3 Easy Ways to Protect the Environment with Sustainable Living
Most of us care about the environment we live in and want to do what we can to protect it. Here are three easy ways you can do this with sustainable living.
Despite the ongoing global discussion about the future of the environment, why does it seem so hard to bring about change?
It’s likely because the bar for sustainable living has been set high, perhaps too high.
For those of us not working in government, academia or at think tanks tasked with finding innovative solutions, we need small and simple steps to take in our everyday lives.
In this article, we present three incredibly easy ways to start making small changes that will have a significant impact on the environment.
1. Be a forward-thinking buyer
Being discerning about what you buy and who you buy it from is an easy way to contribute to sustainability efforts.
Let’s take clothes, for example. Globally, the industry that manufactures your t-shirts or jeans produces 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year.
That is more greenhouse gas than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
The fashion and apparel industry also uses 99 billion cubic meters of water, making it the 3rd largest user of water.
How does this matter to you? Well, the resources of this planet appear to be finite. For instance, 71% of the surface of the earth may be water, but as of now only 1% of it is fit for human consumption.
Is it really worth consuming the water we all need, just so you can have yet another T-shirt?
We’re not saying you should not buy the clothes you like. We’re just advocating that you do so in a more mindful way using the following tips:
Buy eco-friendly brands that produce sustainably with as little resource waste as possible. Labels such as Ninety Percent and The Reformation enable you to still buy brand new goods and not feel guilty about it.
Buy things that last longer, so you don’t have to replace them so rapidly. You can do this by choosing brands that pride themselves on producing lasting, high-quality apparel such as Arcteryx, Patagonia and Everlane.
One thing that you should be aware of is that everything produced has a hidden cost, and that cost may not be one you are comfortable with.
It’s worth learning more about the hidden costs behind the clothes we wear: careful, the True Cost documentary might be quite an eye-opener!
2. Be a savvy saver
Did you know that you could start saving the planet right here and now at your home? No need to go far, home is the place.
Below are a few easy tips, recommended by the United Nations, on how to green your home, cause less climate-unfriendly emissions and use less energy and water.
Save electricity by plugging appliances and devices into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use.
Go paperless by stopping delivery of paper bank statements and paying your bills online or via mobile.
Save water by replacing bottled water with a good in-home filtering system (if you like sparkling use a Sodastream), avoiding baths, taking short showers and brushing your teeth with the faucet off.
3. Be a better eater
As with clothes, producing food also comes at a substantial (oftentimes hidden) cost to the environment.
To start with, feeding 7.7 billion people every day surely takes a lot of resources. But, there are certain foods that use up a disproportionate amount of resources and you should be aware of it.
For example, did you know that it takes altogether 2,500 gallons (9,463 liters) of water to prepare one (!) pound of beef? That’s a lot of water for a couple of pieces of steak!!
While we certainly don’t want to interfere with your eating choices, if this current trend continues globally, we could deplete our water resources in your lifetime!
So, what do you do, especially if you are a foodie and don’t want to give up a good and tasty meal? Again, all you have to do is be a little more mindful and start “elevating” what you eat:
Reduce your meat intake and eat more plant-based meals. Not only is this healthier for you internally, but a pound of potatoes, for instance, requires 40 times less water than that pound of beef.
Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad. You can also do this with take-out, saving you money, too.
Eat local foods that are produced closer to home rather than on the other side of the planet. Doing so supports your local economy and eliminates the massive packaging and transportation cost.
To find the nearest farmers market in your town, use the Eat Well Guide.
And if you want to learn more about eating habits that are healthier both for you and the planet, check out the following documentaries:
We recommend you pick your battles, not immediately trying to do it all. It takes time and repetition to build positive habits.
Maybe you focus on the one or two most low-hanging fruits, easy habits that do not ask you much.
Or you start tackling the one thing that in your life produces the most emissions, uses the most resources. The important thing is to start.