Finding Your Entry Point to More Sustainable Living

Jori Hamilton - Contributing Writer

Posted on Monday 13th December 2021
Sign in store window that reads thank you for shopping local


These days, more people than ever are turning their attention to the environment and thinking of ways that they can make an impact and create a better and healthier world for themselves and future generations to come. It is a nice thought, but for some people, it can be overwhelming as they wonder how a single person can change the entire world. 


If you feel that way, then you must understand that even if you are just an individual, your sustainable choices can make an impact. If you are overwhelmed, then you just need to find a starting point, and luckily, there are many ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Let’s talk about different approaches you can take based on your life and daily routines.


You Can Make Sustainable Choices

As mentioned, the world is paying more attention to the environment than ever before. People are deciding to eat better, create less waste, and many are even choosing jobs based on a company's environmentally-friendly practices and how they give back to their customers and the world in general. 


There are many reasons for this shift in our thinking when it comes to the environment. Part of it is a growing awareness of global warming and the belief that humans are the reason for the deterioration of the planet. Others see news stories of overflowing landfills and garbage drifting out to sea and they want to do their part to reduce that problem by practicing ethical consumerism, where they only buy the necessities so they can limit unnecessary waste.


Many people feel strongly about all of those factors and more, but some also believe that they don’t have the time or ability to do everything possible to do their part. However, the reality is that we can make changes in just about every area of our lives that will have a positive influence on the environment, so finding your entry point is easier than you may believe. For instance, if you feel strongly about sustainable corporations but you don’t believe your company is doing enough, you can make your own changes while at work that can make a huge difference.


For example, you could make it a point to send emails instead of printing paper to reduce waste, or you could opt for a reusable coffee cup instead of using disposable plastic or styrofoam options. You could also make a bigger impact by voicing your concerns about sustainability to your employer and offering to lead sustainable projects like starting a recycling program in the lunchroom or encouraging the development of a carpooling program so employees can get to work without burning unnecessary fossil fuels. The point is that even if you are busy at work all day, you can start a more sustainable life.


Starting at Home

If you don’t work a typical office job or you do your job remotely, then you can create your entry point to sustainability at home. If you think about it, you are already making a big difference and reducing waste by not commuting to work every day, and you are likely already using that reusable coffee mug. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at your daily routines and modify them accordingly for a more sustainable lifestyle.


Start with your morning routine. Do you typically take long, hot showers to get ready for the day? If so, you can choose to take shorter showers to avoid water waste. While you are at it, you can also install low-flow faucets and turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth. If you have an exercise routine in the morning where you use a treadmill or other device that uses electricity, you could instead opt to run at the park. Running down a forest path won’t waste any resources and it is good for your mental health.


If you work remotely at home, you can make more sustainable choices throughout your day. Start by looking at your heating and air conditioner usage, which makes up 40% of the carbon emissions that your home creates. You can reduce wasted energy in this regard by making sure that your windows are properly sealed so air doesn’t escape. You should also keep your thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Experts recommend keeping it at 78-degrees in the summer and 68-degrees in the winter, which will keep you comfortable, lower your utility bills, and avoid the burning of fossil fuels required to power your home.


Be Green When Out and About

If you are an individual who is always on the run completing chores or tasks for your family, then that daily routine may provide an entry point for more sustainable living. 


For instance, if your community is something that you value, then you should make it a point to shop within your town and at local businesses. Unlike the large chain stores that require big trucks to transport their goods from across the country, local businesses often grow and manufacture their foods within the community, so you would be eliminating the need for unnecessary pollution while also helping your town thrive.


You can also think about reducing waste as you go about your day. Bring a reusable fabric bag when you go shopping, use fewer napkins when you stop for lunch and plan your family's meals so you can buy less. When it comes to purchasing clothes and non-perishable items, consider going to thrift stores where you can find awesome outfits in great condition for a fraction of the price. Buying new is nice from time to time, but by reusing products, we reduce the need for factories to work overtime to make new things, and that is a great way to help the environment.


As you can see, while it may seem overwhelming at first, you can do your part to help the environment. If we each work to live more sustainable lives, our collective efforts will make the world a better place.

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