The real answer is easy: a definition of sustainable living focuses on an individual’s impact on the world, with the goal to “attempt to reduce their ecological footprint (including their carbon footprint) by altering their methods of transportation, energy consumption, and/or diet.”1 An ecological footprint measures the effect we have on our surroundings.
As we’re looking around at the multitude of environmental issues and ecologies out of balance, we wonder what we can do to make a difference. It’s sometimes easy to forget that so many daily decisions we make have an impact - good or bad - on the planet we live on.
The good news is, a simple mindset shift can make a big difference! Sustainable living suggests we reprioritize and look at our life through a greener lens, one where both we and the environment are winning.
There are a lot of areas in our lives to improve so, in the beginning, there is something approachable to tackle for each of us. If we think of becoming more sustainable as a process, starting this process does not have to be overwhelming.
However, the sheer possibilities for greener living mean that, as the we move further down the process, a lot of aspects of our lives will change.
"As individuals, we may feel small, but collectively we can have a huge impact.” 2
It is important for each of us to take action on our scale, and to “recognize that one becomes many, and many have the power to drive real change on a legal and political scale. In turn, all will be held accountable – even those oil and coal lobbyists”2 - as mentioned in the Sustainable Jungle blog post. While the proportion of change needed is huge, small choices do add up.
To summarize: “As individuals, we may feel small, but collectively we can have a huge impact.”2
There are so many ways to live a sustainable lifestyle, so where to start?
The Sustainable Jungle post also mentions sharing knowledge as an approachable first step and possible easy contribution to fighting our destructive habits. Sharing an article like this blog post, sharing a tip that works for you, sharing a personal experience - all that is a small step that can have a huge impact down the road.
Some ideas for lifestyle changes can have more than one possible positive effect, so changing one small routine can turn out to be more rewarding than expected. And often, it keeps giving back. Building habits and altering a lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, but starting at a small level is a step in the right direction; all intentional change is good change. So get that sustainable conversation going in your circles!
Daily Tip: Ride Your Bike
One great sustainable living idea is: starting to rethink transportation can be a key way to make alterations on a daily level. When possible, take an environmentally friendly option instead of your car or gas-fueled vehicle. There are so many alternatives, such as “public transport, carpooling, ridesharing, walking and cycling. If more people chose these options, it would lead to fewer private vehicles on the roads, less traffic congestion and reduced air pollution.”3
Riding your bike or coordinating rides means less fossil fuel burned, so less pollution of the atmosphere. This is a huge step towards a low carbon footprint.
Beyond the immediate health benefits of clean air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, there are more personal benefits to sustainably living as well. Sitting in less traffic means time saved. Riding a bike is a workout and good for your health.
There are financial benefits too: “The biggest purchase people make beyond a home is a vehicle. Considering the upfront cost of a car, running costs such as fuel, insurance and registration, not to mention the costs of repair and maintenance and it’s easy to see how a car can be a money pit.”3
Saving on transportation can mean more money to invest elsewhere. So, a daily change to make is rethinking what transportation you use, a change that has more than one benefit for all.
Every choice you make add up and matter, so starting to shift some of them - or most of them - to be environmentally friendly makes a real difference. The process and speed of change is up to you!
The best way to remember something is to see it every day, so why not have a reminder of sustainable living tips up on the wall in front of you.
Download this FREE poster and put it on your fridge for daily, weekly and monthly reminders on how to live sustainably.
Have you made a little change that's made a big difference? We'd love to know! Drop a comment below and tell us what you're doing for Mother Earth.