There has never been a greater understanding of the link between human and planetary health. More than ever before, we are confronted with our relationship to the natural world and with the necessity of recognizing our dependency and connection with it.
Human activities have undoubtedly warmed the atmosphere, oceans, and land, causing widespread and rapid changes in temperature, oceans, cryosphere, and ecosystem. (NASA)
The goal of sustainable living is to create environmental balance. This is referred to as "net zero life" or "zero-energy balance" with the Earth. To put it another way, anything you take from the earth must be returned to it.
Let's dive into some simple ways to start living more sustainably in your day-to-day life.
Avoid plastic-wrapped food
Unfortunately, most food these days is wrapped in plastic. Many countries produce tons of food packaging waste. You would definitely find many, if not most, plastic materials that wrapped your food if you looked in your bin right now. This is still one of the biggest issues since supermarkets cover almost everything in plastic. You can’t always succeed, but do your best to look for food that isn’t wrapped in plastic. If your town has a zero-waste grocery store, you could also do your shopping there. You will not find individual wrappers encased in cardboard there - just a range of package-free loose products. Not only is it more sustainable, but it is also healthier.
Know your fabrics
When we think about clothes, we often consider how much they cost and whether they are available in our size. Yet few of us think about how it came to be and made its way to us. Many of the fabrics we love to wear are damaging to our planet. Polyester, nylon, and acrylic fabrics emit thousands of tiny plastic microfibers when washed. Fibers like these are washed into our wastewater systems and end up ingested by marine animals. That is why we suggest choosing materials that are environmentally friendly such as organic cotton, organic bamboo, hemp, and linen (made from plants).
Use reusable coffee cups
You probably start your day with a cup of coffee - either at home or on the way to work - and have another when you're feeling sluggish in the afternoon. Many people are unaware of the amount of waste this produces, particularly for those who like to-go coffee. Most of these takeaway coffees are served in a plastic cup. Approximately 10 kg of waste can be generated per year by drinking one cup a day. This leads us to the most cost-saving and effective solution: reusable cups and mugs! The best thing about reusable cups is that they retain their heat for a long time, so you can enjoy your coffee for quite some time!
Use green cleaning products
Unlike conventional cleaning products, green cleaning products are made of non-toxic, safe, and biodegradable ingredients. As well as reducing air and water pollution, green cleaning products help combat climate change and ozone depletion. Some companies love to label their products with catchy buzzwords like 'natural' and 'green.' These words aren't sufficiently regulated. If the item has passed EPA tests or has the EcoLogo or Green Seal logo, you can be sure you're buying eco-friendly, safe products.
Less meat, more plants
Meat lovers might find this difficult to accept, but the industrialization of meat production is one of the major factors contributing to the global warming crisis. Large-scale livestock agriculture, which involves increasing the number of cows and other farm animals, releases massive volumes of methane. Try to reduce your meat and dairy consumption by a few meals a week and consume more plant-based protein food such as lentils, almonds, chickpeas, and nuts. Eating more plants and less meat has also long been known to be beneficial to your health. Plant-based burgers are also a great alternative for meat lovers. You definitely won't regret trying one!
Plant a Tree
If you have a backyard, why not plant a tree? If you don't have one, you could consider donating to some environmental non-profit tree-planting charity. Perhaps you have already done so, and let us briefly remember the benefits. Trees and other plants take carbon dioxide and convert it to much-needed oxygen with the help of sunlight. However, there are just too few plants in the world today that are required to 'resist' the rise in carbon dioxide concentrations. In its lifespan, that single tree you may plant could process up to a ton of carbon dioxide. A single tree can indeed make a great difference.
Use your voice
Use your voice either directly by spreading awareness and advocating for change, or indirectly by ensuring that you make climate-friendly choices in your daily life. You may be doing great on your way to becoming more sustainable, but don't forget about those around you! Tell them about some of the initiatives you're taking and encourage them to join you. You can also share your everyday sustainable habits on social media so you can inspire others to do the same!
Resolving to live more sustainably shouldn't be that difficult. Sustainability does not mean giving up comfort; it means living more harmoniously with the natural world around you. That natural world that has always been the greatest source of inspiration, beauty, and intellectual curiosity is the place we call home. Let's do our best to preserve it!
As always, the change starts within us.