For some, the idea of sustainable living appears to be an impossible feat. The concept of being part of a progressive change that contributes to a greener world can seem intimidating, and we tend to underestimate our abilities to fulfill that mission. We look at global environmental leaders like David Suzuki, who have fought for a sustainable future for decades and have written books that educate the world of our ecological footprint. It’s common for those to be overwhelmed by the idea of having to change their regular habits and we often lose faith in the impact we can have, believing that it truly won’t make a difference. But we can.
Think about it: If we as a society are capable of causing damage to the environment the way we have, would it not take us all to collectively counteract this damage and pollution by working towards a cleaner and greener one?
We possess a lot more power than we think we do and it’s unbelievable how little we have to do to make these BIG changes. See, that’s the thing about sustainable living: It’s about undoing harmful effects we’ve caused by living simply and making LESS of a footprint by living greener and better. A sustainable lifestyle means the elimination of excess in many forms and being consciously aware of the harm in over consumption and over production. It’s a funny notion that we consider green living as a path that is out of our reach because really, it’s all about doing less- And anyone can do it!
You may be wondering where to start. Sustainable living is a learning curve and is not something that can be completely achieved overnight. It is gradual. It’s in the little things we do, so baby steps are encouraged.
Come to terms with why you’re doing this
To begin, the first thing you need to do is assess why you want to do this. Reaffirm to yourself that this path you choose to take is something you believe in and are passionate about. Be honest with yourself and tell yourself what your motivation is behind this drive to live sustainably. Was it a documentary you watched that exposed the harsh realities of the deterioration of our planet? Was it a fact a co-worker mentioned that stuck with you? Think about it hard and write it down. You may want to post the note on your mirror or somewhere visible to remind you every morning why you are doing this. It will be a great help at times when you are in doubt.
Surround yourself with like-minded people
We’re not saying you need to ditch your friends, but making some new ones never hurts! Being in a space where you have the opportunity to discuss and share ideas with others who are just as passionate about the environment as you are is a great way to comfortably situate yourself in your new sustainable lifestyle. Join clubs and attend classes or conferences on topics surrounding sustainability that inspire you. Nothing in your area? There are thousands of forums and Facebook communities that you can easily join and follow. Prepare to be amazed at how much you can learn from other people. You might meet someone who’s lived an environmentally-friendly lifestyle for decades and can take show you the ropes based on their own lived experiences. On the other hand, you could meet someone who is also a newbie and you could be a great support for each other!
Grow your own vegetable garden or be part of a community garden
Whether you have a green thumb or are a first-timer in the gardening sector, joining a local community garden gives you the opportunity to share ideas (and seeds) with others and figuratively speaking, “flourish” together while growing yummy veggies and fruit to bring home for lunch. You’ll learn a thing or two from a pro gardener and know that you’re producing food that’s as fresh as it gets and organic.
Help the local businesses in your community by investing in them with your dollar. By shopping at an independent store, you are supporting a family’s dream rather than a CEO’s vacation home. You’ll get better service than a lot of corporations would provide and buy from them means they’re more likely to be able to stay in the community once rent costs go up. Make it a goal to regularly shop locally, even if it’s just a few items a week, you’re supporting a fellow citizen of the community.
Make your own cosmetics and detergents
There are so many harmful chemicals in our cosmetic products and cleaners we use around the house. Filled with hundreds of unnamable properties, why would we want to fill our home with products that are not good for us to ingest, let alone apply on our skin or sit in our house’s atmosphere? When flushed away, these toxic chemicals are deposited into a stream or absorbed in the soil, hindering the positive growth of our ecosystem of plants and animals. There are some great organic and environmentally-friendly versions of Windex out there, but if you’re on a budget you’ll be happy to find that most of the ingredients you would need to make your own disinfectants and sprays are probably sitting in your kitchen!
Limit vehicle use
Everyone knows that cars emit harmful gasses that affect the atmosphere’s ozone layer. Limit vehicle use by carpooling with coworkers to work. You’re all going the same place so doesn’t it make sense to just share a ride? You’ll save money by splitting the gas and it’s a great way to get to know your peers. Taking the bus is another great option and better yet, pull out that bike of yours and go for a sunset ride! Your body will thank you for it and you’ll know that you’re traveling on no energy other than your own.
The path to a sustainable future may seem daring but it’s worth it in the long run. These are just the beginning steps to a new lifestyle that takes mother nature into consideration but it takes small changes to contribute to a brighter, cleaner, greener future.
Take it A Step Further
Now that you know sustainable living is about making the right choices, now time to make your first choice. Let that choice be a change not only within you but also a change in the world. It is time to get a Sustianable Leather Journal with a Toolkit to make you a pro.