Part of changing your thoughts and changing your life is to expand your awareness and be open to new ways of living. Living sustainably is for some of us a new and excellent way to create and sustain peace, happiness and abundance. It is important to understand the concept of sustainable living and apply the tips, techniques and strategies that may be suitable for you. Sustainable living can have a different meaning for different people. Generally the aim is to conduct your lifestyle and create habits that are in favour of the environment and in balance with the earth’s natural ecology.
Sustainable Living, on a deeper level, is a feeling of oneness and interconnectedness to everything and everyone. It’s really a way of being – acting with integrity and living consciously with an appreciation and respect towards our planet.
Many people who practice sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by choosing different types of transportation, energy consumption, eating habits (foods) and products that are more eco-friendly.
The secret to sustainable living is really about simplifying your lifestyle which can result in a greater amount of freedom, joy and gratitude towards what you already have. It requires you to be more conscious about your actions and more aware about your lifestyle choices. It often requires taking small steps and changing one or two things at a time.
So how does one get started on the path to sustainable living? It’s very easy but often we forget or overlook simple ways to make a difference. Here are 10 eco-friendly tips and simple ways to embrace and experience sustainable living:
1. Say no to spam. Contact the distributing company or marketing association to have your name removed from their mailing list. You can also stick a “no junk mail” sign on your mail box. Not only will this save you time by not having to sort the mail into recycling but it will also help to reduce the thousands of trees destroyed each year to create the junk mail that is sent to your home.
2. Receive and pay your bills electronically. Almost everything from your phone bill to your credit card statement can be viewed online and often these companies will discount you a few dollars for going paperless. Ask your service providers about it and set it up to reduce paper production.
3. Turn off your electronics when not in use. A computer left on for 24 hours can use a lot of electricity – up to 1000 kilowatts. And, even when your TV or computer is off, it is still using power. Either unplug all your electronic devices or use a power strip and flip of the switch when you’re done.
4. Use less disposable items. Try eating ice cream in a cone, rather than a cup. Use your travel mug when buying coffee. Keep your water bottle handy. Buy more of your food from the bulk bin and re-use your own eco-friendly bags or containers to reduce the amount of packaged products purchased. Some stores even sell stuff like laundry detergent, soap, and other house hold cleaning products in bulk and often at a discount. Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags.
5. Take shorter showers. Try reducing your shower time by five minutes, or better yet, take a five minute shower. Just cutting two minutes from your shower time can save ten gallons of water. I often do the 5 minute cool shower in the dark (sometimes I will light a candle) which is so very refreshing. Check out this ultimate eco-shower for sustainable design.
6. Collect and save water. Put containers with removable covers outside to collect rainwater that you can use to water your lawn, flower beds and gardens. Try using a bucket once a week in the shower to collect water that you can use to water your houseplants (make sure the water is at the right temperature before watering). It’s also a good reminder to water the plants.
7. Upgrade your lights. Changing light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones can save four times the amount of energy than a regular bulb. Energy-efficient CFLs can also last up to ten times longer than traditional ones. The light from these bulbs will give off light as bright as your old bulbs or brighter and save you money. Don’t forget to turn off lights when not in use. If you can get motion-sensitive lights, give them a try – they turn off when no more motion is detected. Also, if you like using outdoor lights go for the solar powered ones.
8. Reuse your clothes. What you wear each day can often be worn for more than one day. Be mindful before you toss that shirt into the dirty laundry and ask yourself if you can get one more day out of wearing it. Not only will you save water and detergent but also the time it takes to do that extra load of laundry. The same can be applied for sheets and blankets. Call me old fashion but I like to do the old sniff test.
9. Recycle whenever and whatever you can. Check with your city or town to find out everything that you can recycle. My city picks up the glass, plastic, paper, cardboard and metal every week. Visit your local recycle depot to see exactly what and how the recycle. Take a field trip and make it an adventure. Don’t forget to invite your friends along – you may need to buy the coffee.
10. Walk or bike whenever possible. Take the bus or carpool if one of these is not practical. Walking or cycling reduces the amount of gas spewed into the air by cars thus lowering carbon emissions greatly. In addition to having less of an impact on our planet you can become a little more fit and healthy, so make it part of your exercise program.
As we advance into this new millennium we are shifting into higher consciousness which means we may be accelerating and shifting towards more renewable energy, sustainable travel and business, eco-friendly products, green technology and sustainable designs which will change the way we live. Don’t get left behind. Enjoy and explore the alternatives.