The older I get, the more concerned I am becoming for the health and well being of our planet. Maybe you are too. I have to be careful how much I see and listen to because it can cause me intense sadness. But Ignoring the incessant pace of consumerism and our “throw away” culture is not really a luxury we can afford much longer. In hopes of inspiring you do adopt a few changes for yourself, today I want to share the 15 ways I’m trying to live more sustainably.
I won’t try to guilt trip anyone with the scary statistics of how much plastic is in our oceans, but let’s just say it’s a frightening thought. The number of animal species that have become extinct over the past 100 years is insane. Yet we just keep polluting and mindlessly consuming like the party will never end. Like children who don’t know the consequences of their actions until someone gets hurt. That someone is going to be ALL OF US.
Whether you believe in climate change or you just choose not to think about it, I believe we ALL have a responsibility to clean up our daily habits and do our fair share to live more sustainably. I believe wholeheartedly that small changes implemented on a wide scale and done consistently can bring about change. We have to wake up and realize that we can’t sit around and pretend it’s someone else’s responsibility any longer.
My Motives for Living More Sustainably
I personally have several reasons for trying to live more sustainably. One thing you should know about me is that I’m a pretty practical girl. So when I see that changing a habit can produce positive results in my life, than I’m ALL over it! These are my top 3 motives to live more sustainably:
- A deep need to protect the earth – It is a deep calling and knowing that we MUST protect Mother Earth. Why? Because our very lives depend upon it. The air we breath, the food we eat, the water we must drink. When we act like we don’t care about “environmental issues” what we’re really saying is we don’t care about our own home. This is a deep rooted connection to nature that I’ve had since childhood. I can feel the magic and energy coming from the plants, animals and landscapes around me. I consider my self to be an empath and literally feel the energy of other living things very acutely. So wanting to alleviate any suffering going on in the world is also a self-serving endeavor for me as well.
- I like being frugal and saving money – Let’s just be honest here, a big motivator for me in reducing my consumption and making my stuff last longer is that it saves me a lot of money. When I cut out a lot of the unnecessary crap I was unconsciously buying, my bank account reaped the benefits. Plus, when you cut how much it costs you to live, then the stress levels in your life naturally go way down. Being frugal isn’t about being cheap. It’s about saving money where you can, so you can spend your money on what matters to you the most. It’s all about getting clear about your priorities.
- Living more sustainably is healthier – When you start to eliminate the toxins you use in your home and in your garden, your health will naturally benefit, right? Making your own natural cleaning products or using non-toxic bug sprays will have a direct impact not only on you, but on everything around you. When I eat organic produce or walk to the grocery store instead of driving my car, it benefits me AND the environment. It really is a Win-Win here. And living this way just feels like the RIGHT thing to do. For myself and all others.
If human life becomes extinct because we were too busy shopping for crap we don’t need or dumping our plastic in the ocean, than Que Sera, Sera. This earth will keep on spinning and do a major reboot once we’re gone. Sound a little harsh? Well, maybe, but sometimes the truth hurts and it can also set us free.
15 Ways I’m Trying to Live More Sustainably
These are just some of the changes I’ve been making over the past couple of years. One thing to remember is that you don’t have to do everything at once. In fact, I highly recommend you DON’T try to do all these changes at once. It’s like dieting, deprive yourself too much, too soon and it will totally backfire on you!
Some of these things are super simple, while others require more commitment. Just don’t get discouraged. Keep trying! We can create a better future if we’re all in this together.
- Use a Refillable Water bottle – This is not a new idea here, but how many of us are STILL buying water in plastic? Come on guys, this is a no-brainer! Plastic water bottles can take up to 450 years to break down!! Go get you a glass or stainless steel bottle! Plus you’ll save yourself tons of cash over the long run too. We have this Brita faucet filter on our kitchen faucet and fill up our water bottles daily. Easy peasy!
- Use Bamboo Toothbrushes instead of plastic – This is something I just started doing this year. I switched over from plastic toothbrushes to these compostable bamboo toothbrushes and have been pleasantly surprised. It may not seem like much, but every little bit helps. I’ll definitely keep buying these!
- Take Reusable Shopping Bags EVERYWHERE! – I know many of you guys take your own bags to the grocery store, but what about to the mall or to the hardware store? Don’t be shy about doing this. Or if you can carry your items in your hands, skip the bag altogether. Also, take it another step further and start using your own reusable produce bags while you’re at it. I just bought this set of 15 mesh produce bags last week and LOVE them! You can even rinse the veggies right in the bag. Highly recommend these.
- Start using Ecosia as Your Search Engine and they will Plant trees! – Guys, considering that scientists are now saying that planting trees is THE most impactful thing we can be doing for the environment, then this one is a slam dunk. I recently heard about Ecosia, which is just like any other search engine BUT they plant trees with the profits. I downloaded the app on my phone and also replaced Bing as my default search engine on my laptop. They say it takes about 45 searches to plant 1 tree and the app keeps track of how many searches you’re doing. Plant trees from the comfort of your own home! That is not an affiliate link, I just think it’s a great idea that needs sharing! Living sustainably doesn’t always require sacrifice.
- I walk to the grocery store as much as possible – I know many of you won’t be able to do this, but for anyone within walking distance to a store this has multiple benefits. First, I decided that it was ridiculous to walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes and waste that electricity and then drive my car less than a mile to get groceries. It just wasn’t adding up to me. So I improve my health by walking, save gas and limit pollution with this one move. Now, I have made it easier by getting this small grocery cart which is a GAME CHANGER! I can get so much stuff in this. Get a cart!
- Switch your dish and laundry soap to plant-based brands – They may cost you a dollar or two more but it’s so worth it. I consider that my little donation to the environment. We’ve been using this lavender scented laundry detergent by Ecos and this natural dish liquid from Seventh Generation and have been very pleased with both.
- I’ve cut my bath water by about 80% – I have been an avid bath taker for years now and until recently wouldn’t really think twice about filling the tub full of hot water. But not anymore! I’ve vowed to reduce my usage, especially in the summer months. I am literally running the water for about a minute and it gives me plenty of water to lather up and rinse. Surely this will lower my water bill…we’ll see! P.S. I wash my hair separately about once a week.
- Stopped buying clothes, shoes, hand bags, jewelry, etc. that I didn’t need – Aside from a new pair of Nikes and maybe some socks, I haven’t purchased new clothes or anything fashion oriented in over a year. Maybe closer to two. It didn’t really start as a shopping ban, it just sort of happened. Don’t we all have PLENTY of clothing? I have outfits for any occasion that may come up and I just can’t justify buying more when I have items that have literally been worn once or twice. I am just opting out of this unconscious consuming. My hope is that you will too.
- Cut scratch paper into “sticky notes” – You may use your technology for everything but we are still very old school with writing little notes and reminders. If I have junk mail that can be cut up, I will use it for notes and don’t have to waste money on buying paper.
- We stopped buying straws – If you must have a straw, try a stainless steel or glass version and use it again and again.
- Started using reusable coffee filters – It seemed like we were using a ton of coffee filter so I purchased this inexpensive reusable coffee filter for our old school coffee maker. It works like a champ and I don’t have to buy filters anymore! And PLEASE stop with the coffee pods!! They’re going straight to the landfill.
- I learned to ride a scooter – I did an entire post here about learning to ride a Honda scooter here. A lot of my motivation for learning to ride was to have another environmentally friendly way to get around. We live in Dallas and pretty much EVERYTHING is centered around cars. I wanted another option when walking or biking wasn’t feasible. Did you know a scooter gets over 100 mpg!!! True story.
- We started using a clothesline – I have been trying to do this for years but it never really stuck. The clothes and towels always came out so crispy and just didn’t smell that great. But I’ve finally solved our problem! I hang the laundry out until almost dry and then bring them in. Then I put clothes into the dryer with a natural dryer sheet. I only run the dryer for about 8-10 minutes. Guess what? It really works. I’m cutting down the drying time by at least an hour per day! See? Living sustainably doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Don’t give up, keep trying until you find a system that works for you.
- Replaced plastic cling wrap with beeswax wraps – Have you tried beeswax wraps yet? They are an amazing replacement for that nasty cling wrap or even plastic sandwich baggies. You can easily make your own with some fabric and melted beeswax like I did, or this is a cute set of 3 wraps made from organic cotton. So cute and will eliminate a toxic product to boot…score!
- We just simply consume less – It ALL starts with a change in attitude. I just simply started wanting less. I want things in my life that are useful and will last many years. Really get conscious of what you’re bringing into your life. Do you really need it? Will you still be using it a year from now? How will you dispose of it?
These are just some of the changes that I’ve been working on. Hopefully you can pick a few things from the list and get started yourself. I am still a work in progress and am no where near the ZERO WASTE ideal that is out there.
Some days I do better than others at living sustainably and definitely don’t claim to be perfect. But I keep trying and am in it for the long haul. I believe it’s going to take everything we’ve got to change our current hyper-consuming culture, but we must start somewhere. We must “Be the Change”, right?
If you think more people need to hear this message, please SHARE this post with your friends. Also, I would love to hear what things you’re doing to live more sustainably. Let me know with a comment! Thanks for reading!