Follow These Sustainability Examples To Do Your Part Today
Through working both together and holding ourselves accountable as individuals, we have what it takes to enact sustainable practices that combat the effects of global warming. Before we get into exactly what some of those sustainable practices are, we must establish a concrete definition of what exactly we are striving for.
What Is Sustainability?
The health of our environment, directly and indirectly, impacts our health as people.
As a result, it is on all of us to do our part to look after the earth by looking after ourselves. Living sustainably is living in a way that humanity and our environment can exist peacefully as one. In a sustainable world, humanity’s needs are met, and the planet is never harmed in the process.
Sustainability is all about weighing the needs of the present while simultaneously looking ahead at the lives of future generations.
Why Is Sustainability So Important?
Sustainability is far more than just a buzzword or an emerging trend.
In actuality, it is a word that represents a way of life that we should all adapt to and embrace. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly prominent by the day. This trajectory will inevitably continue unless we make a real change before it is too late.
This might sound a bit dramatic, but it is the truth. The future of our planet is a very important matter, after all. It is undoubtedly crucial that companies have sustainable business practices and that the legislature is devoted to investing in renewable energy and environmental protection.
At the moment, both are sorely lacking, and this is resulting in continuous harm to our environment. That being said, we all have a part to play in lowering our carbon footprint both as individuals and as a society at large.
What Are The 4 Types of Sustainability?
To better understand sustainability, it can be helpful to break it down into different types.
Sustainability does not have to come at the cost of economic development. In fact, they more often go hand-in-hand than diametrically oppose one another. To be economically sustainable, a society cannot lose money through necessary production.
Perhaps the most applicable to our typical definition of sustainability, this type revolves around preserving our natural resources. Water is one of the best examples of a resource we use regularly and need to conserve to ensure that future generations, and other ecosystems, have what they need.
Social sustainability pertains to the well-being of societies and cultures. Social sustainable entails making sure that our societal practices and processes are working for all those involved. This type of sustainability places emphasis on the wellbeing and quality of life of humans.
Human sustainability is based on improving our experience as people. Helping those experiencing poverty, making healthcare readily available, and investing in education are all parts of this type.
How Can Humans Be More Sustainable?
Now that we have thoroughly gone over what sustainability really is and why it is so incredibly impactful to humanity and the planet, we can finally get into actual ways we can help.
Keep in mind that it is perfectly okay if you cannot put each of these suggestions to use in your life right away. Being aware is a huge step forward, and from there, you can work to implement one or two recommendations at a time.
Each move you make toward a sustainable future is important and immensely helpful. Your positive impact will build up progressively, and you can always put more suggestions to use as time goes on.
Reduce Your Water Usage
Clean water is a basic human right. It is something that none of us can live without. While we can survive without food for several weeks, humans can only last two to four days without water. This is just to give you an idea of how invaluable this natural resource really is, and therefore how much it must be respected.
While we use water for drinking and hydrating ourselves, that is not even beginning to cover the other ways we use it daily. From showers to toilets, washing our hands, washing our clothes, and watering our crops, water is all around us. At this point, it is just a matter of adjusting our water usage so it continues to always be around us.
It can be a very helpful exercise to go about a regular day with your regular routines, simply bringing awareness to the water you are using. By doing this, you are almost guaranteed to discover a few points during the day where you could cut down.
Even cutting a minute or two off of your shower every day makes an immense difference. The average American shower uses 2.1 gallons of water per minute and lasts for 8.2 minutes, totaling a staggering 17.2 total gallons of water used per shower.
We are in no way advocating for no longer bathing, but limiting your shower time to about five minutes (while still cleaning everything you need to clean) is incredibly helpful in terms of water preservation.
While taking shorter showers is a wonderful and easy way to do your part toward water sustainability, showers are only the third largest use of water in American homes. Surprisingly, toilets and washing machines top off the list. Thankfully, there are more fairly simple ways to help ease the regular burden on this natural resource.
When washing your clothes, be sure to only do full loads. There is no need to only wash a few clothing items, which makes for a huge waste of water. At the same time, consider washing your items in a cold setting rather than hot. Generally, this will get your clothes perfectly clean, and a significant amount of energy will be saved by not engaging the water heater.
And now, it is time for everyone’s favorite topic: the toilet. Of course, we are still strongly advocating for flushing down and getting rid of your waste, but there are toilets available that will use different amounts of water depending on how you flush. It might seem like a small change, but the reality is that saving small amounts of water at a time eventually will add up to tremendous amounts.
On a similar note, you can also invest in more sustainable appliances, as well as more sustainable add-ons to your current ones. For instance, environmentally friendly showerheads preserve much more water while still getting you squeaky clean. You can also look into washing machines that prioritize sustainability.
Focus on Renewable Energy
Water is not only crucial to us because it hydrates and cleanses us, it also provides another necessary service. Hydropower is only one of many techniques that we can use to provide society with renewable energy and resources. Along with hydropower, there is also solar and wind energy through the use of wind turbines.
It is true that it might be difficult to install your own wind turbine to power your home, but installing solar panels is a simpler feat than many of us imagine. Even if solar power only energizes part of our home or daily activities, every little bit helps. Not only is harnessing solar power so much better for the environment, but it can also help to lower your existing energy bill.
Choose Reusable Alternatives to Common Products
In America, there is a culture that normalizes the constant utilization of either single-use products or products meant to be thrown out after only a few uses. This is immensely harmful to the environment. many fossil fuels were burned, resources were wasted, and greenhouse gas emissions were done to create that product in the first place. Immediately trashing the object makes all of that damage even more unnecessary.
Next, our readiness to trash an object when it is still perfectly good is a habit that continues to hurt us in multiple ways. First, it hurts the environment by contributing to the ludicrous amount of waste already either in a landfill or in the ocean. Second, we end up wasting a lot of money on new items when what we had was perfectly good.
If what we bought in the first place truly was intended to be single-use, and there is no way to reuse it, that presents an inherent problem. Rather than utilizing a single-use object instead, consider going for a reusable alternative. This will save the environment significant hardship while also saving you money, making it the best option for everyone in the short term and the long term.
Invest in reusable bags when you go to the supermarket rather than plastic bags that can easily harm marine life. Start using glass jars to keep your smaller objects, as they are both aesthetically pleasing and versatile reusable tools. Think about all of the ways that you currently use plastic every day, and consider how it could be swapped out for something more sustainable.
Of course, at some point, even reusable items will need to be disposed of. We must make sure that we are doing so that it does not hurt the environment. This brings us to our next point.
Make Sure to Recycle
You should always recycle your items whenever possible. There are countless online guides for what can and cannot be recycled, but some common materials include cardboard and other paper products. Beyond just recycling, there are other environmentally responsible ways that you can dispose of many of your items.
Composting is one of the absolute best ways to eliminate certain products you are no longer using. Rather than throwing out your food scraps instead, put them into a home compost. You can then utilize the fruits of your labor by putting the resulting compost soil into your garden, as it acts as a rich fertilizer.
If you do not have space for a garden or backyard compost, look into community compost piles near you, as they can also benefit greatly from your donation.
Start Growing Your Own Produce
Whether you begin composting or not, growing your own produce and having a green space is an emotionally and physically rewarding endeavor. Nourishing something and watching it grow is wonderful for mental health. Being able to eat what you nourished? Even better.
Please be advised that the last point only applies to plants. You'll want to avoid using toxic chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) as they can lead to soil erosion.
Donate Your Old or Unused Items
Just because you are done with an item does not mean that someone else couldn’t get a lot of use out of it. Donating your old or unused items is as easy as going to a local Goodwill, thrift store, or other location. This can apply to clothes, books, electronics, furniture, and many other products.
Opt for Paperless Alternatives
It is true that paper can generally be recycled, which is better than just throwing a product in the trash. Unfortunately, that does not mean this is a resource that should be used mindlessly. Nowadays, there are countless ways to go paperless that are just as convenient, if not more so.
This can be as simple as writing a grocery list on your phone rather than on a physical piece of paper, sending emails instead of letters, or reading a book on a virtual e-reader rather than a paper copy.
Reduce Your Meat Consumption
All farmers would tell you, caring for livestock takes considerably more materials than growing plants. Due to this, an integral part of environmental sustainability is eating less meat. This does not mean you have to go completely vegan or vegetarian if you aren’t ready. Instead, trying a tradition like meatless Mondays can be a fantastic step forward in sustainable agriculture.
What Items Are Sustainable?
There are so many amazing sustainable items available to us; all we have to do is look for them. For example, here at Bite, we offer a variety of awesome sustainable personal care items. From Toothpaste Bits to compostable toothbrushes and much more, Bite has something for everyone.
How Can I Start a Sustainable Lifestyle?
As this article has shown, starting a sustainable lifestyle does not have to be an overwhelming prospect. Living sustainably can be as simple as changing some habits and investing in different products. The biggest step is to gain a mindset that is geared toward sustainability.
How Can We Achieve a Sustainable Society?
The only way we can achieve a sustainable society is together. Sustainability will not happen overnight, and it will not happen if we aren’t all committed to bettering ourselves and our planet.
It can be all too easy to think only of our own needs right now rather than also considering our long-term health as a priority. The truth is that it is entirely possible for us to live in a fulfilling way that is similar to the way we do now but is still working to better our common future.
Learn About Sustainability | US EPA
Home Shower Water Saving | Sugargrove.gov
Plastic Pollution Affects Sea Life Throughout the Ocean | Pew Trusts