I always feel awkward when people ask me for sustainability tips. Not because I feel like an imposter but because I have been living sustainably for a long time and don’t think about it that way. Sustainability has become second nature to me. I am not better than anyone else, we’re all equals, I just have been conscious about my impact on the world from an early age. This I attribute to my cultural upbringing and then to my love for learning to be a better earthling with others. So today, I want to share with you 8 ways I live sustainably with ease. These are some of the ways over the years I have worked to effortlessly incorporate in my life.
I am not the one to be a “preachy” vegan but I am not going to sugarcoat how it is the most sustainable diet/lifestyle you can adopt to save yourself, everyone else and the planet when done in a healthy way. Here are some quick facts to share with you
a. Animal agriculture is the second leading cause of climate change
b. Most of the plastic in the water comes from fishing lines
c. I would have to stay in the shower for 12 hours to use the same amount of water it takes to make one pound of beef.
d. Dairy milk is about 10x more destructive to the environment than any non-dairy milk, yes including almond milk.
e. Many uprisings all over the world have been the result of climate change exacerbating the living conditions of the people. ie. if a country is experiencing a drought from climate change then they are prone to experience a famine which has led to wars between the people and government for lack of and control of the scarce resources.
I am vegan for me AND you. I want you to live a good, high quality life. Therefore, it just makes sense to change my diet and lifestyle for the betterment of all. I transitioned over a 5 year period and have been vegan for 5 years. If I can do it, so can you!
2. High Quality > High Quantity
I love the practical side of minimalism. The straightforward just only owning what you actually need and not over consuming things that you don’t. When you look around your home, your life too, the things that are in it should only be things that you reallyyyyyyyyy want to keep. The hardest thing for me to get over was getting rid of things gifted to me. I felt guilty for not using the thing someone gave me. But then I realized that they probably don’t even remember giving it to me so it’s okay to resell to someone who will use it or donate.
3. Making Long Term Investments
Retail therapy feels so good but I have a rule about it: it must last longer than a year, if it doesn’t don’t buy it. My partner and I don’t buy novelty things. We do treat ourselves to nice things and splurge purchases but they last a really long time. Also, it feels better to save up for something nice that’ll last me a long time.
4. Reduce, Reuse then Recycle
Yes in that exact order. Think to yourself, how can I reduce the amount of waste I am creating. With less waste, I can find easier ways to reuse those things. Once, they are spent, its time to recycle. It’s best to practice consuming less goods and goods with more sustainable packaging than to keep buying tons of new stuff all the time.
5. Household Products
Considering how frequently we have to replace cleaning supplies and kitchen tools, it’s a good idea to start slowly swapping wasteful, toxic items for better ones. Some of the best swaps we’ve made recently are not using paper towels, having eco-friendly dish scrubbers, using biodegradable soap, and getting sox wax wraps for food.
*pictured is our drawer of microfiber cloths
6. Hygiene Products
We go through hygiene products only every 3 months thankfully but I feel differently about throwing them away for some reason. So to help with this feeling, I have started getting only recyclable, reusable and biodegradable products to take care of my body. by Humankind has hands down created the coolest packaging for dental hygiene and deodorant. The Sustainable Change has the cutest loofas! We love the sensation of scrubbing our body with it and I plan to cut it up into small pieces and add to my compost. Hello makes the only vegan floss that actually works and is easy to use.
We got a Google Nest for Christmas and so far it’s helped us save a lot of electricity recently. From how I was raised, I am very big on the “cut the lights off if you ain’t in there” agenda. I hate seeing too many lights on lol. Its been fun collecting rainwater to water my plants instead of trying to get a few gallons from the faucet.
8. Physical Activities
I am never here to shame anyone for how they choose to move their bodies! I just want to say that since I left the gym and just took my exercise outside or kept it at home. I only need myself for meditation, only a mat for yoga/HIIT training, only shoes for walking/hiking, etc. They are just very easy, low to no fancy equipment needed activities. The best part is enjoying nature while I do them!
In short, there are tons of ways to make sustainability easier for yourself. You cannot do it overnight, I sure as hell didn’t. You must take your time to become aware of the opportunities to be more sustainable, enjoy the process of learning new things and give yourself some grace because it will take some time. Just strive for progress not perfection!