Whether you want to reduce your environmental impact or just live healthier, sustainable living is a great choice. But with all the different tips out there, it can be difficult to know what changes really make a difference. We talked to 19-year-old sustainability entrepreneur Devishi Jha for some of her favorite tips.
In short, sustainable living is all about making positive choices that counteract climate change and other negative environmental impacts. It’s a big concept that covers everything from how you drive to what you eat. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of our faves.
1. Invest in fair trade and organic foods.
Choosing to buy ethically produced and environmentally friendly products is one of the most effective ways to practice sustainable living. When possible, choose fair trade goods that support local economies and avoid products with synthetic chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, and dyes. When shopping for groceries, try to stock up on locally grown produce, meats, and dairy whenever you can. These types of products will have a lower carbon footprint since they won’t need to be shipped from far away.
2. Reduce your waste.
A key aspect of sustainable living is reducing the amount of trash you create, especially plastic waste. To cut your waste, avoid buying single-use items, and instead use reusable alternatives. This includes everything from a compostable straw to cloth napkins. If you’re not sure how to start, try ditching disposables for just one day a week. Just one single-use water bottle requires 2,000 times the amount of energy to produce and transport than just tap water, and it ends up in landfills or polluting the ocean, threatening marine life.
3. Drive less and carpool.
When possible, switch to a fuel-efficient or electric vehicle and try to drive less. If you have to commute long distances, consider taking public transportation or riding your bike. It’s also a good idea to carpool with friends and family to further reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Opt-out of junk mail.
It may seem trivial, but reducing the number of paper and electronic bills you receive can drastically cut your environmental footprint. Many sites offer free services to let you opt-out of catalogs, credit card offers, phone books, circulars, and other unwanted mailings. These services not only save you money, but they’re a great way to simplify your life and reduce clutter.
5. Eat a more plant-based diet.
The food you eat has a huge impact on the planet, so eating a more plant-based diet is an easy and effective way to go green. Choosing organic and locally grown produce is a great place to start, but you can also go further by only buying meat from animals that were raised humanely or have been fed plants instead of grains or corn. If you’re not used to building meals around plants, start by trying to skip animal proteins just one day a week.
Achieving a fully sustainable lifestyle is impossible, but there are so many small things you can do to make a difference. Whether you’re trying to stop using plastic straws, cutting out meat one day a week, or signing petitions for change, the little steps add up. So keep up the great work and remember that every action counts!