Tips for Making Sustainable Lifestyle Changes
Every day we each make decisions that affect the environment, climate, and other species. Individually, we have the power to make daily decisions to live a more sustainable life. If every individual incorporated more sustainable practices in their lifestyle, we collectively could make monumental strides toward a better future. If you are interested in doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint and take care of our planet, follow along for some tips for making sustainable lifestyle changes. Some people have a misconception that living sustainably is hard and inconvenient, but we want to show you how simple it may be for you to start being more sustainable today! With that being said, change can take time and may not happen overnight. That is okay. What matters is that you are dedicated to making sustainable lifestyle changes and willing to put in the effort to change your unsustainable habits.
Changes in Your Home
Efficient Energy Usage
The great news about having a sustainable home is that it will save energy and actually cost you less in the long run. In order to have efficient energy use, you want to make sure your house is well-insulated. A well-insulated home will help conserve energy and you will spend less on heat and air conditioning. Furthermore, weatherproof your home to prevent any inefficient air leaks. This may include caulking and sealing cracks, or weather stripping outside openings.
Additionally, installing a programmable thermostat can also help decrease your use of heat and air conditioning. Program your thermostat to turn on only while you are at home. Shutting your thermostat off while you are away eliminates wasteful energy consumption and, again, saves you money. You can also replace your light bulbs with more energy-efficient lighting options. Call your energy provider to see if they offer free energy audits, or if they know of a company that does. Then, you can audit your energy usage before and after your sustainable changes to see how much energy you are saving.
Clean and Reusable Products
Another area in your home that you can increase sustainability is in the products you use. For example, cleaning products, reusable dishware, and eco-friendly pest control and lawn care. Ditch cleaning products with harsh chemical cleaners. Instead use cleaning products that are green and organic. We promise these organic cleaners are still great at cutting through dirt and grime, they are also better for the planet! The same goes for eco-friendly pest control and lawn care products. The harsh, dangerous chemicals in most traditional pest-control and lawn care items aren’t healthy for the earth or for your family and pets. Technology has advanced to allow for more eco-conscious methods of yard maintenance. Again, using clean products in the areas surrounding your house is equally important for protecting the environment, your family, and your pets.
Next, if you are still using disposable dishware, water bottles, or utensils, consider switching to reusable alternatives. Eliminating as many one-use items from your life as possible is key to increasing your sustainability. For the one-use items you just can’t get rid of, try to recycle what you can. Remember, recycling is the last option in the reduce, reuse, recycle phrase. This isn’t a coincidence, it is better for the environment to reduce and reuse before resorting to recycling. In the spirit of reducing, try going paperless with your bills. Most companies now allow for all billing matters to be handled online. Going paperless can help reduce the clutter around your house and is beneficial for the environment.
Another great way to start being more sustainable is to be more conscious of your buying habits. Every product we buy has an environmental footprint. The materials used to make the product, the pollution emitted in manufacturing of the product, packaging that ends up in landfills, and the energy used to get the product to you all add up. Before buying new things, ask yourself if you really need it. If you do really need it, consider buying a gently used version instead of new, or look for a company that tries to manufacture, package, and ship their products in a more sustainable way. The same goes for when you are grocery shopping. Plan your meals ahead of time, shop with a list, and only buy what you need. Make a commitment to consume what you purchase to avoid contributing to food waste.
Changes to Your Diet
You can make drastic changes in your carbon footprint by simply adjusting your diet and the food you buy. In fact, meat production is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation globally. If you strive to cut out meat as much as you can, you will help cut down on the tons of land, chemicals, water, and more that it takes to produce meat. It may be hard to cut down meat consumption at first, but with practice and time, it becomes easier. When you do buy meat, choose sustainably raised, organic meats.
This leads us to how you should pay attention to the labels on your food. The sheer amount of options in the grocery store can be overwhelming, but knowing what to look for on labels can help narrow down the choices for you. Choose Fair Trade certified products when possible. Buying Fair Trade products supports companies dedicated to sustainable production and paying laborers a fair wage. Moreover, try to buy organic as much as possible. It may cost more, but it keeps harmful pesticides out of our land and water in addition to protecting farmers, wildlife, and your family. In general, you want to shop for foods that do not harm the environment, support and preserve rural communities, respect farm animals, provide farmers with fair wages, are locally grown, are free of added toxins, do not harm the health of farmworkers, and are healthy and nutritious.
Incorporating Alternative Transportation
We all know the pollutants released by vehicles are an issue. They have been known to increase air pollution levels, and have been linked to adverse health effects such as premature mortality, cardiac symptoms, and diminished lung function. To minimize these damaging effects, consider incorporating alternative transportation methods into your life. Alternative methods include biking, walking, public transportation, and carpools. Also, it is important to keep your car in shape with regular tune-ups and tire inflations. Both frequent tune-ups and keeping your tires properly inflated can increase your fuel efficiency.
Guidance for Change
We understand change can be overwhelming. The overwhelming feeling may even stop you from making the sustainable changes you want to incorporate into your lifestyle. Finding a life coach to help guide you through periods of change may help. Chriselda Santos, licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, specializes in helping clients use their natural strengths and capabilities to adopt healthy change. She will help guide you through moments of struggle, support your goals relentlessly, and provide you with the tools to change your lifestyle for good. If you’re interested in learning more about life coaching, or Chriselda’s techniques, visit her website.
Did you learn some new tips for making sustainable lifestyle changes?