Sustainability by definition is the avoidance of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. As our global population has grown exponentially within the last 75 years, the demand for certain finite resources has grown, and the rate at which we are using finite resources or polluting the environment to meet this demand is negatively affecting the environment we rely on to sustain life as we know it. It’s going to take a lot more than an individual’s actions for the entire world to be living sustainably, but collectively as consumers, we have the power to change what we demand. Here we’ve listed 8 ways to live in a more eco-conscious manner.
- Eat less meat
The meat and dairy industry generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all automobile emissions combined. The western diet is very heavy with animal products, and an increased consumption of meat has been linked to obesity, cancer and heart disease. The fact that eating less meat both helps the environment and our own health makes it a no-brainer. We’re not saying everyone should adopt a completely meat-free diet overnight, however reducing our overall consumption, perhaps by doing meat-free Mondays, would be a great idea.
- Don’t waste food
In the UK, we throw away about 6.6 million tons of household food waste annually- of the 6.6 million tons we throw away, almost three quarters is food we could have eaten. Ways to reduce food waste include using produce in order of the closest use by date or freezing leftovers. This not only helps the environment, but saves you money too.
3. Cycle, walk or use public transport where possible
Apart from having zero carbon emissions, cycling and walking are obviously great forms of exercise, so if you’re able to cycle or walk to work or wherever you need to go, it’ll help to improve air quality for all of us.
4. Use reusable alternatives
There has been a big push for this in recent years, with people wanting to move away from single-use plastic. Supermarket chains now charge for carrier bags, and many coffee shop chains and restaurants have switched from plastic straws to paper straws. Plastic is essentially non-biodegradable and will remain in the environment for millions of years, taking up space in landfill and even getting into ecosystems, killing many species that are already under threat.
- Recycle and reuse!
This isn’t anything revolutionary, we all know about the importance of recycling to decrease the rate of depletion of natural resources. Buying second-hand is an easy way to avoid being wasteful, but if not, there are more and more new brands popping up that are selling sustainably made or sourced products.
- Use Renewable energy
The use of renewables is growing , from wind to solar, they produce electricity with virtually zero carbon emissions. Shifting from fossil fuels to renewables will reduce air pollution and stop further environmental damage caused by global warming.
- Grow your own produce
If you have the time and space in your garden, growing a variety of produce means that you’re relying less on imported supermarket produce, which has a much greater carbon footprint.