This year the theme of our World Environment Day is to Reimagine, Recreate, Restore. As we celebrate this day on the 5th of June, we cannot help noticing the urgent need of restoring our Earth’s ecosystem. This necessity is vibrating all around us. Hence, we need to come together, join hands, and take the resolution to save mother nature from any more decay and damage. Adopting sustainable living practices can immensely help us in accomplishing this resolution. If we want to live, it is high time we started living more sustainably!
What is sustainable living?
Sustainable living is primarily a practical philosophy about living our lives. This philosophy emphasises reducing the personal and societal impact on the environment by making some positive changes. And these changes counteract harmful climate change and other negative environmental variations. In short, by adopting sustainable living practices we can reduce our carbon footprints and make our planet earth a better liveable habitat.
Sustainable living implies that we prioritize the usage of natural and renewable resources in place of creating excess waste. These living practices can encourage people to preserve the Earth’s already existent natural resources and reduce the detrimental impact of human and environmental interaction.
Why sustainable living practices?
Truth be told, we have forgotten that we only have one habitable planet that we can we call our home. That is our planet Earth (disregarding the hypothetical sci-fi assumption). The ecosystem has been greatly damaged, and global greenhouse gas emission has risen significantly. The destruction of animals’ natural habitat has brought about a catastrophic impact. We can already witness this disastrous impact by the arrival of the novel coronavirus. And it seems that this rampage of COVID-19 will not end soon. This is why our mother earth needs our love and attention more than ever. Sustainable living makes us mindful and cautious about how we use our day-to-day home appliances, commutes, shopping trips, food consumption etc. Hence, to protect and improve our environment, we need to adopt sustainable living practices.
Beginner’s guide to sustainable living practices:
The ecosystem loss is depriving our world of carbon sinks such as forests and peatlands. So, it should be our topmost priority to put our ecosystem restoration on a pedestal. To achieve this goal, we need to start living more sustainably.
For the sake of making the integration of sustainable living practices easier, here are some easy and comprehensible pointers:
Back to the basics:
In reality, there is no perfect picture of sustainable living practices. It is completely a personal interpretation. Always remember that the most sustainable thing is already in your possession, so start by reducing your consumption. For example, instead of turning off the light while leaving home, consider switching your bulbs to more energy-efficient ones. Moreover, start being more mindful about using microwave, oven and air-conditioners. More natural sunlight and a soothing breeze from mother nature will be more refreshing for a change.
Lesser usage, lesser wastage:
Why waste more, when we can opt for the minimum! If you’re into a minimalist lifestyle, you’ll find this article very helpful: Into The Minimalism: What is Minimalist Style? We all are consumers to a large extent. However, the habit of over-consumption is becoming a norm day by day, and we are forgetting that we have a very limited amount of natural resource left. A study conducted by the UN Environment Program states that:
“If the global population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, we could need the equivalent of almost three planets to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.”UN Environment Program
This statement should be a warning sign for us. We should try to adopt sustainable lifestyle practices such as healthy meal-planning or ‘seasonal eating’; so that there is no accumulation of excess food that will eventually go to waste. Moreover, why not opting for alternatives to paper goods, for example, washable cloths instead of paper towels. It is high time we started living by the motto “less is more”.
Say no to Fast Fashion:
Looking fashionable should not in any way harm our environment. We need to realize that fast fashion or the accumulation of cheap garments has only worsened the current environmental situation. To know about this topic, you can check out the article: Here’s how Sustainable Fashion is helping the environment. In reality, we now possess five times more clothes than our grandparents did. This overconsumption and over-possession have led to one consequence: detrimental impact on our health, environment, and garment workers’ lives. Thus, say a Big No to fast fashion, and shop using your intention, not impulse.
The magic of organic foods:
Generally, organic foods are grown without harmful chemical pesticides. Unlike conventional agriculture, organic farming helps to reduce soil erosion and recycles animal waste back into the farm. Simply put, organic means no chemical fertiliser, no antibiotics. Hence, organic foods are fresher, more sustainable, and better for our environment. Moreover, organic meat and milk can be richer in nutrients according to a 2016 European study. On top of that, organic food is GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) free. So, try buying organic.
As the saying goes sharing is caring, we should start by sharing and recycling what we already have. There’s no need to embark on a journey of life-altering changes. Take baby steps. Here are the 5Rs of zero waste for your convenience:
- Refuse what you do not need
- Reduce what you do need
- Reuse by repurposing stuff and choosing reusable over disposable
- Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse
- Rot (compost) the rest
Maybe one person cannot solely change the grim situation of our ecosystem slash planet Earth. But we should collectively start making small, sustainable changes in our lifestyle, and adopt sustainable living practices for our own betterment.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi