Living sustainably often feels like an all or nothing mentality, yet we can all take small steps to better take care of the planet that we live on. It doesn’t have to happen overnight.
So in this article, we will go through five simple steps to help you start living a more sustainable lifestyle today. The goal is not to go through specific sustainable swaps, but to help shift your mindset to think more holistically about sustainable living. Everyone will take it a bit differently based on their background and geographical area, so be encouraged to do what is within your means.
Stop Yourself From Buying That Next Thing
The first step to live more sustainably is to stop yourself from buying that next thing.
You’ve likely experienced a pull to buy the next best thing. It could be a new tech gadget, even a sustainable product that popped up in your feed. However, the reality is that each new product takes additional natural resources, energy, and carbon to be produced. Living sustainably does not necessarily equate to having all the reusable, compostable, or sustainable products in your home overnight.
So having a minimalist mindset of buying as little as possible is a fantastic way to live more sustainably. When we are resourceful, we are gentler to the planet, but when it’s time to purchase something new, simply be mindful and do your research. Try your best to support sustainably made products for more on minimalism and how to refuse unnecessary purchases.
Be Conscious Of Small Habits
The second simple step is to be conscious of small habits, one at a time.
Notice the next thing you throw away, is there something reasonable or more sustainable that can replace it? Or the next time you go to the grocery store, can you shop for seasonal products or more plant-based options? If you have some time and mental capacity, take a moment to pause and see if there’s any way you can reduce your waste, eat more locally, walk instead of drive more, etc.
Reflect how I do my best to live more sustainably in my local context. My advice to you is to take it one step at a time considering how overwhelming this journey can be.
It’s not only sustainable for the planet, but also for yourself. So take it in manageable chunks.
Be Curious And Open To Learning
If you’re unsure of where to begin, consider feeding your mind. Understanding your relationship with the planet can help you determine what steps to take in your own context. Reading books, watching documentaries, or even taking an environmental sciences course online or at your local community college is a great way to begin.
Learn from those who have more experience and continue to better understand what sustainability means in today’s day and age. The more we educate ourselves, the more we can equip ourselves with the knowledge to better understand government policy, business practices, potential greenwashing, and more. Knowledge truly is power.
Take What You Know And Create
The fourth step is take what you know and create your own style of environmental activism.
Your journey to learn more about sustainability can go beyond education and into action, but taking action will come in different forms and know that not everyone is comfortable with protesting and others find it difficult to tackle business issues.
We all have our own individual passions and strengths, so I encourage you to find how sustainability relates to whatever you’re doing.
Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home parent. Taking the time to make simple changes at home and educating your kids along the way is a great way to impart important knowledge to the next generation. Or maybe you’re a business owner selling clothing. You can consider more sustainable practices such as sustainable materials, ethical wages, or sustainable packaging.
Or perhaps you want the government to take a more progressive step forward, consider joining an environmental committee in your local city or a nonprofit organization working in sustainability. There are a multitude of ways to be involved. So bloom where you are planted. No need to compare your level of activism to someone else’s.
We just need everyone doing their part, no matter how little it may seem. Every single thing counts.
Lead By Action
We’re surrounded by family, friends, and community, and oftentimes they’ll have differing views from ours. If you’re discouraged when others around you don’t seem to understand the importance of taking care of the planet, I’d highly recommend leading by action, not forcing others to make changes, but inviting them to do so when the time is right, changing the behavior of another person can cause conflict and rub them the wrong way.
It’s best to offer advice only if they’re curious and willing to listen as confronting someone else to do something for the planet and implying that they’re not doing something right can be off-putting. Instead, taking the time to lead by action without any judgment can help open the door for conversation.
Invite others to take part and be willing and ready to learn about sustainability with them if they express the desire to do so.
So those are five simple steps to give you a more holistic perspective on living more sustainably. Though this past month was Earth Month, I’d encourage you to remember that every day is an opportunity to do something for the planet, no matter how big or small. As every action has the potential to positively affect the earth and the people that live on it.