What is sustainable living?
Sustainable living is a way of life that allows us as humankind to reduce personal as well as environmental impact on our Earth, by making a positive change to counteract things like climate change, landfill pile-ups, and pollution in general, as well as other negative environmental impacts. To be simple about it, with a phrase we are all familiar with, reducing one’s carbon footprint.
What does it mean to reduce one’s carbon footprint?
Basically, it means adopting a lifestyle that allows us to minimize our use of the Earth’s natural resources as well as reduce the damage done by humans on the environment. The goal is to achieve an equilibrium of human interaction with the environment.
Sustainability & habits
When we think about sustainability, we think about things like reusing our plastic shopping bags and recycling. However, sustainability is not just about this. If you want to put it in a nutshell, sustainability is actually building strong, and of course sustainable green habits. By this I mean not just remembering every once in a while to reuse that plastic bag or remembering to recycle that empty bottle of water you just bought. I’m talking about getting into the routine of noticing those simple things you do every day that actually has a major impact on our environment.
It’s about minimizing your impact in such a way that it becomes a routine to use fewer items that cause pollution and negatively impact our beautiful planet.
So why is sustainability important?
People use 90 billion tons of natural resources each year. There’s a reason to start with. As of 2010, South Africa has been ranked 11th out of the countries with the most mass mismanaged plastic waste. We as humans tend to have bad systems, our way of thinking opts for convenient solutions to problems rather than sustainable solutions to problems. This is where our mindsets need to shift. We need to make use of long term thinking, as tricky as it may be to notice the rewards of a long term investment, reducing our waste overall will have phenomenal long term effects for us, as well as for future generations. We face many environmental problems, as we all know, one cannot change the past, but we can start now and improve our ways of living but making sustainable choices in our lives and building clean habits for our future as well as for those generations to come. So next time instead of opting for the cheaper quick fix, opt for the more sustainable one.
How do we build sustainable habits?
Whenever I do research as to how to start something new, being a new skill I wish to develop or something I wish to try for the first time. I always seem to find the same answer no matter what it is I wish to learn. That answer is, just start. Just start small, start with the things you can do now. Make a conscious effort to keep track of those things and to do them daily/ monthly/ however often they need to be done. That way you will build a habit out of it. When it comes to wanting to start a greener lifestyle, it helps to first track your waste. Track how many coffee cups you have disposed of from coffee dates or on the go take-aways, how many toothbrushes, plastic bags, plastic from everything you use like buying meat or bread, makeup, toiletries. I can honestly go on about this, but the point is to keep track. Once you have gathered a more or less number. Use that as your motivation to make your change as well as stick to building strong and greener habits. With even the smallest changes, you will make a big difference.
Lastly, educate yourself. Educate yourself about our current lifestyles that cause harm to our planet. Education, in general, can make a massive impact on the choices people make when it comes to informed decisions, and those choices can make a massive difference in more than one way. So make your choice a positive one, that reduces your impact and carbon footprint on our beautiful Earth.