Leading a sustainable lifestyle can sometimes seem overwhelming, which can often lead us to approach the matter with an all-or-nothing attitude. However, sustainability does not need to work like that, and if we all make small and simple changes to our daily lives, then collectively we can all create a far more sustainable and energy-efficient world. In this article, we’re going to break down five bite-sized, easily achievable tips that you can incorporate seamlessly into your daily routine. As the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the better the habits that we form now, the easier it will be to practice sustainability on a daily basis, as naturally as breathing.
Turn switches off at the wall!
Firstly, turn off those switches. Simply turning off lights and switches can help to conserve trees, coal, natural gas and other finite resources. By turning off switches, we cut back on our energy consumption which reduces the amount of electricity that powerplants have to make, subsequently reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burned each day. As fossil fuels become increasingly scarce, so prices will soar.
Get out for a walk, bike ride or a run
Need to get from point A to B? Try walking, running or cycling. So many of us look to avoid that 20-minute walk and so instead, wait 10 minutes for a 10-minute bus ride or hop in the car and get stuck in traffic . . . essentially, we’re not even saving time. Unless you’re covering a lot of ground, there really is no excuse not to travel the sustainable way. On another note, many of us are still avoiding gyms (which by the way, take a hell of a lot of energy and electricity to power) and so we are looking for other ways to keep fit. Try mixing up your YouTube videos with a walk or a run. It’s so healthy for us both mentally and physically to breathe fresh air. And as summer recedes, what is better than wrapping up warm and shuffling through a carpet of autumn leaves whilst listening to a good podcast?
Invest in a reusable coffee cup (and go somewhere local and independent if possible)
Reusable coffee cups are not only cute, but also super affordable. Not only are you likely to get a small discount on your beverage by taking a reusable coffee cup to your barista, but you are also helping to put a stop to the deforestation caused by single-use cups. Seven million paper coffee cups are used in Britain each day, amounting to 2.5bn a year. Only ONE in 400 is recycled. Luckily for us there are some amazing reusable coffee cups out there and all of them help stop deforestation, decrease carbon emissions and make a safer environment for animals.
Have a vegan or vegetarian day
Oh, the veggie/meat debate. Ok, let’s look at some facts. Around 90 % of all deforestation can be traced back to the meat industry. In addition to that, animal agriculture is responsible for approximately 20% of the total greenhouse gas emissions globally. You don’t necessarily need to cut out meat, fish and dairy completely, but having one day off or alternate days can be a great way to help the environment.
rECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE
We all know the importance of recycling, yet we can sometimes be lazy with our choices and those small choices can make a marked difference. Recycling can help prevent pollution, reduce the need to harvest new raw materials, save energy and reduce greenhouse gasses. Manufacturing something the second time around usually consumes far less energy, for example, producing new aluminium from old products utilises 95% less energy than making it from scratch. Also, try buying products that consume less packaging (head to your Farmers’ Market), buy reusable over disposable items and carefully look after the items that you own in order to prolong their life.
As we integrate such small changes into our everyday lives, it gives our remarkable planet a hug and is kind to our bank accounts too. Win-win!