When you hear the term “sustainable living,” you may immediately start thinking about those people who wear tin foil hats, have a farm in their backyard, and make their own clothes.
However, there are many ways you can make sustainable living practical, and not have to feel like you are living to the extremes.
It has been shown that global warming, resource depletion, and the depletion of the ozone layer are real threats so here are just twelve simple things you can do to live more sustainably.
1. Join a Community Garden
So you do not want to have to worry about the maintenance of a garden in your backyard, you do not have a backyard, or you feel like you do not have a green thumb. Thankfully, you can still get homegrown crops through the use of a community garden.
Community gardens are large plots of land either on someone’s personal property or a designated plot of land owned by the government. They are then run by everyone who wants to take part in working the garden.
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This is a great way to help your community grow, as well as get some homegrown produce. Here is a great video on community gardens by Peakmoment below.
2. Change the Lights
Another very simple step to living more sustainable is to change the lighting in your home. You want all lightbulbs in your house to be energy-efficient, such as CFL. However, you can even reduce the number of lightbulbs needed by letting the sun act as natural lighting.
You can use skylights or increased windows in rooms that you rarely use in the later hours, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Natural lighting has also been found to be easier on your eyes, so you will be reducing the chances for eye strain while reducing your electric bill.
3. Make Trips Efficient
When you prepare to leave your house, make sure you are using your time efficiently. Gasoline is not as cheap as it was back in the 1980’s. While some places see prices lower than just a few years ago, gas is still extremely costly.
Unless you own a vehicle that runs on electricity, then you will be relying fully on fossil fuels. Hybrids are a great way to live sustainably, but an even simpler step is to look at where you need to go and map out your path.
Better than making your trips efficiently is to carpool to your work, school, or other activities. Many cities offer carpooling services, but if they do not, you can always talk to others at your office or activity to see if they are interested in carpooling. If not, consider using public transportation, walking, or biking instead.
5. Work with the Sun
Similar to changing your lighting, working with the sun is a great way to live sustainably. Look at getting up when the sun starts to rise, providing you light, and ending your day when the sun is setting.
This may be difficult if you live in a city with daylight saving hours, but you can still reduce your reliance on unnatural lighting.
6. Recycle or Reuse
Reducing what you eat or own is only possible to an extent. Therefore, focus on purchasing items that you can reuse or recycle. Purchase a BPA-free water bottle to refill throughout the day instead of buying soda or bring your own coffee cup to be refilled.
There are many locations that will actually offer discounts if you bring in your own cups. What you cannot reuse, look to see how it can be recycled to prevent adding to the landfill.
7. Minimize Where Possible
Bigger and more is not always better, especially when it comes to your home. The bigger your house, the more electricity you are going to need to keep it cool, warm, or even lit.
Consider purchasing a house that works with your family size and use everything for as long as possible. Using products for the longest life, allows you more time to save money to purchase the most energy efficient product when your other item finally retires.
8. Clean Naturally
One of the biggest dangers to the environment are the chemicals found in cleaners. There are many natural cleaners available that you likely have in your house. Vinegar, water, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, and lemon are some of the best cleaning agents.
However, quinoa must be rinsed before eating to remove the saponin found on the seeds. Keep this residue, as it is great to wash clothes with and even as an antiseptic.
9. Unplug More
Live more of your life offline and with others. Doctoral student, Sara Thomee, released research in 2013 that showed a distinct connection between depression, increased stress, and chronic fatigue, and heavy use of electronics.
Unplugging lowers your electric bill, but it will also help you to reduce the stress on natural resources that are needed to feed them.
When you go through your home, you will find that you have several items that you no longer need. Consider donating clothes, appliances, and technology to thrift stores instead of keeping the clutter in your home.
In addition, reduce any paper mail that you get by option out of spam mail and opt-in for electronic billing. While mail is recyclable, reducing the paper destroyed sending the mail in the first place is the best option.
11. Rethink Cleaning
Most people feel that they need to bathe themselves daily and wash clothes after only wearing them once. This is true if they are covered in sweat or dirt, but is not the case for normal use.
Washing uses a lot of water, but it also prevents our bodies from developing a natural resistance to bacteria. Consider taking short shower every three days, using a soap filled sponge for dishes, and reducing the amount of laundry to help conserve water usage.
12. Use layers or fans
Whenever possible, reduce the amount of dependency you have on air conditioning and heating. If you live in a location where you can have a fire place, select natural heat over electric or gas.
In addition, consider not turning on the heat until the temperatures drop below 45-degrees Fahrenheit and wear layers, or use blankets, instead. Similarly, in the warmer months, consider opening windows, wearing lighter clothing, and using fans to keep your home’s temperatures down.
Cheers to a More Sustainable Life
As you can see, it is not complicated to take steps to live more sustainably. In fact, you do not need to even do everything on this list at once. The most important thing when it comes to helping out Mother Earth is to make small steps that help give back.
Try selecting just one item and implementing it in your life and know that your small step has had a major effect on our ecosystem.