More and more people every day are changing their lifestyle to one where they reduce the use of dwindling resources in their day to day life. This is otherwise known as sustainable living. The core principle is that members of one generation should act to conserve resources for the next generation. Sustainability is all about how we can live in harmony with the natural world around us and how we can protect it from damage and destruction. It's all about 'lagom', a Swedish word meaning the perfect amount, neither too much nor too little. In the concept of sustainability we need some resources to sustain our lives but not so much that we destroy our planet. I've put together some easy ways that we can become more sustainable in our daily lives. As well as doing your bit for saving some resources you'll also save money!
Reduce food waste - This is something I've worked hard on this past year or so. One idea is to plan your meals out for the week, not only will save you money but will make sure you are buying food that you need rather than think you need. Food which is sent to landfill breaks down and produces methane, one of the most harmful gases to contribute to climate change. Since we moved to Stockholm I found out that Swedes use any left over food to covert into energy and we have a bin especially for left over food. Great idea! Those of you not in Sweden, you could easily convert your left over food waste into compost for your garden.
Walk or cycle - Reduce the amount of fossil fuels you are using through driving by walking or cycling a couple of times a week. So many people cycle here in Sweden, it's very flat and scenic which makes it a lovely way to get from A-B. Even getting the bus more often or carpooling is great for your carbon footprint.
Eat more veggie - It's been found that the meat industry generates 1/5th of all man made gases which are effecting climate change. By going meat-free once or more a week you'll be reducing your carbon footprint, and lessening the demand for meat which will in turn slow down the always increasing meat industry. It also has many health benefits. There are so many delicious veggie recipes out there, it's fun to try new things and I have found that I'm much more creative in the kitchen now too!
Vintage - Buying vintage clothes not only allows you to get creative and find your own style but is also a sustainable way of shopping. Wearing pre-loved clothes reduces the need to make new virgin fibres like oil-based petroleum fabrics (eg. polyester) or cotton which each have their own environmental impacts.
Donate - Instead of throwing away old clothes, give them to charity and get involved in the cycle of sustainable clothes shopping. While you're there it's a good excuse to pick up some new clothes ;).
Reduce energy usage at home - Easy-peasy! Just turn off the lights when you're not in the room and switch off appliances at the wall when not in use. This will decrease the amount of fossil fuels burnt to produce energy for your home.
Use a reusable coffee cup - The UK gets through 10,000 of these cups every 2 minutes, according to BBC news. The truth is that none of these cups are recyclable! Luckily for us there are some super-cool reusable coffee cups out there and they are sold in many places. Keepcups are eco friendly reusable cups and are fully recyclable at the end of its life too.
Swap plastic bags for reusable bags - I saw a video of the impacts of plastic on wildlife and the environment a few months ago which really made me think. All plastic ever made will be here forever, it doesn't decompose! Here's a video which really puts plastic pollution into perspective, though it is pretty shocking so be warned. A way to cut down on your waste plastic is to switch to canvas shopping bags and mesh fruit bags instead of the free flimsy plastic ones you get in supermarkets. These bags are also great for farmers markets...
Shop locally - This not only supports businesses in your community but also reduces environmental impact. With small local businesses it is often very easy to know where your purchases are coming from and to know the way that the items are produced.
Support sustainable and eco friendly businesses - Many businesses are becoming more eco friendly, which I love! Some use biodegradable packaging, some use ethical materials in their products. I often think about this quote when I want to buy something and I hope it is something that sticks with you too:
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote on the kind of world you want to live in." - Anna Lappé