Rising sea levels, record-breaking temperatures, and unusual weather patterns have called for greater attention to our environment. Over the past decade, the concept of sustainability has gained more traction than before. Consumerism culture has been largely affected by this paradigm shift with sustainability being a greater priority amongst people.
Sustainability has become akin to a lifestyle choice, and many are starting to pick up on sustainable living habits. Specifically, economic sustainability is becoming a real hot-button topic. However, in our current day and age, ideas of sustainability are constantly challenged by the want for convenience and the prevalence of environmentally damaging practices.
Many may be keen on adopting a more sustainable lifestyle but are unsure as to what sustainable living encompasses, and how to go about it.
What Is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living is a fairly simple concept, but it can come about in many different ways. Living sustainably comes as a result of the conscious efforts made towards choosing to reduce the environmental impact that one has. This means that sustainable living can be done in numerous ways, as long as there is a positive impact on the environment, no matter how big or small.
On a more technical level, sustainability can be quantified to be choices that reduce our carbon footprint by better utilising resources.
What Are Some Examples?
Sustainable living aims to lessen the damage that our everyday actions have on the environment, be it directly or indirectly. One major industry that has well-studied negative impacts on the environment is the food industry, and it comes in many ways. Yet, the silver lining to this is the many opportunities in which we approach this issue.
For example, if you have the means to do so, purchasing local and seasonal food items is a much more sustainable option. Foods shipped from abroad often require an extensive amount of resources to travel great distances over vast oceans, leading to an unnecessarily large carbon footprint if local options are readily available.
Other than that, meat farmed on industrial levels is also a viable option to be removed from your lifestyle. It has widely been researched and shown that industrial meat farming is one of the largest contributors to environmental crises such as deforestation and pollution. Instead, go for more sustainable sources of meat.
Why Is Sustainable Living So Important?
Given that we all live on earth shared not only between ourselves, but other living things as well, we have a responsibility to ensure its continuity as well. The world is not made of finite resources nor is it immune to our actions.
Each and every one of our actions bears its consequences on our environment. Whilst our actions may seem paltry and insignificant, it is the cumulative actions of humankind that threatens the continuity of our civilization.
The modern era has introduced convenience into our lives, but this comes at a cost of environmentally damaging practices. Take fast fashion for example. It is an industry that has grown larger than ever before due to the accessibility to clothing that it provides at affordable prices. However, many are still blind to the negative impacts it has on our environment. We may know of its detrimental effects, yet we are still unbothered.
Living sustainability allows us to counteract these damaging practices and build toward more sustainable industries in the future. This is important as sustainable living is not actually for us, but for the generations to come.
As mentioned before, resources aren’t infinite, and the earth isn’t immune to our environmentally damaging practices. The future generations are the ones who will have to bear the burden of our actions and are the most at risk of struggling due to a lack of resources and damaged earth.
The Three Pillars Of Sustainability
To further understand sustainable living, we can take a look at the three principal pillars of sustainability.
The pillar of social equity aims to achieve societal infrastructures and systems that work to allow a comfortable living environment for both the current and future generations.
The world we live in today is largely influenced and run by socio-economic interactions. This means that sustainability has to be achieved within this as well. Economic sustainability means that socio-economic interactions create benefits for all parties involved without incurring both social and environmental issues.
Through sustainable socio-economic interactions, there is the opportunity to create change on a global scale given that these types of interactions occur at large scales across the globe.
The Environmental Pillar
The environmental pillar deals with trying to achieve a smaller carbon footprint on our environment through various strategies. This includes the likes of zero-waste manufacturing practices, lowering energy consumption, green energy, and more efficient technology.
How Can We Be More Sustainable Within Our Own Homes?
Sustainable living begins at your very own home and there are many ways to go about it!
There are many ways where wastage occurs in our own homes, and this can have snowballing impacts on the environment that we are unaware of. Water wastage is a huge problem that goes unnoticed in many households. Using less water is one of the best ways to reduce our environmental impact. From using less water in the bathroom, to recycling water for our plants, there are many ways to reduce our water wastage.
As mentioned before, consumerism is a large cause of environmental damage due to the damaging practices fueled by consumer needs. We can work towards building a more eco-friendly and mindful consumerism habit to build a more sustainable household. Look for products with item packaging that is biodegradable, or even recyclable. Eco-friendly alternatives are also largely available in today’s market as well.
Transportation is also a huge contributor to environmental damage. Instead of taking the car, take a bus instead. Better still, walk or cycle whenever possible.
Achieving sustainable living starts with yourself. It is the small changes to our everyday habits that make the difference, and this difference goes a long way. We must begin changing habits and creating a mindset for sustainable living to be carried into future generations.