Let's adopt a sustainable lifestyle

By Sanobar Nadir
Tue, 03, 23

Sustainable living is not just about going green, it is about the choices one makes that will positively affect the planet and its habitants in the future. You! takes a look…

Lets adopt a sustainable lifestyle

When the world is already under the threat of biodiversity loss because of climate change linked with global warming, our lifestyle choices are worsening the situation.

The lifestyle that most people follow is putting the planet and its ecological system at risk, and to tackle this challenge, it is crucial to look for a solution before it is too late to control the damage. One way to control this problem is to encourage people to opt for a sustainable lifestyle. Now, most people are not aware of how easy a sustainable lifestyle is, even though it has gained much popularity in the last decade.

Sustainable living is not just about going green, but it is about the choices one makes that will positively affect the planet and its habitants in the future. It is all about minimising your carbon footprint and living a more eco-friendly life to lessen the negative impact on the environment.

In simple words, sustainable living is being mindful of our lifestyle choices and understanding how it impacts the world. It also implies encouraging finding solutions and alternatives to living a better and simpler life.

Why is a sustainable lifestyle important?

It is not a hidden fact that currently, most resources are at risk of being depleted. Global

Warming, resource insufficiency, and water issues are all crises which are somewhere interlinked. One problem leads to another, and this issue keeps on becoming severe.

The choices that we make every day have a profound influence on our surroundings. Directly or indirectly, our small actions impact the climate and other living beings, which in turn decides the planet’s future.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests that lifestyle changes could aid in minimising gas emissions. It emphasises that up to 70 per cent of gas emissions could be reduced by the year 2050 if a different and sustainable lifestyle is adopted. Adopting a sustainable lifestyle means taking a step towards lessening your environmental footprint and preserving nature and its resources. Slight but significant changes in your lifestyles may help you achieve this goal, and it will not just benefit you and your family but also prove to be beneficial for our ecological system and future generation.

Embracing a sustainable lifestyle isn’t as challenging as one might perceive. In fact, it is quite the contrary, and this is as easy and simple as moving from one brand to another. The main goal is to switch to things that aren’t harmful to our environment and might affect our life positively.

For instance, prevent using chemical cleaning supplies; instead, go for some natural cleaning products or purchase recycled items and materials to reduce plastic waste. The primary motive is to incline toward eco-friendly products and approaches and let go of the habits harming the environment.

Sustainable living is often associated with positive actions and things one can do to improve their life. However, while keeping the current climate and biodiversity issues in mind, it is necessary to make people aware of those lifestyle changes and ensure everyone adopts them. Significant changes and alternatives are required to limit global warming, and everyone needs to play their part. The first step towards fighting this global threat is to shift towards a sustainable lifestyle.

Most of the talk pertaining to adopting sustainable living or opting for eco-friendly approaches is promoted by environmental groups. These groups usually criticise and use patronising tones to highlight these climatic issues, and the masses do not accept this approach. A study by United Nations Environment Programme points out that government and environmental groups are either condescending or condemning while communicating about topics related to sustainable living. This is a global issue, and people from every walk of life should participate in finding solutions and spreading awareness, not just a specific group. Instead of playing the blame game, people should serve their energy, focusing on eliminating the threat.

To be honest, it can be extremely daunting and taxing to leave your current lifestyle and accept a new way of living; it is like stepping out of your comfort zone and standing against the flow of the water, as everyone around you won’t be sharing your ideology. But when you look at the greater picture and understand how this simpler lifestyle is the need of the hour, then you will realise how your small steps carry more power than you can imagine.

How to start living sustainably?

The first step to living a sustainable lifestyle is remembering and practicing these basic 3 Rs.

1. Rethink before buying anything, and consider how this product’s consumption will impact the environment. Shift to eco-friendly products and avoid products with toxic chemicals.

2. Reduce purchasing things in abundance and also refrain from buying unnecessary items. Live a simple life rather than a materialistic one.

3. Repurpose things and extend the life of materials. Transform things into other things and reuse them instead of throwing them away.

Adopting the 3 Rs means changing your attitude and forming a perspective that encourages living an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Now, moving to the next step will be relatively easy as you have already conquered the difficult part by accepting this new approach and changing your attitude.

Sustainable living means being aware of your actions and also living within the means of resources. So, the next stage to achieving a sustainable lifestyle is about making adjustments to your current lifestyle by making sustainable practices a part of your life.

Lets adopt a sustainable lifestyle

Decreasing food wastage: It is not just the food that gets wasted when you waste food; it is also wasting all the natural resources that went into producing that food. Lowering your food waste is very essential in minimising your carbon footprint, and it is financially beneficial as well.

Adopt a habit of saving food and making food as much as you need instead of making it in large quantities. Avoid throwing away leftovers, and start freezing or refrigerating them in eco-friendly food containers.

And even if any food turns bad, then compost this waste along with other waste of food, like vegetables and fruits peels, and so on. In this way, discarded food will be utilised, and you will also get chemical-free and eco-friendly plant fertilisers.

Going paperless: Deciding to go paperless plays a major role in reducing your carbon footprint. The energy and resources required to make the papers are saved as the quantity of paper produced is significantly lowered.

With technological progress and increased internet use, going paperless isn’t tricky. In fact, for the past few years, we have seen a rise in this trend. Internet has become an essential aspect of businesses, and now everyone has easy access to it, so limiting the use of paper is definitely achievable. As you can’t entirely stop using paper, it is ideal to opt for recycled paper whenever you are required to use the paper.

Saving energy: People can minimise their overall carbon footprint by utilising energy carefully and avoiding overusing it. Eco-friendly technologies can be used in homes to reduce energy consumption. However, not everyone can afford energy-saving appliances, so we should at least practice some of the basics of energy-saving methods.

-Utilising natural lights whenever you can, and avoid using unnecessary lighting.

-Turning off or unplugging electrical appliances when not in use.

-Opting to air-dry clothes instead of using dryers.

Using natural and eco-friendly cleaning supplies: The cleaning products we use around our house contain toxic chemicals that emit adverse effects on the environment. These chemicals are not only harmful to the planet but also impact our health. So, whether it is detergent, bleaching supplies, or all-purpose cleaning items products, choose cleaning supplies that are eco-friendly and made of natural ingredients.

Moreover, you can also make your own cleaning supplies at home by using ingredients that you can find in your pantry.

-Use a mixture of water and vinegar as an all-purpose cleaner.

-Baking soda and water can be used for cleaning around the kitchen, like kitchen appliances, steel utensils, and countertops, and it can also be used as a deodoriser.

-Replace your laundry detergent with sal suds and baking soda, and get the same results.

Limiting the use of vehicles: Carbon emission can be lowered dramatically by transforming people’s driving habits. Choose to walk or cycle instead of driving to nearer places, carpooling whenever possible, and running combined errands instead of driving around for single things; all these practices adequately reduce your carbon footprint and should be followed by everyone.

Growing your own food: There are many environmental and health benefits when you grow your own food. When you grow your own food, it means zero carbon emission is involved. Organic home-grown food packs have more nutrients than market-purchased food, as you have the option to manage your soil, and no pesticides or chemicals are being used.

Most people don’t have big backyards, or they live in apartments, but they can still grow their own food or at least some of the vegetables and herbs that don’t require a huge area to grow. Terrace, rooftop, or kitchen gardening are excellent ways to start growing your own food. From growing herbs in small pots or reusing plastic or glass bottles to plant these herbs to utilising your compost to grow your vegetables and not using harmful pesticides, all these are great ways to practice upcycling and recycling, along with gaining the benefits of organic foods. Moreover, you can’t deny that home-grown food tastes way better than anything because it is actually the fruit of your hard work and patience.

Supporting brands that practice eco-friendly approaches: Sometimes living a sustainable life is not just following sustainable practices but also supporting those who are pursuing these sustainable approaches. With the increasing awareness of environmental and climatic issues, many companies and brands are implementing eco-friendly approaches. Even if they can’t go entirely eco-friendly, they are still being careful of their actions and using sustainable techniques as much as they can. So, as all good deeds should be appreciated, these companies also should be applauded and supported for their efforts to putting their share in saving the planet.

Small acts can bring big change

Lets adopt a sustainable lifestyle

It is easier to feel and think what difference it will make if someone moves towards sustainable living because millions of people live on this planet. One person giving up their normal lifestyle wouldn’t change a thing. However, this is not the case because each and every effort matters.

Howard Zinn, an American historian, philosopher, and social thinker said, “We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

In other words, our small steps in the right direction may lead us to something transformative and help us to achieve our goals. You will realise our current lifestyle is also part of that evolution that started years and years ago. Small ideas become big one day, and there are many examples we can find around ourselves that validate this; in the same way, our small actions will also bring big change. All we need is to be persistent.

We are not separate from nature. Like every other living being, we are also part of nature, and unfortunately, we are the ones who are ruining ourselves by harming our environment.

Our small steps towards a sustainable lifestyle may not reverse the damage that has already been inflicted on our ecosystem, but they will preserve it and protect it from further deterioration.

In return, nature will thank us for our efforts to look after and protect it by blessing us and our future generation with a healthy and pure environment.

The writer is a Mass Communication Research Scholar and a freelance writer.