How to Take Personal Action to Lead a Sustainable Lifestyle

September 15, 2016

Sustainable Lifestyle

In previous blogs, sustainability has been approached in a few different ways.  Looking at it from a personal perspective, business perspective, and a broader global perspective, the topic has been covered from various angles.

Given that sustainability is an interconnected topic that requires a bit more of an open mind, it’s not something that can be covered in one article or lesson.  There are however key concepts that can help explain how sustainability works, and how it can be applied to daily life.

For starters, the concept of resource management.  I’ve mentioned this one a few times because I believe it is a cornerstone of sustainability.  When we manage resources with a long term outlook, rather than a short term one, we are inherently thinking about sustainability.

When it comes to resource management, perhaps many people think of this as a business or technical term.  However, it is simply a fancy way of saying “taking care of something”.  What resources do we use day to day?  Our home, car, money, clothes.  Those are physical or tangible things.

What about the less obvious things we use daily: our personal energy level, water, air, relationships?  These are all resources of some sort, and if we don’t take care of them, they won’t last.

So if you think about resource management from a broad perspective, and think about taking care of things so that they last, it will be easy to apply sustainability to your daily life.

To get you started, here are a few tips on how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.  These are some of the many actions we can take as individuals to make a positive impact on the environment around us – one we share with 7 billion others, plus endless amounts of animal and plant species.

Tips For a Sustainable Lifestyle

Practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – this one tip goes a long way!  You can apply it to many different facets of your life, not just waste management.  Reduce can mean a reduction in consumption of a certain product that is not healthy for you or the environment.  Reuse might suggest buying second hand or getting an extra season out of a sweater.  And recycle, that can be about getting creative and turning something old into something new through the practice of upcycling.

Go Local – whether it is your food, clothes, or favorite brewery, when possible, choose local.  By choosing local you are reducing carbon emitted into the atmosphere because transportation of goods burns a lot of fossil fuel.  Sometimes buying local costs a little bit more, but it’s actually a better deal in the long run.  When you support a local business, you are supporting your local economy.  When you eat local produce, you are making a healthier choice for you and for the environment.  When you buy locally made products, you are not depending on something being shipped 5,000 miles just to get to you.

Walk, Bike, or Hitch a Ride – single passenger vehicles not only emit a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, they also create a lot of stress through traffic jams.  Although it is not always possible to use alternative transportation, there are times when you can ditch the car, especially if you are the only one in it.  That might mean finding work closer to home, or carpooling if you have a longer commute.  If possible, bike or walk to your local shops rather than fighting traffic or searching for parking spots at the big box stores. 

Although this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a sustainable lifestyle, these tips will not only help the environment, they will also help you lead a healthier lifestyle – and your health is one of the best resources you can manage. 

What’s your favorite way to lead a sustainable lifestyle?  Comment below or connect through social media!

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