What does sustainable living actually mean? Many individuals have actually become aware of it, discussed it, and might even practice some components of it, however are still puzzled by what it actually is.
With concerns gradually increasing about the current state and quality of our environment and the continuous concern of environment modification, many individuals are seeking to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
What do we suggest when we use the words, sustainable way of life, and what does it mean to be self sufficient ?
A sustainable lifestyle takes preparation and planning and practice, however to be genuinely self sufficient and live off the land means a larger crommitment still.
For us, self sufficiency is a way of life, where you endeavor to produce all you require from the resources that are readily available to you. In the past, such a way of life was necessary for subsistence farmers; the interaction and facilities we are used to today, didn’t exist and individuals needed to survive on what they could acquire within the area of their homes. Communities formed where resorces were focused, and individuals traded their skills and produce to make sure everybody had all they needed to live. It was frequently a case of trying to survive, subsisting, instead of having a great quality of life. In many countries today this is still the case, however in the developed world, we don’t need to do everything ourselves or within our regional community. That has some favorable benifits, but reaching outside the community, especially throughout continents, can have a serious effect on the planet.
What is Sustainable Living?
In other words, sustainable living means practicing a way of life that utilizes as few of Earth’s natural resorces as possible, in an attempt to develop the least environmental damage for future generations.
Those who are committed to living a sustainable lifestyle will frequently attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by changing their ways of transport, energy usage and their diet. Living in a way that is consistent with sustainability, and in balance with, and respectful of humankind’s cooperative relationship with the Earth’s natural ecology and cycles.
Essentially, sustainable living includes living on the Earth as lightly as possible- fulfilling one’s requirements in the present without compromising the needs of future generations, so they too can delight in the same high quality of life that people do today.
Why Should we Live Sustainably?
Sustainable living isn’t simply a buzzword or a phase, it’s a continuing way of life, and one that is very important if we are wishing to maintain the environment for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. If we continue to use all of our natural resources at the rate we are presently, and continue to trigger ongoing damage to the environment from unsustainable practices, we are putting future generations in a circumstance where they will not have sufficient resources readily available to sustain life on earth.
Although it has actually taken quite some time, people are starting to find out that environmental resources are not limitless, and so we require to do our finest to protect what we can, guaranteeing future generations can live harmoniously. It is our duty to contribute to this conservation by following sustainable living practices- every little bit counts.
How to Live Sustainably
Becoming energy efficient, wherever you live, your top priority should be to reduce the amount of energy you use. Those who choose to live a sustainable lifestyle will often rely on renewable energy sources– those that do not harm the environment, as a source of power.
There are also a number of small changes that can be made in regards to power consumption that will help make a home more energy efficient. Simple things such as changing to energy efficient light bulbs, adjusting temperatures by a few degrees, or simply turning it off, will all contribute to reducing your carbon footprint.
Sustainable homes are built in a way that they use very few non-renewable resources and are run using the renewable energy sources noted above. Making your home more energy efficient, buy making a few changes to your lifestyle and designing or building your homes to conserve energy and reduce your energy consumption.
Eco friendly resources that are often used to build a sustainable house include; adobe, bamboo, composite wood, reclaimed stone or brick, recycled metal and wood, straw and concrete bale- all materials are natural and have been produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
Sustainable Transportation Methods
The automobile industry is not at all feasible to sustainable living, with carbon emissions and high energy prices contributing to our climates warming. Choosing small, fuel-efficient or hybrid cars, over gas guzzling four wheel drives, are a more sustainable choice for those wanting to contribute to this lifestyle. When possible, choosing public transport or walking or riding to your destination are even more environmentally friendly options.
Sustainable Food Choices
Making sustainable food choices includes choosing seasonal and locally grown food, as this reduces carbon footprint caused by long distance food transport, reduces the effects of pollution and will help to stimulate the local economy. It is also best to choose organic food where possible, to help minimise the risk of pollution to the environment caused by chemicals such as pesticides, or herbicides that are used on non-organic foods.
Many wanting to live a self-sustainable lifestyle will opt for a vegetarian lifestyle, as it causes less resources to produce, and causes the least amount of damage to the environment, reducing meat consumption, and choosing to buy only organically raised, free range or grass-fed meat, is another alternative towards having a more sustainable diet.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables at home defines what it means to be truly self- sustainable- especially if they are also organic! Urban farming has surged in popularity recently, with communities banding together to help contribute to a self sustainable lifestyle- growing and trading their homegrown wares with one another, or contributing to public urban gardens.
Living Without Toxic Chemicals Or Pollutants.
Waste has evolved a result of rapid economic development, but it’s disposal is not an entirely new problem, however, our consumption of resources and the resulting waste, due to the pollution and the development and destruction of our environment is the biggest problem the earth faces today.
Reuse and Re-purpose
There is the cost and embedded energy or embodied carbon, that it has taken to manufacturer the object. There’s it’s useful lifespan, if it has been designed for only one use, this is followed by the serious question of, what next? We then look for ways to use it so it doesn’t go in the bin.
Small adjustments to your lifestyle can also help to reduce waste- go electronic where possible to reduce paper waste, and before throwing things away, think about how they could possibly be re-purposed, worn shirts can become cleaning cloths, empty glass jars make great tealight holders- simple, yet effective!
Recycling plays a big role in living a sustainable lifestyle. Recycling the manufacturing materials of products, (such and packaging, containers, and raw materials, like those made from earth’s minerals) so as to use these materials more than once in the manufacturing process, helps minimise the addition of this waste to landfill.
Materials that can be recycled include; glass, paper, plastic, metals and wood- these can also be up cycled which converts a material into something of similar or greater value in it’s second life.
Composting Organic Waste
Food scraps and other organic waste materials from around the home, can be processed so as to provide compost for your garden, and this provides the soil with a wonderful conditioner. Composting is the foundation stone of organic practice, mainly because compost is full of life. Composting enhances soil health, brings vitality, and holds moisture.
Achieving a productive garden – Check out more of my future blogs on composting.