There are two overall goals to a sustainable living lifestyle. The first is to have as little negative impact on the Earth as you can, and the second is to replace the resources you use. With a few simple practices, you can create a sustainable life that you can be proud of.
Eat Less Meat
Meat production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change for two reasons:
- The process of raising animals for food produces huge amounts of greenhouse emissions annually.
- The amount of food that must be grown to keep the animals fed causes more land to be cleared for farming.
Eating less meat over time encourages the industry to produce less, which will help offset the damage. When you do eat meat, check into finding meat that was locally raised in responsible ways.
Stop Using Traditional Electricity
Generating electricity from fossil fuels harms the planet by:
- Causing CO2 to be released into the air.
- Causing a heat-trapping barrier to form over the Earth.
- Contributing to global warming.
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Reuse or Recycle
Landfills are horrible for the environment. Avoid throwing things away whenever possible by recycling or reusing products. Here are a few examples of common objects you can recycle or reuse.
- Glass bottles, containers, or cans. Glass and metal are easily recyclable but can also be reused as food storage containers, drinking glasses, or decor.
- Clothes, blankets, and towels. Instead of throwing these items out when they’re no longer used, cut them up into rags for cleaning.
- Dryer sheets and lint. Used dryer sheets can be used to polish chrome, to dust, and they pick up pet hair when rubbed on surfaces. Lint can be used as a fire starter in an emergency.
Eat Sustainable Foods
The food industry is a key producer of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Unless you have a huge farm, you probably can’t grow all your own food, but there are a few steps you can take to reduce how much unsustainable food you eat.
- Grow what you can. If you have space for a garden, put one in. If you live in an apartment, grow an indoor tomato plant. Anything you can grow for yourself helps, and you’ll know exactly how it was cared for.
- If you like seafood, take some pressure off the oceans by eating it from sources that fish sustainably.
- Buy locally grown produce. Many small grocery stores carry fruits and veggies from small local farms. By buying them, you help out a neighbor while keeping money away from corporate food growers.
- Buy packaged foods in bulk when possible so you aren’t throwing out packaging every week.
Donate What You Don’t Need
Always ask yourself if there’s someone who could use what you’re getting rid of. Giving items to someone else helps them, and increases the life of the product. Over time this can lead to less production, which means less pollution.
- Food you don’t need can be donated to shelters, food pantries, or local food drives. You can find your local food bank here to get more information.
- Clothes you no longer wear (but that are in good condition) can be donated to shelters, clothing drives, or thrift stores.
Living sustainably is a process that takes time to achieve. Start with these important steps and build from them as you continue on your journey. From the moment you begin, you’ll be on the path to creating a sustainable life you can be proud of.