5 Tips to Help You Live a Sustainable Life
If you want to know how to start living your best sustainable life, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve created a handy guide full of tips and tricks to help you look after the world around you - but before we get into it, let’s take a look at what sustainability actually means.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” We usually think of sustainability as about not depleting the world’s natural resources, but it actually focuses on three elements: environmental protection, social inclusion, and economic growth. With a view towards creating a better future for all, sustainability is all about balance, longevity, and creating good.
So how can you make a difference? Read on to find out our top tips for living sustainably.
1. Embrace slow fashion.
As the fashion industry stands, the norm is fast fashion - cheap clothing that follows a rapid trend cycle and results in lots of waste and pollution. It doesn’t take into account the environment or the well-being of workers making the clothes, instead focusing solely on profits. Until recently, it has been driven by consumer demand, but things are starting to shift. With an increasing awareness of fast fashion’s negative impact on the environment and of the exploitative and unsafe conditions many workers face, growing numbers of consumers are turning their backs on it, and instead embracing slow fashion.
Slow fashion is all about awareness of where your clothes and accessories come from, how they’re made, and what they’re made from. It encourages quality over quantity, reducing consumption by creating timeless pieces that will last. Many consumers also embrace minimalism, creating a capsule wardrobe of classic, versatile pieces that will suit a range of occasions and seasons. A great way of supporting this movement is to shop with smaller brands that are transparent about their processes and have a sustainable ethos. You can shop locally, and do your best to buy items made of sustainable materials like organic cotton, vegan leather, or recycled/upcycled materials. Shop mindfully, only buying what you need, and resist the allure of fast-moving trends.
2. Think about your energy use.
There are so many ways that we can reduce how much energy we use - from something as simple as switching off the light when you leave the room, to changing your electricity supplier to one that uses renewable energy. Any step that we can make to reduce our carbon emissions is a step in the right direction and can help to reverse the negative effects of global warming. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Switch off the lights when you leave the room.
- Unplug devices overnight.
- Air-dry your clothes instead of using a tumble dryer.
- Use renewable energy - ask your supplier, or even install your own solar panels or wind turbines!
- Use LED light bulbs.
- Put on an extra layer of clothing instead of turning on the heating.
- Drive less - instead you can walk, cycle, or use public transport.
3. Reduce waste
Whether it’s in your kitchen, bathroom, or when you’re out and about, there are plenty of ways to reduce your waste. If you’re mindful about the products and resources you use, you can go a long way to reducing your impact on the environment. Think about the materials you use and try replacing disposable items with reusable alternatives.
Plastic - plastic is hugely damaging to the environment, taking hundreds of years to break down and choking up ecosystems. You can replace plastic bags with reusable alternatives made from cotton, and swap your plastic bottles for ones made from stainless steel or bamboo. There are hundreds of sustainable alternatives out there to help you go plastic-free so it couldn’t be easier to make the change!
Paper - we use copious amounts of paper everyday, but it’s super easy to cut down. Many stores now offer digital receipts instead of paper ones, and you can reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by placing a notice on your letterbox or by opting in to email newsletters instead. You can read books and documents digitally instead of on paper, and swap your paper napkins for fabric ones.
Water - we only have a limited amount of drinkable water on this earth, so we need to make the most of it. An easy way to conserve water is to switch off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth. You can water your plants by hand or using an irrigation system instead of using a sprinkler, and go even further by installing a water butt to collect rainwater instead of taking it from the mains. Collect your used water in a container to use it for anything that doesn’t require drinking-quality water - like watering plants, cleaning the patio, or anything else. Every drop saved is worth the extra effort.
4. Change your diet.
There are many ways that changing your diet can benefit the world around you. The most effective change you can make is to transition to a plant-based diet - by doing this, you can reduce your food’s emissions by up to 73%! Not only that, but a plant-based diet takes up much less land than a diet including meat, and it also requires less water to grow and produce, so you can reduce your environmental impact on many levels with just one change. You don’t even have to go fully vegan if you don’t want to - just reducing your meat consumption can make a big change. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to grow your own food! Whether you dig up your garden to make room for a vegetable patch or you grow some herbs on your windowsill, every little helps, not just to reduce emissions but also to help you connect to your food and to nature.
5. Sustain Yourself
Remember, sustainability is about people too - and that includes you! It can be difficult to make these changes to your life, so you need to look after yourself as well to make sure you can carry on making the world a better place. Keep in mind why you’re making these changes and it’ll make it easier to stick with it when the going gets tough. Why not try journaling to keep track of your journey towards sustainability and your feelings around it (don’t forget to use an eco-friendly notebook!), or how about taking some time to get out, connect to nature and appreciate the beauty of the planet you’re working to save? Talk to the people around you and create a supportive community of people who share your values - it’s a great way to feel empowered and to get more ideas and encouragement. Uplift yourself by uplifting those around you, and you’ll find the journey that little bit easier.
Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive - it’s just a starting point, but it’s the first steps that are the most important.
If you are looking for sustainable accessories, take a look at our collection of eco-friendly products including vegan leaf leather bags, purses, and notebooks, and reusable bottles and bags to help you along.
Here at Jungley, we’re committed to looking after the environment, which is why we work with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant a tree for every purchase - so you can be sure that your money is going to a good place. Let us know in the comments how you get on making these changes, and if you’ve learnt any tricks or have any advice you’d like to share. We’d love to hear from you!