It’s Time – To Live a More Sustainable Life

Recent events have shown us just how fragile our planet is.  It’s clear that our collective footprint is leaving a heavy impression.  If there is an upside, we’re no longer giving lip service to events swirling around us, we’re sitting up, taking notice and demanding change – and not just from governments and big business – but also from ourselves.  One way we can help our planet – and ourselves is to lead a more sustainable life.
If we think it’s going to be a stretch to live a more sustainable life, we’re wrong.  The required changes are not quantum leaps but in fact, very subtle.  They’re practical and eco-friendly.  Funnily enough, they’re exactly how our parents and grandparents lived – before rampant consumerism made our lives ‘easier’ and we became obsessed with technology and its ability to make everything more ‘accessible’ and in real time.  Here’s what we can, no wait….should do:

Reduce our energy consumption.  Make simple changes like turning lights and non-essential appliances off at the wall.  Install energy saving CFL light globes and appliances and if we’re in a low humidity area, evaporative air-con is far more energy efficient than refrigerated.  In winter, lower our heating thermostat and put on an extra jumper.  Hang clothes to dry instead of using a dryer.

Exchange single-use products such as disposable razors, plastic shopping bags and drinking bottles, take-away coffee cups for reusable items such as keep cups, quality shavers and when we order take-away tell the restaurant that we’ll arrive a little early with our own containers. Many environmental and health-related issues come from the toxins in plastic.  When purchasing, consider the item’s life expectancy and buy wisely and if possible, buy Fair Trade products.

Eat locally.  Fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers’ markets are not only healthier, but they sustain local economies.  Supermarkets might have an endless array of enticing products, but most have travelled great distances to reach you and those distances equate to carbon emissions – and many food products are still packaged in plastic.

Why not grow our own vegetables?  There’s so much satisfaction in knowing what’s on our plates came from our own gardens.  We don’t have to run a full market garden.  Just a few pots will do nicely.  It’s also a solid way to guarantee they’re pesticide free!

Recycle, not only our food containers, paper products in our fortnightly bin and donate clothes and other unwanted household items through Op Shops who will distribute them to those in need.  And an annual Garage Sale is also a great way to engage with others and make a bit of extra cash.

Drink tap water instead of purchasing bottled water and soft drinks – in their plastic bottles.  If our tap water isn’t to our liking, a slice of lemon or lime will fix that. Or if not, invest in a filtration system. And save household water by recycling grey water from washing, installing water saving shower roses and if  the opportunity and funds are there, install rainwater tanks for gardens.

And finally, we should use our cars less and our feet more.  Walking or riding a bike not only reduces reliance on petrol and the production of carbon emissions but it is a wonderful way to increase our fitness and overall health.  If a vehicle is still a necessity, try the bus, train or carpool where possible.

Sustainability has been the way of the world for centuries. It’s up to us to make everything old, new again and live a happier, healthier life. And the planet will love us for it.