In light of Earth Day on the 22nd April, many people are looking to give themselves a new challenge on the journey to becoming more sustainable.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss what a sustainable lifestyle actually is, why we need to be more environment-conscious and how we can go about doing it.
Let’s get started!
What is a sustainable lifestyle?
A sustainable lifestyle is all about using less of the world’s natural resources so as to protect it for generations to come. We’ve all been aware of the global attempt to use less fossil fuels for quite some time, but this is only half of the battle.
Living sustainably requires us to limit the impact our lifestyle has on the Earth, and aim to replace the resources we use.
Why do we need to be more sustainable?
At the current rate, we’re using far too much of the energy and resources available to us. The way we consume energy, produce new goods and create waste isn’t sustainable, and is having significant consequences for the environment and the wildlife we love.
If we don’t want to lose our favorite animal species, or harm the environment further, we need to reduce our carbon footprint and start getting serious about sustainability.
How can I be more sustainable?
There are plenty of ways we can all become more sustainable. Some are small changes in our daily routine, while others take a little more thought. As a general rule of thumb, those who are looking to be more sustainable need to take more notice of the things they eat, buy and use.
Below are a variety of ways you can become more sustainable through your everyday life.
Reduce your energy consumption
The modern world is heavily run-on fossil fuels. Everything from powering our cars, to charging our phones makes an impact on our own carbon footprint. But our dependency on fossil fuel needs to change dramatically.
According to Carbon Counted, it is expected that resources of fossil fuels will run out somewhere between 2050 and 2070.
The good news is that there are huge changes in the energy industry already occurring. In 2014 alone, $270 billion was invested into renewable energy around the world. And in 2020, the UK managed to create 47% of their electricity through wind and solar for the entire first quarter of the year.
On a smaller, individual scale, you can reduce your own energy consumption by installing a smart meter for your electricity and gas, or researching renewable energy sources that are available in your area.
Another simple way to improve energy efficiency within the home is to switch to energy efficient light bulbs or LEDs and making sure to turn off appliances when they’re not in use.
Switch up your shower routine
While you might not think you can sacrifice your daily showers, perhaps you’ll reconsider when you find out one 8-minute shower uses 17.2 gallons of water. When you consider that only 6,800 gallons of water are required to make food for a family of four for the day, it really puts things into perspective.
To reduce the time you spend in the shower, you can invest in a shower timer, or set an alarm on your phone. Give yourself just enough time to get clean and push the shower thoughts and dilly-dallying away.
You can use less water by using leave-in conditioners or shaving before or after your shower, too.
Another way to limit the number of things you need to do in the shower is try having a ‘No Poo Day’. This challenge encourages people to skip shampooing so as to reduce the amount of water needed for your daily shower.
Most of us go one to two days without showering, but if you can embrace your hair for one extra day, you can save gallons of water.
Some people even go months without using shampoo, as the body’s natural cleaning process starts at around 6 weeks. If you’re brave enough, take on the no poo challenge and see how far you get.
If going without is too much to handle, make sure you’re looking out for natural ingredients – the planet and your hair will thank you later. According to All Things Hair, 91.3% of the people they asked already look at natural ingredients in the hair products they buy. Another survey suggested that 73% of us actively choose natural products over non-natural products, which is great! If you’re not part of these statistics, make sure you do your bit going forward!
Shop at no-packaging stores
It’s also worth mentioning that constantly stocking up on different shampoos and conditioners doesn’t help in the fight against plastic pollution. And it’s the same for pretty much everything we buy.
A new sustainable trend that has grown in popularity over the past few years are zero waste stores. Here, you can take reusable containers to get everything you need, without having to buy anything in one-use packaging. You can stock up on pasta and vegetables, or use empty bottles to fill up on oils, soaps and other liquids.
Why is the battle against plastic so important?
Well, even if you don’t consider the resources needed to produce plastic, think about where it all ends up: Landfill.
Or worse – in the ocean.
According to National Geographic, 73% of the waste found on beaches is plastic. And if it’s on the beach, it’ll no doubt end in the sea. It estimated that 1 million seabirds are killed from plastic consumption every year, while it’s believed a massive 90% of birds and fish have plastic particles in their stomachs.
To live a more sustainable life, you can avoid single use plastics by using reusable containers, bottles and coffee cups. Most coffee shops now offer a small discount for those using reusable cups.
There are a huge number of other ways you can live a more sustainable lifestyle. Of course, a major way to improve is to recycle as much as you can, compost waste and shop local. If possible, you could also work on growing your own vegetables or herbs.
Another way to have a positive impact on the environment is by encouraging others to do the same. The battle towards a more sustainable world isn’t something you can do alone. But it’s not something the world can do without you.
We all need to be more aware of the things around us and how we can reduce our impact on the world.