Happier Way Original –
It is no secret that our previous consumption as well as production habits have impacted our environment. The extravagant use of environmental resources coupled with the increasing global population resulted in unsustainable practices. There was a rise of throw away and cowboy economies. We developed at the cost of nature and natural resources. Eventually, serious environmental concerns arose due to accelerated, sudden natural disasters. Perceived and scientifically proven changes in the global, regional, and local environment further cemented the view that human-induced activities were harming the environment.
It was then that the concept of sustainable living emerged. Sustainable living has been adopted by people with aims to reduce personal and societal environmental impact by making positive changes in their lifestyle to counteract climate change and other negative environmental concerns. This offsets harmful emissions and exploitation of natural resources. In essence, sustainable living is a method of reducing one’s “carbon footprint”. According to the Britannica dictionary, A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions. The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world.
A conscious movement from overconsumption to a more sustainable lifestyle to lower one’s carbon footprint first and foremost requires a shift in a person’s mindset. You must be willing to live with less, to consume less so that resources can be conserved. You must cast off the need to have the latest gadgets or fast fashion clothing items. You must learn to be content with what you have and at peace with the knowledge that you are making the right choice for the environment. This requires a level of emotional, social and physical well-being. Learn to conserve which means to use things wisely and frugally. This means a sustainable utilization of nature and natural resources i.e. water, forest products, energy, animals, air, soil etc. This also means to make wise consumption choices such as buying clothing items second-hand or from sustainable design houses.
For successful sustainable living, we must ensure that the benefits reach all stratas of society, including the impoverished communities. Climate change hits the lower strata of society the hardest because they do not have the resources to mitigate climate change effects in their daily lives. Therefore, inclusion and consideration of the disadvantaged as well as vulnerable segment of society is necessary.
Lastly, it is important to continuously research. We need to keep growing and evolving our knowledge. Things continuously change with time as new developments take place. Shifting to a sustainable lifestyle is an on-going ever-changing journey. You might have to experiment around and share your experiences with other people or start all over again on the road to sustainable living. However, as long as you are willing to learn and grow with the changing times, it is doable.
Sustainable lifestyles do not require you to live without any luxuries. This type of lifestyle makes allowances in a sustainable manner so one does not have to go without. The first step is to change small things in one’s daily routine. Some ways you can make a change inside your own home are listed below:
- Install water conservation taps at home (i.e. Nasoni)
- Water conservation taps use less water than the conventional water taps in homes. The Nasoni faucet conserves 88% more water than other faucets.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and only turn it on to rinse.
- This can save up to 3-4 gallons of water per person per day.
- Turn off excess lighting in your home.
- This can potentially shave off 24 USD annually per light bulb and also extend the life of lightbulbs.
- Use energy efficient appliances in your home.
- Recycle items.
- Buy organic local food and grow organic food.
- Eating locally means less demand for items that consume vast amounts of fossil fuel during transportation.
- Re-use items such as torn clothes by mending them instead of throwing them away.
- Stop using single use plastic items, razors, cups etc.
- Toxins are released into the environment via trash. Decreasing your waste, means preventing large amounts of dangerous chemicals from entering the surrounding environment.
- Donate items you do not need instead of throwing them away and creating waste.
- This prevents clothes from going into landfills and causing harm to the environment.
The aforementioned activities are all small baby steps in the right direction that can add up to make a positive change in the environment. When you keep conserving energy, you cause less fossil fuel emissions caused by energy production. When you are producing less waste, you are reducing your carbon footprint. When you discourage overconsumption of products and single-use items, the demand for them goes down. Clothes which are donated go to needy families who might have otherwise had to go without. Small steps make a big change and result in a healthier and more content person.