5 Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably
Spring is a reminder of the beautiful rebirth this world has to offer. No matter how dark or cold it gets, life has a way of bouncing back. The energy of a new season is palpable and inspiring.
I am always grateful of the beauty of the natural world. I especially love seeing all this green life return after months of cold and dormant plants. Birds singing are a lovely soundtrack to a lovely spring day. The Vikings celebrated this return to fertile soil and life on March 21st with Ostara. Later the Christians would take this celebration and rename it Easter, but the spirit is still living on, even if it has changed in ritual and name. Modern day practitioners see Spring as the reawakening of Earth and life. The soul seems to brighten as the days get longer and warmer. It is a joyous occasion and a time of natural wonder.
But so many of us take the beauty of nature for granted. I see plenty of people concerned about the environment, but I often wonder what they are doing about it? If it’s out of your control, do not worry. If you can control it, then what are you doing? Do these 5 small changes and put your mind at ease.
Composting is the act of turning organic matter back into soil. This is a great way to reduce your amount of trash and help make it stink less too! Anything that is organic, such as banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds and filters can all be composted. Then after leaving the decaying organic matter to the worms, they will turn it into nutrient rich black soil. Perfect for your home garden! Just make sure you stir it up once in a while, but the worms will do most of the work for you. What could be a better way to reconnect with nature than to get your hands dirty and grow your own foo? Whether it is just a small pot of peppers on your deck, or a full yard of fruits and veggies, growing a garden is a healthy and sustainable practice that anyone can learn.
When you are out and about, take a break from your smartphone and observe those around you. Surely, some of the people you see will be toting a plastic bottle or two with them. I used to be guilty of this myself so I strive to refrain from judgment here. Still, the amount of plastic water bottles I see every day are mind blowing. It is one of the most wasteful habits that soda companies have sold on the American people. If nothing else, go out and buy yourself a stainless-steel water bottle so you no longer leave toxic plastic water bottles for the environment to clean to decompose over the next 100 years. Not only is plastic toxic to the environment, it’s toxic to your body as well. Plastic water bottles contain endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol-A or BPA. Bisphenol-A has been shown to cause infertility, tumors and cancer. As if that wasn’t enough incentive, this will also save you money in the long run since you’ll be impulse buying less drinks while you are running errands.
Consume less meat
The American public has been stubborn when it comes to going meatless entirely so I won’t make that argument. But the new trend of meatless Mondays May have the right idea. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Instead of cutting out meat entirely, the idea is to consume less meat. Animals, beef in particular, are inefficient when it comes to calorie transfers. It takes about 10 calories of feed to produce one calorie of beef. Now before you go out and buy tofu, think more creatively as some vegetarian meals are quite tasty and less filling. I find myself feeling slugging and stuffed after certain meals. Yet this usually doesn’t occur when I eat a lighter meal, and vegetarian meals tend to be significantly lighter. The trick here is to not overdo it on the carbs, but to swap out the meat for more fruit and veggies. Otherwise, you are doing the environment a favor at the expense of your own health.
Consolidate your trips/ bike walk
As a society, we have grown to love our cars and unfortunately many of us need to use them to get anywhere. If you can’t use public transportation or walk, then consolidating your trips can help cut down on your mileage. This is another cost saving tip as it will save you money on fuel consumption as well as wear and tear on your vehicle. I have always found it peculiar how most of us will race around in our days pressed for time, yet drive somewhere to go walk or bike. We drive to work and back home, and then go to a gym to walk or bike in place. Obviously, the gym has more benefits than walking can provide, and most of us live too far away from work to bike or walk. Still, the inefficiencies of our modern way of living make me question these paradoxes.
Be a more mindful consumer
Our society has a fulfillment problem masquerading as a consumption problem. Shopping, addiction, overeating and drinking are all symptoms of a society that is longing for more yet is completely lost on how to find a purpose. It is difficult to create one, so many people take the easy way out which is to just numb the pain and continue on as consumers. The crowd of mindless lemmings will suck you into their way of mindless consumption if you don’t find your own purpose in life and this planet can ill afford to continue down this path forever. We have an infinite growth economy but we live on a planet with finite resources. Our economy and ecology are due for a head on collision. We like to believe we can’t make a difference and that we are at the mercy of giant corporations. This defeatist attitude is what they ingrained in our heads but it’s not accurate. The truth is that these corporations are enslaved by our consumptive habits. By changing our habits and being more mindful about our consumption, our dollars will force these companies to become more sustainable. The takeaway here is to make small everyday changes that don’t overwhelm you to the point of inaction. Be a shining light in your community for others to emulate and you can make a difference.