and fruit on hand.
3. Eat Local and Eat Organic. Try to purchase a bulk of your food at local farmers markets. The carbon footprint of imported food is high, which in turn leads to costly food bills. Eating conventional food supports the GMO industry as well as industries that use toxic chemicals that contaminate the food, air, water and soil. Supporting local organic farmers is a great way to both lower your food bill and support your local economy.
4. Ditch Household Toxins. Dangerous chemicals and other contaminants permeate our everyday life in a major way. They are in our food, furniture, body products, cleaning products, water, and in certain instances, our clothes. Next time you run out of your household cleaner, toothpaste, dish detergent, etc., replace them with natural and organic versions that are free of petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and other cancer causing agents.
Living sustainably not only benefits you and your family, but it is a great way to participate in the global effort to reverse the damage that has been done to Earth. It’s time to acknowledge our co-dependency and make a collective step towards changing the way we interact with each other and the environment.