To live sustainably is to live in harmony with nature — not just the environment around us, but the cycles of living things.
It is a way of living that aims to reduce the amount of negative impact we have on the environment, by limiting our use of natural resources and living in a way that will not harm future generations.
Living sustainably is not just a good idea, it’s good for the environment, since it helps to protect natural resources, reduce pollution, and preserve open spaces.
Top 7 ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle
There’s a reason why there’s more and more talk about sustainable lifestyles and sustainable living with every year that passes. As the world’s population continues to grow, the need to preserve our natural resources becomes increasingly vital.
Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle that don’t require a drastic overhaul of your priorities or immediate sacrifice of your lifestyle.
1. Save energy
Some of you may be surprised to learn that the average American household wastes one-third of the energy it uses. That’s a lot of energy! Don’t worry- there are plenty of ways to save energy at home and still live happily ever after.
In fact, you may be surprised at how easy some of these changes are. Turning off the lights when you leave a room, weatherizing your home, and unplugging appliances when you’re not using them are just a few of the simple things you can do.
In addition, you can replace your light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs like CFLs or LEDs. (If you buy LED light bulbs, be sure to recycle your old ones by dropping them off at your local recycling center!)
2. Use reusable alternatives
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 17% of greenhouse gases are produced by the goods and services we consume.
This number is expected to grow as we get older and more affluent. (For example, China and India are becoming industrialized countries and are joining the world economy.) Yet we don’t have to wait for a new invention to reduce our carbon footprint.
The use of renewable, sustainable energy has a long history, most recently being seen in the development of technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels.
These provide a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, which are known to contribute to global warming and climate change. Using energy that is not only renewable but also sustainable, means that it can be used over and over again, without loss of quality or quantity..
3. Go paperless
We are seeing a trend in the world today where more and more people are moving towards a paperless lifestyle. The idea of living a paperless life has been around for a long time, but today, with the increasing popularity of e-readers, tablets, and smartphones, we are seeing a shift towards a paperless society.
This lifestyle has many benefits, but it is also hard to accomplish, as there are many pieces of paper in the world today, and it requires planning and preparation.
We’ve experienced a lot of technological advancements in recent years. We can view and edit documents on our iPads, take pictures or videos on our smartphones, and even communicate with friends and family from anywhere in the world.
This is great since it means we don’t have to print anything off or send physical letters anymore. Everything is digital, and it’s all stored on our hard drives and in the cloud. But, what is the cost? How much extra energy and resources are we using to power our devices, and how does this affect the environment?
4. Use renewable energy
You’ve heard the mantra: use energy wisely to live a sustainable lifestyle. While it sounds easy, it’s not always simple to incorporate the best sustainable energy practices into your daily life. There are many things you can do to reduce your energy consumption—and save money—while also making a positive difference in the world.
The environmental benefits of using renewable energy are readily apparent. As the cost of using solar, wind and other renewable energy sources has dropped, more businesses and homeowners are switching to them.
Both solar and wind energy are widely available and have no fuel costs, once the initial installation cost is covered. However, there are also many things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your fuel-based energy use.
5. Save water
The United Nations estimates that worldwide, about 1.1 billion people live without sanitation, and 3.4 million people die each year from resulting diseases and illnesses.
More than 80% of deaths from diarrheal diseases in developing countries can be attributed to lack of access to safe water, inadequate sanitation facilities, or both.
This means that you can save a life, just by conserving water.
For example, hand-washing with soap can reduce diarrheal disease rates by 20 to 35%. By showering instead of bathing, you can save up to 500 gallons of water per month.
Even more important than conserving water is conserving the water you already have.
6. Buy fair trade products
If you want to live a sustainable lifestyle, you need to do your best to reduce your environmental footprint.
While many people focus on personal actions, such as putting up solar panels and driving a hybrid car, there are also steps you can take as a consumer—steps that will directly affect the companies that produce the goods you buy every day.
The first way you can do this is to buy fair trade products.
7. Don’t waste food
The global food waste scandal is an ongoing issue. In the developed world, the issue is one of convenience and consumer choice.
In the developing world, the very survival of smallholder farmers is threatened. In both cases, the issue is ultimately one of sustainability.
We are increasingly aware that the world is facing an energy and climate crisis. Increasingly we are also learning about the problem of global food waste and how it is contributing to that energy and climate crisis.
There is an alternative to the global food waste scandal. It’s called food sharing, or food banking. And it is a positive step in the right direction for a more sustainable future.
Going green is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity. As the world’s population continues to grow, more and more natural resources are becoming scarce. (The problem is so serious in fact, that the United Nations recently declared that the world only has 60 years’ worth of resources left.) The good news is that there are tons of ways to reduce your impact on the environment and live sustainably.