Sustainability 101: What it means to actually live consciously

| by Christine moghadam

Sustainability 101: What it means to actually live consciously

The topic of sustainability and living consciously might bring to mind something completely different for each of us. Maybe you think of eco-friendly practices like recycling, using less water, or bringing a reusable shopping bag to the store.

Living consciously means incorporating practices into our daily lives that provide support for tomorrow. Recycling, for example, is sustainable for multiple reasons. This simple practice prevents us from taking additional resources from our earth, prevents needless material from being stored in the earth’s landfills, and also protects our environmental habitats.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sustainability is based upon a principle: “Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.”

Why Is Sustainability Important?

Sustainable living improves the health and quality of life for everyone on the planet. Thanks to technology, we’re more aware than ever before the way our choices impact the world around us.

Our eco-conscious decisions are important for many reasons. They improve environmental quality, economic quality, and our own physical health.

In order to have healthy communities, we need clean air, natural resources, and a non-toxic environment. If we don’t use our natural resources wisely, eventually the world around us will give out. And of course, sustainability clearly has a direct impact on our physical wellbeing. Many of the health issues we see today are the result of air and water quality. The quality of our health is directly related to the quality of our environment.

Whether you choose to live responsibly or irresponsibly, it affects the world around you. It’s easy to think that one person can’t have an impact. But our collective behaviors added together can have a big impact.

But every endeavor, no matter how big or small begins with a single person. Your habits rub off onto your friends and family and in turn, their behaviors change and begin to impact their sphere of influence. It doesn’t take long for your individual efforts to have a great impact on the world around you.

How Can You Live More Sustainably?

There are a million and one ways to live consciously. The classic example of throwing reusable products into a recycling bin is a great place to start. But there are so many additional ways we can live more consciously and be more sustainable.

From turning off the lights when you leave a room to finding more sustainable ways to travel, we can be more environmentally conscious in nearly anything we do.

To get you started, here are eleven simple ways to live more consciously.

eat less meat

1. Eat Less Meat

More than 30 percent of the Earth’s surface is used to support livestock. According to a United Nations study, “the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.”

Use Paper Less
2. Use Paper Less:

The less paper you use, the less paper needs to be produced and the more trees that get to fill our forests.

Use Canvas Bags

3. Use Canvas Bags:

Not only is it more sustainable, but a canvas bag is also sturdier than a traditional plastic or paper bag.

Start A Compost Pile

4. Start A Compost Pile:

Compost bins reduce waste but also save you money and help your plants grow better in your garden.

Use The Right Light Bulb

5. Use The Right Light Bulb:

When it’s time to replace your light bulb, use a compact fluorescent light. CFL bulbs last more than five times longer and use less electricity than regular light bulbs.

Use Cloth Over Paper
6. Use Cloth Over Paper:

Cut up an old t-shirt or towel for your house cleaning needs. It will save you money and create less trash.

Cut Down On Energy In Your Home

7. Cut Down On Energy In Your Home:

We all tend to use a lot of energy in our homes, so there are many opportunities to cut back. One simple way is to lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer. You can also unplug unused appliances. It’s a win-win because it’s great for the environment and leads to a smaller energy bill.

Borrow Instead Of Buying

8. Borrow Instead Of Buying:

When was the last time you visited the library? Instead of buying another book, borrow it from the library.

Reduce Water Use

9. Reduce Water Use:

Consider taking a shorter shower and buying less (or none at all) bottled water.

Ride Your Bike

10. Ride Your Bike:

The carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by cars and trucks contribute one-fifth of the United States' total global warming pollution. Riding your bike or walking is another way to save money, exercise, and protect mother nature.

Buy Sustainable Clothing and Products_

11. Buy Sustainable Clothing and Products:

As our global awareness increases, we’re beginning to see the impact of our collective efforts. Thankfully many brands have committed to more sustainable practices. We encourage you to check out Corc Yoga’s sustainable yoga products.

    For more ideas about how to live a greener lifestyle, check out the following resources provided by the EPA.

    Greener Living

    Sustainability Resources

    Conclusion

    The most important thing is to start. If you’re not living sustainably, then begin today.

    Becoming more eco-friendly doesn’t require a radical shift in your lifestyle. Start with something small before you try to incorporate all of the previously mentioned ideas. Maybe it’s as simple as taking a shorter shower, riding your bike to work, or turning the lights off when you leave the room. Choose one habit and start living a more sustainable lifestyle.

     

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