In 1987, the defunct World Commission on Environmental Development published “Our Common Future”- a report that explains the world's environmental woes and how countries can work together for sustainable development. The report emphasized the notion of sustainability and why it's a must for all and sundry.
Ever after, the campaign spread like wildfire. Today, sustainable living is gradually becoming second nature due to the publicity it receives from governments, global NGOs, environmental activists, and green groups.
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Why Sustainable Living?
According to the aforementioned report, the world needs a “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable living is not only for the good of the planet. It is also healthier for the living entities within.
By reducing your carbon footprint, you reduce the amount of greenhouse gases. When you conserve water, you make water available for other purposes (drinking, firefighting, irrigation, etc.). As you commit to biodegradable waste, you contribute less to landfills.
In other words, sustainability is doing whatever you can individually or collectively to reduce the environmental impacts of human actions.
5 Ways to Start Living Sustainably
1. Reduce Food Waste
Do you know that Americans throw out over 100 billion pounds of food every year? According to the United States FDA, between 30 to 40% of food supply in the United States ends up as food waste.
Seasonal eating or meal planning can help reduce excess food waste. Composting at home is a sustainable way of disposing leftovers. It reduces the amount of food you send to landfills.
2. Buy from Sustainable Brands
Look for sustainable brands when you want to buy your products. Buy from companies with strict environmental standards in their production processes. These brands use less water and no toxic chemicals. They are committed to reusable and recyclable materials for their products.
To buy sustainably, look for products with certified third-party emblems. The “Fair Trade certified or GreenGuard Certified” labels represent sustainability.
3. Use Less Energy
Replace your bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. Moderate the use of your ACs and heating system with a smart thermostat that will auto-detect and balance your home's temperature. Unplug appliances that aren't in use.
Excessive use of energy is not only expensive, but also a waste of the earth's natural resources. Make sure you do your best to conserve energy.
4. Rethink Your Transport
Combustion engines are the leading contributors to greenhouse gases. You add to them every time you drive a vehicle, fly in an airplane, or travel on water.
For short distances such as neighborhood errands or close by workplace, walking or biking is more sustainable. It is even better for your cardiovascular health. For long-distance trips, public transportation and car-sharing are sustainable options. The goal is to put as many car engines as possible off work.
5. Ditch Plastics and Single-Use Packages
There's no way you will talk about sustainability without talking about plastics. Plastic pollution leads in the midst of global wastes. They are hazardous to marine life and can take more than a thousand years to decompose.
Avoiding plastic bottles can help offset plastic pollution. Instead of buying a bag that will end up in trash cans after a single use, you can invest in a strong, reusable bag.
From the way you get around, the brand you buy from, what you eat, to the waste you produce, there's every opportunity to practice sustainability. Start from yourself and spread the campaign. Let's revive this rapidly degenerating planet.