This is a guest post, from the lovely Lauren McKnight. She helps stressed-out moms simplify their home and life so that they can finally find the freedom to live a life of intention, through The Clutter-Free Mama. She is also a highly talented freelance writer for hire at Lauren Glen Creative! Do go ahead and check her out.
If you’ve been watching the news, scrolling through Facebook, or keeping up with politics, then you know that climate change has been a hot topic lately. Climate change is threatening our future, and if we don’t act now, we could reach a point of no return.
While monumental change may be out of our hands, there are still choices we can make that will reduce our environmental footprint.
If you don’t know what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle, or you’re just looking to get started and learn more, you are in the right place. In this post, I will explain what sustainable living is, the benefits of sustainable living, and ten simple tips that you can start TODAY to kick-off your ‘sustainable living for beginners’ journey.
What is Sustainable Living for Beginners?
So what does ‘sustainable living for a beginner’ mean anyway?
Simply put – it is an individual’s attempt to reduce their consumption of Earth’s natural resources in order to reduce their carbon footprint and save resources for future generations. It could also mean replenishing the resources we have used and producing less waste.
You could extend sustainable living into any area of your life such as:
- Energy Consumption
- Personal resources
The concept of sustainable living is easy – use less of Earth’s resources and meet our needs without jeopardising future generation’s ability to meet their needs. But it isn’t enough to know what sustainable living is – everyone needs to know why it is important.
Why is it Important to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle?
The reason living a sustainable lifestyle is important is pretty straightforward – if we don’t take care of the environment, we reduce our quality of life here on Earth, natural resources will grow scarce, and animal populations will be in danger of becoming extinct. We risk some pretty grave dangers if we don’t make a change, and make it soon.
The good news is that sustainable living is the root of this change, and there are things you can do at home, in your community, and around the world to do your part to protect the planet. Sustainable living for beginners doesn’t need to be difficult.
It is only a matter of time before becoming sustainable isn’t an option anymore – it is something we must do if we want to protect life on Earth.
What are the Benefits of Sustainable Living?
There are numerous benefits to living sustainably, including a reduced cost of living and living a healthier lifestyle. Not only does sustainability improve the planet, your quality of life can actually improve!
Here are some of the top benefits of living a sustainable lifestyle – for beginners especially.
Simplify Your Life
Whenever you start living sustainably, you start to question just how much you need and what you feel comfortable living without. Whenever you use, need, and want less, you simplify your life. This allows you to make time for the things that truly matter to you, such as family, friends, and self-care.
Sustainability actually saves you money in the long run and helps you stop mindlessly spending. You become a much more conscious consumer and save money when you rely on yourself for things like food, water, and energy.
Better Planet for Future Generations
Every action you take now helps your children, grandchildren, and all future generations have the resources they need and the quality of life that was afforded to you. Sustainability helps future generations thrive.
Living a Healthier Lifestyle
When you start living in an eco friendly way, you tend to get rid of the toxins in your home, which helps you live a healthier lifestyle. Taking care of the planet directly impacts and improves your health! You could also lose weight and increase your fitness by forgoing unhealthy foods wrapped in plastic or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Win-win!
Sustainability can help improve your confidence when you rely on yourself instead of others for your wants and needs, and can help your self-esteem when you become part of a global movement.
When you live a sustainable lifestyle, you end up creating less waste, which helps reduce your carbon footprint. You may buy less clothes, waste less food, and generally consume less, if approaching sustainable living for beginners.
If you search through #zerowaste or #ethicalfashion on Instagram, you can find some brilliant companies and methods of reducing waste.
NB: I hope these benefits help motivate you to start your sustainable living journey, and to keep motivated when things get tough!
What are some Examples of Sustainable Living?
There are many ways that people are living sustainably! Some measures are more extreme than others, but they are doing their part to protect the planet and are still thriving.
Here are a few examples of sustainable living. Check them out to see if these would be viable options for you!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, & Re-purpose
This method is a great example of sustainable living! When we reduce our use of resources, re-use what we can, recycle what we don’t need, and re-purpose old items into new ones, we help improve the environment. The best part about this example is that it is practical and something everyone can do to live more sustainably.
Tiny Home Living
There are many people around the world that have seen the benefits of living in a smaller home. These people are enjoying a reduced cost of living, are using less resources, and are more energy efficient than those in larger homes. Not only that, but they are living simple, happy lifestyles that focus more on community, family, and experiences rather than material things.
Starting a gardening is another example of sustainable living. The benefits of starting your own garden are enormous, such as knowing exactly where your food is coming from, saving money by cutting out the middleman, and increased confidence in acquiring a new skill. This example is also practical since you don’t need a lot of resources or space to get started growing your own food.
Ditching the Plastic
Limiting or completely stopping the use of plastic has become more and more popular and for good reason. Plastic can take thousands of years to decompose, and often contains harmful chemicals that are not good for the environment or animal life. Many people have traded in plastic shopping bags for cloth bags, plastic straws for metal straws, and bring their own reusable containers to the store to buy products in bulk.
Another example of sustainable living would be trading your car in for something that is green and eco-friendly. Some people also bike or walk to their destination if the commute is close by. Whenever you can, try to use these options, or carpool if possible.
Practical Sustainable Living Tips
How can I be more Sustainable?
If you are ready to live a sustainable lifestyle but not quite ready to sell your house or trade in your car, there are many practical, simple steps you could take today that would greatly benefit the planet and your lifestyle. Kick off your sustainable living journey with easy ways to live more sustainably.
One of the best things you can do for the environment is to go vegan. If you aren’t quite there yet, then consider going meatless for a couple of nights during the week. Learner Vegan has some great advice on how to start!
Going vegan has many benefits such as using less water, cost savings, and saving the lives of precious animals.
Change Out the Light Bulbs
Consider switching to LED light bulbs. These bulbs are energy efficient, meaning you don’t have to swap them out as often as conventional lighting. There are so many different kinds of LED lighting options that you are sure to find something that fits your needs and the style of your home.
Don’t Use Plastic Bags at the Grocery Store
Plastic is extremely harmful for the environment, so it should be our top priority to use it less and less, or go completely plastic-free. Plastic bags at the grocery store are clogging up our landfills and endangering animals on land and sea.
Whenever you go to the grocery store, bring cloth bags with you to hold groceries instead. Keep them in your car with you at all times so you never forget them!
Hang Dry Clothes
Save money and promote energy conservation by line-drying your clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer. You will greatly reduce your carbon footprint and protect your clothes from harsh heat, which helps them last longer as well.
Turn Off All Devices at Night
Turn off all devices at night, including computers and wifi as well, in order to save energy! Don’t forget to also turn off all the lights whenever you leave a room.
Avoid Buying Plastic Wrapped Products
It seems like plastic is a daily facet in our lives and impossible to escape. However, limiting your use of plastic isn’t as hard as you think. You could switch from unhealthy plastic wrapped foods to whole foods, swap out plastic straws for metal, or stop buying water bottles and use a stainless steel bottle instead. This helps protect the environment and your wallet!
Shop Second-Hand for Clothes (Or Shop Ethically)
Shop at local thrift stores when you need new clothes. Most thrift stores have name-brand clothes in like-new condition. This will help you save money, fossil fuels and water resources that come from shopping at the clothing store.
If you want brand new items, then please shop ethical, sustainable clothing brands. These brands make sure that not only conscious of the amount of resources used, but that their workers are receiving fair pay and the companies are enforcing ethical labour practices.
Opt to Receive Digital Files and Mail
Go paperless! Whenever you are able to, opt to receive digital mail and notices. Most banks and other companies have a green initiative and offer to send you important emails instead of paper notices. Sustainable living for beginners can be as easy as this!
Make Your Own Homemade Cleaning Products
Most conventional, store-bought cleaners contain harmful chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, but bad for your health as well. Consider making your own green, homemade cleaning products using natural ingredients such as lemons, lavender, vinegar, and baking soda. This will help you save so much money, since store bought cleaners can get very expensive.
Final Thoughts on: Living a Sustainable Lifestyle for Beginners
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sustainable living.
Not only is it important for the future of our planet to live sustainably, there are practical ways to get started and so many benefits for ourselves and future generations as well. So get going using this guide to sustainable living for beginners!
Tell me, are you already doing any of these things in order to live a sustainable lifestyle. If not, is there anything you are willing to try? Let me know in the comments what you are doing to help!
Note from Katy –
Interested in incorporating veganism into your sustainable living plan? My FREE ‘Easy Being Vegan’ pack includes a shopping list and an easy meal plan, giving you even more fantastic meal ideas. There’s also a personal action points for staying vegan, and my BONUS favourite egg and dairy substitutes. Grab it now!
And if you need a little extra ongoing support, join our free community! We have a private Facebook group designed to help the vegan-curious, transitioning and new vegan on their journey. It’s a positive, non-judgmental safe space where all questions are welcome. We have plenty of meal ideas and brainstorming, too!