6 Ways to Live More Sustainably: Tips for living more sustainably while still participating in modern life.
Written by the team at Føniks Computer, a Computer store in Frederiksberg, Denmark, that believes in refurbishment as a means to improve technological sustainability.
Being aware of sustainability can be a gift and very stressful at the same time. We are constantly reminded that climate change is happening, and that we need to do something about it. Feeling this sense of responsibility can be absolutely terrifying, but there are ways to turn it into something calming and productive.
Here you’ll find a list of ways to live more sustainably as a way to calm your climate anxiety and actually help the environment.
We’ll get into electronics, food, transportation and more, and all will include explanations and useful advice.
Our 6 Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably
Being Online is a Necessity, but Produces E-Waste
For most people, young and old, being online is part of your life. It’s necessary for work, school, social connections, shopping and so much more. But to get online and be connected we need electronics. Most people own at least a smartphone and a laptop. Many people also have other gadgets and electronics that they use every day. Electronic waste is a huge problem, and since most people like having the latest model of phone, laptop, etc., perfectly functioning electronics go to landfill sites every day.
The good news is, that there are many ways to reduce this electronic waste, and most of them save you money too, so it’s a win-win.
If you simply must have the newest model, you can at least make sure that your old phone and laptop get a new life. You can do this by selling them to people online or selling them to stores that fix them and sell them on.
If you don’t mind a model that’s a few years old, you can also get your electronics this way. Buy them used from websites that sell refurbished electronics to make sure that you’re getting a used phone, laptop or other electronic that has been checked and repaired and where the store offers you a guarantee, even though the item is sold used.
Another plus for this solution is the money saved. Buying your electronics used can save you a lot of money, and you get a product that works perfectly fine – it’s just not brand new.
Buying used means one less new product sold as well as a delay in your product reaching its final home in a landfill.
Eating Sustainably Takes Practice
Food is an absolute necessity for all of us, but different food has different impacts on the environment. You’ve probably heard that meat isn’t sustainable and that’s partly true, but going vegan isn’t the best option either.
Many vegan products, like avocado, take a lot of water to grow, and some are also grown and harvested by people under extremely horrible conditions. None of that is sustainable.
Another thing to think about is how far your food has travelled. You might think that organic tomatoes from another country sound great, but they’re often much more damaging to the climate than locally grown produce.
So, what can you do? Some labels now show how much CO2 it took to produce the product. But most don’t, so you either have to do your own research, if you have the time and need, or you have to remember a few rules of thumb. Less meat is good, and less red meat is particularly good. Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season. When buying food you should look for locally grown produce that hasn’t had a long, CO2-heavy transport.
Use Your Garden for Good
If you’re one of the lucky people who has a garden, there are several ways to make it more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
The first is to avoid pesticides and any other poisons that harm animals, plants and potentially humans. Then, think about how to help the local as well as the global insects and animals.
One species that desperately needs help is bees and you can help them quite easily, when you have a garden. There are certain plants and flowers that bees love and need, so planting them in your garden is an easy start. You can look up the flowers, but you can usually buy a mix of the right seeds in garden centres. They’ll be labelled as bee friendly, and you can plant them at the edge of your garden, in a pot or anywhere else you want them. They create a colourful mix of flowers that are delicious for the bees and beautiful for you to look at.
Another option for using your garden sustainably is to establish a vegetable garden. Here you can grow a great variety of vegetables, berries and fruit. This saves you money, but your food also doesn’t require any CO2 for transport.
Growing and harvesting food takes some time, but it can also be fun and rewarding. If you have kids, they might love being a part of it. Ask them what they’d like to plant and eat and let them be involved in the whole process. It’s a great family activity for most ages. Imagine craving mashed potatoes for dinner, and then you can just go out into your garden and harvest potatoes and maybe a head of garlic for the dish. Absolutely delicious!
Save Water in Different Ways
Saving water doesn’t just mean taking shorter showers, but it’s a good place to start. Instead of washing your body and then your hair, try to be more efficient. Stop standing in the hot water while your conditioner does its thing – use this time to wash your body. Turn down the heat a bit – especially at the end of your shower. It’s good for your skin and hair to end with a cold or colder shower and it saves some warm water.
Do you hate cold water and do you let the shower run until it’s warm? Collect the cold water in a bucket and use it for things such as watering your plants. It might not seem like a lot, but you save on your water bill over time, and saving water is also good for the planet. It’s also a great habit to get into for everyday life if you live in a place that sometimes has droughts. Then saving in a drought won’t be as hard.
Dress More Conscientiously
A lot of people love fashion and dressing up, but fast fashion is unfortunately the opposite of sustainable.
Garment workers are paid very little, it takes a lot of water, and to keep up with demands and trends way too much clothes is produced and most of it ends up in a landfill. When we buy new clothes several times a year to keep up with trends we also throw out a lot of clothes that are still fine to wear. The best thing to do is to buy less and to stop buying fast fashion after trends.
But if you must buy more clothes then consider second-hand options. Option one is to buy your clothes second-hand. It’s cheaper and you get more unique options. If you don’t want to buy clothes second-hand you can at least donate your clothes to a second-hand shop instead of throwing it out when you clean out your closet.
Transport and Travel are Big CO2 Problems
You probably know this, but transport is one of the places where you use the most CO2 is when you use almost any kind of vehicle. A bike is one of the few CO2 neutral ways to get around, but even just taking the car to work is a lot of CO2 over time. Flying is also bad, but there are ways to compensate and other options.
Use public transport when necessary. The buses and trains are already running, and they fit a lot more people than a car. If you need to use a car, consider carpooling with colleagues.
If you’re going far away on holiday a plane might sound like a nice, quick option and it often is. It’s just very bad CO2-wise, and there are often other options. A bus or train might take longer, but if you factor in the time you spend in the airport as well as the plane, it’s often not that much time you save by flying. Many trains are often cheaper than flying too, and you can bring heavier luggage.
If you have to fly, then take a look at the different airlines. Some use better fuel than others when it comes to the environment and if you can, you should chose these. Consider doing one longer holiday with a return flight instead of two separate holidays with twice as many flights.
You can’t save the environment and climate alone, but start small and tell other people about your new habits. It might inspire them and the more people who change their habits, the better. We all have to start somewhere and then move our way up to living more and more sustainably. There are a lot of other ways to do this, and you can research and incorporate those too.