The Beginner’s Guide to Living Sustainably

The Earth is in dire need of our help today more than ever. With climate change becoming more and more disastrous, everything we do – large or small – helps. We make choices in our lives that affect the environment, even when we’re not aware of it. If we were all more proactive about living a greener life, we could potentially save our planet from further destruction.

Here’s where you can start: 

  1. Stop buying things out of convenience.

things out of convenienceConvenience – or the state of being able to do something with little effort and difficulty – has done more harm than good to our environment. If you think about it, almost all of our daily purchases are born our desire to make life more convenient for ourselves. However, we seldom think about the consequences this mindset has on the environment.

With the rise of single-use items and disposable packaging, it’s easy nowadays to just throw out things once they’ve fulfilled their purpose. But remember: none of the rubbish you produce disappears into thin air.In fact, if they’re not qualified for recycling, your scraps go straight to the landfill. So before paying for that plastic-wrapped sandwich, think about how much more money you’ll save if you made yourself one at home. You’ll be doing the planet a huge favour too.

  1. Practice minimalism.

Many people think minimalism means sleeping on the floor and wearing the same pair of jeans every day. Others believe that becoming a minimalist entails subscribing to purist philosophies, changing your diet or converting to another religion.

You don’t have to go that far. At its core, what minimalism really means is that you make sure everything you own is used to its maximum purpose. No excess, no hoarding, no over-stocking. With a minimalist lifestyle, you will recycle and upcycle more. You will become more mindful about your purchases, reducing the waste you make on a daily basis.

  1. Carry a reusable bag around with you wherever you go.

Did you know it takes around 15 to 1,000 years for a single plastic bag to decompose? Now, just imagine how much bags you’ll be diverting from the landfills if you brought your own reusable bags with you.

When you’re in a shop, refuse the packaging they provide and, instead, drop your newly bought items into your reusable bag. It may seem like a small act but if you used canvas bags for your groceries and regular trips to clothing stores, you prevent more than a hundred plastic bags from polluting our oceans.

  1. Refuse that bottle of water.

water bottlesJust like plastic bags, water bottles are one of the most common waste items in landfills. Water bottles are also made and transported using fossil fuels, an energy source that can also heavily affect the environment.

Instead of buying multiple water bottles a day, bring your own refillable water container. You can save a good amount of cash as well as avoid throwing out empty water bottles in the rubbish bin.

  1. Support local products.

Imported goods are transported through trucks, boats and aeroplanes. If we all started buying more local products, we could help cut down on congestion and pollution from vehicles.

Supporting your local farmers also helps reduce the global food waste problem – you even get fresher produce in the process!

  1. Go digital.

technologyNot all technology is bad for the environment. Instead of turning writing on a pad for all your notes at school or work, type them into a device, be it a laptop or a tablet. Events, movie theatres and airlines now have e-tickets, making it easier to cut back on excessive paper use. Ask for paperless bills from your network and electricity providers if there’s an option.

We need as many trees as possible to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When you use digital alternatives to paper, you save the trees and make our planet a healthier place to live in.

  1. Walk, ride a bike or take public transport.

It may be convenient for you to drive yourself to work but if you only live a few blocks away, go for a walk to take a bicycle instead. This way, you can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere while getting your daily exercise for your health.

Carpooling and public transport are sustainable transport options because they also decrease the use of personal vehicles. This way, you get to meet new people every day and save on gasoline costs – it’s a win-win for you!

  1. Volunteer at a community garden.

When you become a member of a community garden, you can grow your own food, all free of chemicals. You get to eat organically for just a fraction of the cost of buying the same food at the grocery store.

But more than that, you promote sustainable living in your area. Gardens create green spaces – garden waste can be mulched and used as food for healthier soil. They play an important role in offsetting carbon emissions and giving us a better quality of life.

Sustainability is a lifestyle and little changes are all you need to make a difference. The more you can live daily without creating waste, the better your impact on the environment.

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