As economist Ha-Joon Chang once said, “people ‘over-produce’ pollution because they are not paying attention to the costs of dealing with it.” As illustrated by this quote, the key to understanding sustainability is recognition. We must truly understand that every action we take affects the world around us, even if we don’t feel those effects ourselves. Living sustainably is about utilizing current natural resources responsibly for the sake of future generations.
While sustainable living is a daily practice, there are subtle ways you can become more eco-friendly throughout your time on planet Earth. If you’re embarking on a lifestyle change during this budding season, kickstart that change by becoming more cognizant of your resource consumption. Here’s how to live a more sustainable lifestyle this spring.
Go Plastic- and Paper-Free: Dispose of Disposables
You've heard it many times before: “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Many people have been recycling ever since they can remember, while others have been learning this step’s importance later in life. Either way, learning to dispose of things properly is an effective, sustainable action that reduces your carbon footprint.
While going paperless and plastic-free is all good and well, try to use reusable alternatives. Single-use products, especially anything made out of plastic, end up in landfills and in the ocean, which causes harm not only to wildlife but the eco-environment at large. As you make purchases during this season of renewal, consider an item’s life expectancy. As a consumer, you can always choose to invest in reusable products for the same kind of product you would typically throw away.
Take Steps To Reduce Household Energy Consumption
Keeping your home in good shape improves your overall energy efficiency. Take the necessary steps to “go green” and ensure your home has adequate insulation and energy-saving features, such as eco-friendly windows, appliances, and lighting.
Learn more about your current energy consumption with a home energy audit, which reveals actionable advice tailored to your home’s specific measurements. There is a plethora of eco-friendly home important projects you can take on to conserve energy more efficiently.
Plant Seeds: Grow Your Own Food
While eating locally, meal planning, composting, and eating leftovers are equally valid ways to reduce pollution and waste, why not plant seeds to grow your own food? Another way to live a more sustainable lifestyle this spring is to start your own eco-friendly garden. For those with yard space, planting a garden is something all people should consider for environmental reasons. You also save a trip to the grocery store for fruits or veggies.
Spring Cleaning: Resell or Donate Items
Spring cleaning allows you to rid your closet or household of any unused items. If you don’t use a product or wear a piece of clothing anymore, consider rehoming the item to someone who would use it or donating it to a charity shop. Instead of throwing your old items to the curb, do your part to reduce waste.
Truly, all you need to do to live more sustainably is to give deeper thought to your daily actions. What you do—and how you choose to live—matters.
- Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism (London: Penguin Books, 2010) ↑