Sustainable living is a simple term that essentially describes reducing your environmental impact and aiming to live in balance with the Earth. It encompasses a wide range of lifestyle choices, from energy conservation to eating seasonally and buying local, reusable products. It also extends to voting for candidates with platforms that support renewable energy and the protection of natural resources.
The most basic ethos of sustainable living is to simply reduce your overall impact on the environment by taking action on a small scale every day. For example, ensuring your lights are turned off when not in use or making sure your home is well-insulated could significantly lower your energy usage and thus, your environmental footprint.
More specifically, sustainable living seeks to promote greener practices across three broad pillars: environmental, social, and economic. This means focusing on minimising your ecological footprint, supporting the people around you who are trying to do the same and, ultimately, creating a more sustainable, balanced world.
In its most extreme form, sustainable living is often referred to as “off-grid living” and involves the creation of self-sustaining homes that are independent of mainstream fossil fuels and non-renewable sources of energy. These homes utilise a combination of solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy systems, as well as natural rainwater collection, composting toilets and wood-burning heat. They also grow their own food and make use of locally produced goods.
While these types of homes are the very definition of sustainable living, they may not be within everyone’s reach. However, many of the ideas that stem from this ethos can be easily implemented by anyone. For example, switching to electric or hybrid cars can help reduce carbon emissions, while insulating your home and using low-energy appliances are easy ways to conserve energy.
Another popular aspect of this type of lifestyle is embracing the “buy less, buy better” philosophy, which is not only good for the environment but also your wallet. Instead of purchasing all-new, eco-friendly products, simply repurpose existing items such as your old t-shirts and napkins to reduce the amount of new waste you create.
A further idea to consider is supporting small businesses over large corporations when it comes to clothing, furniture and other homewares. This helps support the economy of your local community, and also ensures that your purchases are made responsibly.
The same principle applies to your diet. For example, purchasing produce that is in season allows you to eat at its peak and thereby maximises the nutritional content of your meals whilst reducing the environmental impact of long, gas-guzzling supply chains.
It’s clear that there is a need for more people to embrace the idea of sustainable living. Thankfully, while it may seem overwhelming to take on all the changes that go hand in hand with this ethos at once, it is actually quite straightforward to begin making small changes in your everyday life. Those little steps will soon add up, and you can rest assured that you’re doing the right thing for both your health and the planet’s.