Sustainable Living: What is it, Definition & Examples
Inspire Clean Energy
9 min read
category: Sustainable Living
Sustainable Living Meaning
Sustainability is one of the most popular lifestyle choices of the past decade and will hopefully become second-nature to us all in the coming years. As we transition from lives of convenience and fast-fashion to lives of environmentally conscious choices, sustainability will continue to permeate almost all of our daily decisions.
Sustainability comes in many forms and has many benefits, but have you ever wondered what it means to live sustainably? Read on to learn what sustainable living looks like and how you can achieve it in your own life.
What is sustainable living?
Sustainable living is achieved by making choices that aim to reduce our individual and collective environmental impact by making positive changes to offset climate change and reduce environmental damage. It is a way to reduce our carbon footprint and better use the Earth’s resources to minimize the environmental damage that can be caused by our lifestyle choices.
Sustainability means making choices today that will positively impact the planet tomorrow. It means thinking of the needs of future generations by ensuring that they will inherit a safe and healthy planet to live and thrive on.
What are some examples of sustainable living?
There are plenty of ways to live more sustainably, like buying local and in-season foods that are farmed sustainably. Foods that aren’t in season often require certain chemicals to be grown that aren’t necessary for in-season foods, or they need to be shipped from somewhere that experiences a very different climate from your own. Sustainable farming discourages waste and encourages low-impact, seasonal diets. Eating less meat (or no meat at all) is another way to live sustainably.
Industrial meat is one of the biggest contributors to pollution, deforestation, and greenhouse gas production. Beef and lamb are the most harmful meats when it comes to eating with the environment in mind.
Another example of sustainable living is buying items made using recycled materials or designed to be zero-waste. Many cosmetics companies produce items in bottles and jars made from recycled products. You can also find clothing, bedding, and furniture made from recycled materials.
What is the importance of sustainable living?
Sustainable living is vital for our health — and our planet’s health. Living sustainably can improve our life balance by reducing our dependence on vehicles or machinery. By being less reliant on vehicles, we’re more likely to walk or cycle, which helps us create healthier habits. We can also live healthier lives by consuming high-quality, local foods. As a large proponent of environmental damage, red meats are also unhealthy for our physical health, and by eating less meat-based diets, we’re able to reduce the damage done to our bodies and the planet.
We all have to throw things away – with almost 8 billion people on the planet, that’s a lot of waste that all has to go somewhere. Landfills are not a healthy option and not a long-term solution, either. Every year, around 150 million tons of trash make it into marine environments. Only compostable products will biodegrade within 6 months – in fact, even biodegradable plastics may outlive us. The only way to curb the amount of trash scattered across the planet is to recycle and use biodegradable materials when possible.
Of course, our use of fossil fuels to power our homes, businesses, and transportation creates harmful gases that warm our planet and create more extreme weather conditions. If we don’t act to stop this within the next decade, the damage may be irreversible.
What are the three principles of sustainability?
There are three main principles of sustainability: social equity, economic viability, and environmental preservation.
The social equity pillar refers to societal systems and structures that actively support current and future generations’ ability to live healthily and comfortably. Socially sustainable communities are authentically democratic, diverse, equitable, connected, and provide people with a good living standard.
The economic pillar represents strategies used to encourage individuals and corporations to use socio-economic resources to their advantage. Economic sustainability ensures that businesses make a profit without creating social or environmental issues.
The environmental pillar of sustainability is probably the best-known, occurring when processes, systems, and activities minimize the environmental impact of their products, facilities, and operations. It focuses on zero-waste product manufacturing, managing energy consumption, and switching to green energy in offices, headquarter buildings, warehouses, and factories.
What does a sustainable house need?
Here are some basic items you’ll need to live sustainably at home:
Reusable bottles: Plastic bottles often end up in our oceans, where they take hundreds of years to decompose. We are polluting the world’s oceans faster than nature can purify them, and one simple way to offset this is to avoid buying plastic water bottles to begin with.
Reusable shopping bags: Invest in strong, reusable bags, and if you do have to use plastic bags, they can often be recycled by returning them to the store, so do so if you can!
Reusable coffee cups: Most of the materials used to make takeaway coffee cups are single-use plastic, so bring your coffee flask with you to the cafe next time you’re getting your caffeine fix. Some coffee shops even offer a discount for those who bring their own!
Subscription to a clean energy supplier: Supporting clean energy drastically reduces your carbon footprint, as it doesn’t result in the release of damaging fossil fuels. While we should always try to conserve energy at home, using clean energy is a great way to ensure that your energy has a minimal negative environmental impact.
Make environmentally friendly transportation choices when possible: Until electric cars are affordable for everyone, we can all just do our best to move around mindfully. If you are looking for a new car, investigate hybrid or electric options. If you’re just heading down the street to the store and the weather’s nice, head out on foot if you can. All it takes is a little extra thought to make better decisions for our planet.
What can I do to be more sustainable?
In addition to the points above, read on for 10 easy ways to be more sustainable at home.
10 ways to be sustainable in your home
1. Use less water. Many parts of the world are privileged enough to have access to clean water every day, but that doesn’t mean we should squander our water. Keep an eye on the length of your showers, and re-use unsalted cooking water to feed your plants! They’ll be glad of the extra nutrients.
2. Start a compost bin. Composting your leftover fruits and vegetables helps the soil retain moisture, reducing water runoff and conserving landfill space for things that we cannot recycle.
3. Consume fewer products overall. Whether we buy products in a store or have them delivered to our homes, we often forget the indirect damage these goods can inflict. When we buy a product, we’re also paying for the manufacturer and their daily commute to work, the material shipping, and the product’s delivery to our homes or stores. We can offset this by only buying what we really need.
4. Recycle everything you can. Items that we don’t recycle often end up in landfills, contributing to the noxious gases that affect our collective health and contribute to global warming. Simply check the packaging for a recycle symbol and put it in the right can!
5. Purchase eco-friendly goods. You’d be surprised how many everyday items aren’t great for the environment: cleaning products, standard toilet paper, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes, and sanitary products are all often un-recyclable. Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly alternatives available today — it’s just a matter of doing a little research before you buy.
6. Monitor your energy usage. It’s tempting in winter to blast the heating, just as it is to have the AC on all day in the summer. Not only is excessive energy use costly, but it’s also wasteful and uses precious resources that will deplete one day.
7. Create less food waste and save money by pre-portioning. This simple practice will often save you from overeating and result in better physical health.
8. Reach out to your local government officials. We need to make personal changes for the sake of the planet, but government officials have the power to make changes that the public cannot. Write to your local government officials and urge them to champion green energy policies and ensure that public transportation is better for public health.
9. Support local shops to prevent shipping. When you shop local, you help support small businesses while offsetting excessive environmental transport costs. From an economic standpoint, shopping local also helps small businesses stay open and continue employing local people.
10. Use public transport when possible. Cars are a privilege, and they can be convenient when we need to drive locally, but if you need to run an errand a walking distance away, try to walk or cycle. It’ll have a positive impact on your health, save you money, and offset pollution!
While there are many ways we can all start to live more sustainably, it can feel as though the big corporations are the only ones who can make a real difference. When it comes to energy usage, though, that’s no longer true! With clean energy utility providers, you have the power to drive up the demand for clean, sustainable energy on the grid. You can opt for a service that promises affordable, reliable, environmentally responsible energy that won’t leave you with any surprises.
This is all possible with Inspire Clean Energy. Our customers can access 100% renewable energy and smart tools to help manage their energy use. We offer a personalized flat monthly price so you can know exactly what to budget for your smart energy use. Click here to make the switch to a clean energy plan today.
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