Everyone wants to live greener, but it can be hard to know where to start. Green solutions have a reputation for being poor substitutes, cost-prohibitive, or in many cases, both. But there have been a lot of advances that challenge these old stereotypes.
So, What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living refers to the practice of meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This means living in an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically viable way.
Sustainability is vital for the environment because it helps to preserve natural resources and reduce pollution. It is important for society because it promotes social justice and contributes to the well-being of communities, and important for personal well-being because it can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
Now we’ve cleared that up, let’s take a look at several positive changes you can make to start living more sustainably.
There are many simple steps we can take to reduce our energy consumption at home. One of the most effective is using energy-efficient appliances, which use less energy to perform the same functions as traditional appliances. Other best practices include sealing drafts around windows and doors to prevent heat loss and adjusting thermostats to use less energy for heating and cooling.
In addition to these measures, you can also consider using renewable energy sources to power your home. Solar panels (which we’ll come onto next), wind turbines, and geothermal systems are all options that can help us reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
Transportation is another major contributor to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce our impact in this area by using public transportation, carpooling, or simply walking or cycling instead of driving.
Take Advantage of Solar Power
Solar power isn’t new, but many people don’t realize how far this technology has come in a relatively short period. Solar energy isn’t just for homes and buildings anymore—now you can use it anywhere you go. Developers have put a lot of emphasis on portability and versatility, which has led to some very cool new tech. Two of the most exciting advances are portable solar generator and portable power stations.
Portable solar panels come in many sizes and configurations; you can use them to power an RV or campsite, but you can also use them to charge a portable power station. Portable power stations act like batteries and can store solar-generated power for later use anywhere you want. Choosing a portable power station depends on where you want to take it and what you want to use it for—there are many sizes with different storage capacities.
Switch to Ultra Concentrated Detergent
Have you ever looked at the ingredients of your laundry detergent? Many people are unpleasantly surprised to discover that most laundry detergents are mostly water. Detergent isn’t cheap either—that’s a lot of money to pay for water. Expense aside, traditional laundry detergent containers waste a lot of plastic, which is terrible for the environment.
A few companies are now offering an alternative that is better for both the environment and your wallet: ultra-concentrated detergents. These liquid detergents are essentially the same as their predecessors but with less water. Concentrated detergents come in much smaller containers—which saves a lot of plastic—and last just as long since you need much less to wash a load of laundry. They’re also usually cheaper than the many popular detergents. That’s a win-win!
Water is a precious resource, and it is important that we use it wisely. There are many simple ways to save water at home, such as fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, and using a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways.
Installing water-saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and dual-flush toilets can help reduce water consumption considerably. Another option is to harvest rainwater or greywater (water from sinks, showers, and washing machines) for irrigation or other non-potable uses.
Reducing waste is another essential part of sustainable living. One of the most effective ways to do this is by recycling and composting, which can help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Other strategies include reusing items instead of buying new ones and looking for products that are made from recycled materials in the first place.
Food waste is another area where we can make a difference. By meal planning and storing food properly, we can reduce the amount of food that goes to waste. Using leftovers and finding creative ways to incorporate them into meals is another excellent (and often overlooked) way to reduce household food waste.
Take Your Business to B Corps
Nowadays, businesses can have enormous social and political influence. Large corporations have a reputation of being untouchable—many can weather environmental or political scandals without going out of business. It’s hard to hold them accountable. Luckily, consumers can now turn to B Corps.
B Corps-certified businesses are for-profit companies that meet rigorous environmental and social standards. These businesses must maintain transparency and accountability about their social and ecological practices, and these practices should have positive impacts.
B Corp products are becoming more common—you can find many B Corp-certified products in your local grocery store at competitive prices. You can also feel good about buying from a B Corp; every dollar spent supports the evolution of green business. It’s also lost profit for businesses that don’t adopt the same standards.
Supporting Conservation Efforts
Supporting conservation efforts is an important way to live sustainably and help protect the planet for future generations. There are many ways you can get involved, depending on your interests and resources. Here are a few ideas:
- Donate money to organizations that work to protect natural resources and biodiversity. These organizations often rely on the generosity of donors to fund their programs and initiatives.
- Volunteer your time to help with conservation efforts. Many organizations rely on volunteers to help with tasks such as habitat restoration, beach cleanups, and wildlife research.
- Support conservation through your consumption habits. For example, you can choose products that are sustainably sourced and support companies that have strong environmental practices.
- Spread the word about conservation issues and the importance of protecting natural resources. Share information about conservation efforts on social media, and encourage your friends and family to get involved.
- Get involved in local conservation efforts. Many communities have local conservation organizations or groups that work to protect natural resources. You can get involved by joining these groups and volunteering your time to help with their efforts.
Making environmentally-friendly choices when we shop is another important aspect of sustainable living. Look for eco-labels that certify that a product has been produced sustainably, and try to avoid single-use plastics whenever possible. Supporting local and ethical businesses can also help to promote sustainability within the community.
Another way to reduce our overall consumption is by borrowing or sharing items that we would otherwise use infrequently instead of buying them. This can be a great way to save money and resources and build stronger local communities.
Sustainable living no longer has to be a lifestyle for those who can afford it. With slight changes to things like your energy use, laundry, and shopping choices, you can live a greener lifestyle with green energy and that’s good for you and for the planet environment.