ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle (2)

Ways To Live A More Sustainable Lifestyle

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    The world is a beautiful place full of amazing things. But, unfortunately, it's also full of pollution and waste that can ruin the beauty of our planet. So, if you're looking for ways to live more sustainably, check out this blog post! Our experts have some great tips on how to use less electricity, water, and energy. The world we live in is made up of numerous elements, and one of the most important for humans to survive is water. 

    Unfortunately, many people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water because it's not available or accessible. However, there are many ways that you can help reduce your environmental impact and become more sustainable by living a life with less waste and more conscious consumption.

    As the global population continues to grow, so does the demand for energy and natural resources. With this increase in demand, we are seeing a growing concern over how our current lifestyles affect our environment and other cultures around the world. Many of us have already started making changes to live more sustainable lives, and much more can be done! Here are some ways you can help make your lifestyle more eco-friendly.

    There are many different ways to make your lifestyle more sustainable, even if it seems like what you're doing is already pretty eco-friendly. This post will give you some ideas of simple changes that can impact the environment while also improving your health and saving money! 

    good life1

    These suggestions may seem small initially, but they will add up over time and become big steps in the right direction. So take a look through this list for inspiration, then share any other ways that you live sustainably! 

    There are many different ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It's not always easy, but it is possible and well worth the effort. From making small changes at home to living car-free, there are plenty of things you can do that will make a big difference in your carbon footprint and help you save money.

    Everyone wants to live a sustainable lifestyle, but not everyone knows what that means. This blog post will break down some of the basics of living sustainably and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine. The term 'sustainable' basically means using resources not to deplete those resources or harm the environment. There are many ways to do this, from recycling items to cutting back on meat consumption. 

    The world is changing, and living a sustainable lifestyle is becoming more important than ever. Everyone can do their part, even if it's just you trying to live by one of these tips. Below are some ways to make your life more sustainable. 

    Every day, individuals around the world make small sustainable lifestyle choices. Whether it's something as simple as recycling or taking shorter showers to save water, everyone can do their part for a greener planet. While living sustainably is important and should be an integral part of our daily lives, we also want to encourage you to live your best life! Here are some other ways that you can take care of yourself and the environment simultaneously. It's easy for people who choose a more sustainable lifestyle to feel like they have already made so many sacrifices to live this way. But what about those who don't? Let's get started!

    FAQs About Sustainable Living

    Sustainable living involves reducing the amount of Earth's resources that you use to help protect it. There are a several ways you can do this, including limiting the amount of energy you use, using eco-friendly products and changing your diet – but we'll talk more about that later! In a nutshell, to live a sustainable lifestyle you should try to have as little of an impact on the Earth as possible, while also trying to replace the resources you do use.

    At the moment, we are producing resources, using energy and creating waste at a rate that isn't sustainable. This leads to environmental issues, such as pollution and climate change, which cause harm to the environment, wildlife and humans. By making some small changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help to tackle these issues.

    One of the first things people tend to focus on when they first decide to live more sustainably is single-use plastic. Plastic bottles, bags, coffee cups, cutlery and fresh produce wrappers are all non-recyclable. This means that they will most likely end up in a landfill, where it will produce methane that contributes to CO2 emissions. While it may seem like a harmless act, buying plastic shopping bags for your groceries indirectly causes a lot of damage to the environment, so single-use plastic is often the first to go.

    The same goes for beverages; water bottles, soda bottles and, even coffee cups are primarily made of plastic that we can’t recycle. So investing in a tote bag instead of shopping bags and a thermos or water flask can hugely reduce your personal carbon footprint. And if you love the taste of filtered water or live in an area where the water isn’t the cleanest, invest in your own water filter jug and drink to your heart’s content!

    After single-use plastic, it’s good to look at how we use water in our daily lives. We may be inclined to take longer showers than necessary, boil a full kettle when we only need enough for a cup, and so on. The idea of using less water may seem daunting, but there are plenty of ways to get started:

    • Try reusing water when you cook rice, pasta, potatoes - anything starchy. If you’re a plant lover, let your starchy water cool and feed it to your plants. Just make sure the water is free of salt and stock!
    • If you have a dishwasher, fill it up and use it! It’s far more efficient than washing your dishes by hand.
    • Use a washing-up bowl and turn off the tap. This can save up to nine liters of water every minute!

    Here are some easy ways you can live sustainably without having to make big changes in your life:

    • Bring a keep cup when you go to a cafe to avoid relying on single-use plastic cups.
    • Go paperless. While many banks, governments and institutions now only send out correspondence via email, there are still some companies that send out bills by paper. You can often request a paperless option and save paper waste easily.
    • Cut down on red meat. The climate impact of meat is the equivalent of all vehicles on the globe1. Forests are destroyed during industrial meat production, and billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Red meat is also a huge proponent of methane emissions, and the overfarming of cattle is one of the biggest causes of environmental damage out there.
    • If you wear make-up, buy a pack of reusable face wipes instead of using single-use cotton wipes. They’re cheaper and involve much less waste!
    • Try forgoing public transport and walking or cycling where possible. This helps reduce car emissions and provides an opportunity to get some exercise.
    • Cook and bake your own food as much as possible. This will mean you’ll know what ingredients go into each meal, and it’ll also reduce the packaging you use as you won’t be buying pre-packaged ready meals or snacks.

    Sustainable living is certainly possible. As we’ve learned, sustainability doesn’t have to involve never enjoying the small, daily pleasures ever again. Rather, it involves thinking a little more about the food, drink and energy we consume, how we travel and whether we’re able to replace the resources we deplete.

    Right now, many of us use energy and create waste at an unsustainable rate. This results in pollution and climate change, harming ourselves, the environment and its wildlife. By implementing a few small changes to our lifestyles, we can reduce our personal carbon footprints and tackle these issues. What are the benefits of sustainable living? Of course, the most obvious benefit of living sustainably is that you’re less responsible for causing daily damage to the environment. Your carbon footprint is reduced, and you know you’re doing your bit to preserve the planet for the sake of future generations, animals and their natural habitats.

    Aside from the environmental positives, sustainable living also provides a handy opportunity to live healthier. By avoiding public transporting and walking or cycling where possible, you’re likely increasing your daily amount of exercise. By carefully considering the ingredients in our food, we’re more likely to make healthier choices.

    Your Food

    Switching to an animal-free, vegan diet is a powerful way to help protect our environment, help ensure everyone has enough to eat and improve their health. The United Nations report Livestock's Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options concludes that the livestock sector (primarily cows, chickens, and pigs) emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to our most serious environmental problems at every scale from local to global. 

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    It is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases - responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. It produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide (296 times the climate change potential of CO2) and 37% of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2). CO2 emissions by cows. It also generates 64% of the ammonia, which contributes to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.

    In addition, the enormous amounts of grain required to feed livestock reduce the amount of food available for the world's hungry. Buying organic, locally grown food also reduces climate change emissions and helps protect the environment. "The world is producing the wrong kind of food, by a process that leaves millions of people landless, homeless, cashless, and unable to feed themselves." Anita Roddick

    Organic: The What is Organic? page explains what organic produce is and how it is certified.

    Local: Buy food (and drink - ideally tap - water) from local companies whenever possible. Each pound of local food you purchase prevents a quarter pound of climate change (C02) emissions. Support your area's Farmer's Market. If possible, grow your own fruits and vegetables using organic gardening practices. In the U.S.:

    Veganic GrowingSupport and use veganic growing practices, which are not only organic but also uses alternatives to animal byproducts (such as bonemeal, bloodmeal, manure) to fertilize the soil.

    Vegan Diet: Informational sites:

    Animal-Free Diet Resources: Support for switching to a meat-free diet:

    Vegan Restaurants: Restaurant locators:

    Reducing Food Waste: If food waste were a country, it would be the world's 3rd largest emitter of CO2- roughly 1/3 of food produced every year gets lost or wasted. So here are great ideas for reducing it.

    Responsible Food Shopping: Whenever possible, shop at farmers markets, food co-ops, local health food stores, and socially and environmentally responsible chain stores (research tools: Food Scores).

    Healthy School Lunches: Support efforts to increase healthy food choices in school lunches (U.S.)

    Food's Carbon FootprintEating a low-carbon diet is critical for reducing climate change. World Watch found that more than half of all climate emissions come from eating meat.

    Non-GMO: Many organizations are working to protect our food supply from genetically engineered produce. Please get involved in any way you can. Whenever possible, buy products containing non-GMO soy, cotton, and corn. 

    Ask your local supermarket to carry non-GMO products and ask your friends to make this request - have faith that your requests will get back to the growers and store headquarters. Of course, this trend will only turn around when customers demand non-GMO products. But, again, your pocketbook is your most effective voice.

    Unprocessed Food: Eat unprocessed/unpackaged food whenever possible.

    Shade-Grown or Bird Friendly Coffee: Switching to shade-grown and bird-friendly coffee helps protect dwindling bird habitats.

    Conserve Energy

    Please do not wait to start conserving as much energy as possible to reduce your climate change emissions! And please ask your elected representatives to push for strong legislation to move toward overall reduced energy usage and increased alternative energy production.

    Set Goals: To reduce your energy consumption:

    • for your car(s): chart the number of miles you drive each month
    • for your home/office: chart the gas "therms" and electric kilowatts per hour (kWh) used in the last 12 months (for comparison to each month this year)
    • buy energy-saving products where needed
    • read Alternative Transportation and Fuel Efficiency Tips
    • get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits (e.g., tape signs to light switches reminding family members to turn out lights when they leave a room, tape a sign to your car dashboard reminding the driver to check tire pressure during the first week of each month, assign someone to turn out all lights and cut power to unused appliances (to reduce standby power usage) each night)
    • look for additional ideas below
    • Use the money saved to do something fun with your family (if you have children, increase their allowances by the amount saved to encourage them to get involved in finding new ways to conserve)

    Buy Green Energy: If possible, choose a utility company focused on renewable energy. For example, suppose you live in a deregulated state in the U.S. and Canada. In that case, Green-e provides information about certified "clean electricity" providers for your state - or choose a nationwide renewable energy provider.

    Resources: The following pages provide tips on how to save energy:

    Know Your Appliances: Great list of typical energy use per appliance to help prioritize your approach to saving energy. When/if replacing appliances, look for energy saving (i.e., Energy Star) or, better yet, hand-powered models (consider used older models which have proven longevity).

    Bring back the clothesline!Using a clothesline to dry your clothes whenever possible is a great way to reduce carbon emissions.

    Carbon FootprintThe Carbon Footprint Calculator helps you to determine your carbon dioxide emissions from major sources: home energy consumption and transportation by car and plane. This information can be tracked over time, allowing you to gauge the impact of your actions to reduce your carbon footprint.

    Draught-Excluder for Chimneys: Even with a damp, a lot of heat flows up chimneys in the winter. Check out the Chimney Sheep to save on heating and reduce uncomfortable drafts.

    Self-Learning Thermostat: Check out The Nest for potentially large savings in heating and cooling.

    Carbon Offsets: If you are taking a trip, consider buying carbon emission offsets. One well-respected Green-e certified company is TerraPass.

    Home Shade: In hot areas, if you have west-facing windows, use window treatments such as blinds, tints, deciduous trees or trellises to help keep out heat from the summer sun. In general, you will lower your summer air-conditioning bill by planting trees and bushes along the west side of your home.

    Paint Colors: Paint your home a light colour if you live in a warm climate and a dark colour if you live in a cold climate.

    Residential Energy UseInsulationInsulate your water heater (a tank that is warm to the touch needs added insulation), as well as hot water pipes and ducts located in unheated areas.

    Standby Power: Reduce "standby power" (the energy used while an appliance is switched off or not performing) at home and work. 

    The easiest way is to unplug appliances that are not being used. You can also plug your appliances into bye-bye standby or smart meters so that they are powered down completely when turned off.

    Lights Off: Whenever possible, keep lights off during the day. Consider installing a well-insulated skylight if more light is needed. Encourage family members to get in the habit of turning off lights when they leave a room (taping small reminder notes to light switches can help).

    Power-Saving Features: Learn about easy ways to reduce energy use by your computer with the Power Management for Computers guide

    Location of Home: Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive (easy access to public transit, easy biking routes, close to work and stores, walkable community, etc.).

    Solar Cooker: Consider using a solar cooker for cooking some of your meals.

    Energy Conservation - Reach for the Cold OneCold Water: When turning on a water faucet, choose the coolest water setting unless you need warm water.

    Energy Efficient Mortgages (U.S.): EEM's let you borrow extra money to pay for energy-efficient upgrades to your current home or a new or old home that you plan to buy.

    Renewable Energy Certificates (REC): If you can't switch to renewable energy, consider buying a REC, which lets you essentially purchase renewable energy without switching electricity suppliers.

    Invest in EnergyInvesting in renewable energy production is the same as investing in a home or office building. Buying energy from a utility, on the other hand, is like renting - at the end of fifteen years, you don't have anything to show for it - and you are left vulnerable to the fluctuating costs of energy. 

    One investment option is solar panels which can produce energy for 40 years or more - for longer than it takes to pay off the installation costs (currently around 15 years for homeowners and only seven years for businesses). On the other hand, wind power, where available, has a far quicker payback period.

    Dark-Sky: Change outside light fixtures so that light does not shine up into the sky. The International Dark-Sky Association works to educate individuals and communities about using energy-efficient, properly designed lighting that allows for good night sky viewing. In addition, the Fatal Light Awareness Program educates individuals about how urban lights harm migratory birds.

    Sustainable Kitchen

    Conserve Water

    Freshwater degradation is a looming crisis that we must face head-on with strong and effective actions. Please do your part to protect this precious resource and call upon your elected representatives to take action today to protect not just future generations but our future by adopting sustainable water practices. 

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    Only 3% of the earth's water is freshwater - we must protect this critical resource. In addition, water-related energy consumes a large amount of energy. In California, for example, water use consumes 19% of the state's electricity, 30% of its natural gas, and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually.

    Set Goals: To reduce your water consumption:

    • Set specific water reduction goals -- for example, commit to using 20% less per month. To determine your overall water footprint, use the Water Footprint Calculator.
    • Determine a baseline to start reducing from. Then, print the energy and water consumption chart and post it in a visible spot in your home.
    • Chart the number of gallons of water used in the last 12 months (for comparison to each month this year) (if water consumption is listed by CCF (hundred cubic feet); one CCF equals 748 gallons.
    • Make specific changes in products used and family member habits:
      • buy water-saving products where needed
      • get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits (e.g., place signs near water outlets reminding family members to reduce consumption (e.g., shorter showers, turning the faucet off when not needed, only watering outdoor plants in the morning or evening))
      • look for additional ideas below
    • Once a month, add the new usage information to the charts and make adjustments as needed to reach your goals.
    • If you have children, increase their allowances by the amount saved to encourage them to get involved in finding new ways to conserve

    Resources: Here are the top 5 and 45+ Ways to Conserve Water in the Home and Yard and water waste statistics and tips from National Geographic.

    Water-Conserving Products: Find products that save water and protect the environment at WaterSense (U.S.)

    Water Consumption: Each time you turn on a water faucet, use the lowest pressure necessary. Keep the water turned on only while it is needed. For drinking water, keep a pitcher in your refrigerator so you don't have to let the water run to cool.

    Fix Leaks Promptly!: It is estimated that leaks waste 13.7% of household water. Check your water meter when no one is using water in the house. If it's moving, there's a leak. A running toilet can waste 2 gallons a minute. 

    Check by adding food colouring to the tank without flushing. After 10 minutes, look for leaks indicated by the colour in the bowl. This is most likely a worn flapper valve that can easily be replaced.

    Low Flow Toilets: One of the best ways to avoid wasting water is to switch to low flow or dual flush toilets. Visit Terry Love's consumer toilets report for a great review on available low flow toilets. Flush your toilet only every other time or when it has solid waste.

    Showers: Replace existing shower heads with the lowest flow product you can find. Showerheads with a mist setting let you reduce water flow even further—shower instead of taking a bath. 

    Time your showers - try to keep them to 5 minutes. If taking a bath, limit how high you fill the tub.

    Aerators: Install flow restrictor aerators inside all faucets for a savings of 3 to 4 gallons per minute.

    Full Loads: Always run full loads of laundry and dishes. Choose the short cycle at low water levels whenever possible. Set the clothing washer at the lowest possible temperature needed and for a single rinse only.

    Dish Washing: Use your dishwasher and rinse dishes beforehand (for an average of 20-gallon savings). If you buy a new washing machine, choose a "high efficiency" model.

    Native PlantsFill your yard with native plants. This will cut down significantly on watering requirements and, in the process, provide much-needed food and shelter to local wildlife.

    Mulching: Mulch your gardens to reduce water evaporation around your plants (this also reduces weeds and builds healthy soil).

    Drip IrrigationInstall a drip irrigation system to water your plants more effectively

    For Your Hoses: Buy a squeeze nozzle for all of your hoses. However, if you're watering plants, use a watering can to reduce water waste.

    Best Time to Water: Water at night to minimize evaporation.

    Leftover Water: If you have house plants, whenever possible, water them with leftover or unused water from drinking, cooking, and showering. Keep of water pitcher near your sink or bathtub and collect unused water running from the tap (waiting for cooler or warmer water).

    Car WashTake your car to a car wash that recycles water. If you wash it yourself, use a bucket and sponge and rinse sparingly.

    Greywater System: Find out if creating a greywater/wastewater system would work for you.

    Water Pollution: Protect our water supply by following the steps outlined in How to Clean Up Our Water: 12 simple actions to help stem the tide of polluted runoff.

    Tap Water: Make the switch back to environmentally-friendly tap water instead of bottled water.

    Cooking VegetablesSteam rather than boil your veggies to save a quart or more of water. Better yet, try giving vegetables a quick rinse, placing them in a covered bowl, and microwaving them for a minute or two.

    Sustainable Beauty

    • Go makeup-free for one week each month.
    • Limit the amount of water you use to brush your teeth.
    • Make your face cleanser and scrub. Check out this super simple 2-ingredient body scrub recipe.
    • Use reusable cotton pads for removing your makeup.
    • Don’t leave the water running when cleaning your face.
    • Consider using shampoo bars to reduce packaging.
    • Read labels for toxic and harmful chemicals.
    • Share products with your family, e.g. deodorant, shampoo etc.
    • Use multipurpose bathroom products.
    • Buy bigger bottles less often, as opposed to smaller bottles more often. It also works out to be cheaper.
    • Use body scourers made from natural materials over plastic ones.
    • Donate used and unwanted products to places like Project Beauty Share.
    • Use reusable pads or menstrual cups.

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    Your Home And Finances

    Create a non-toxic, safe home for your family and pets. First, gather up all products in your house or garage that contain unsafe chemicals and drop them off at your local hazardous waste facility. Then, switch to alternatives containing certified non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients.

    1. Non-toxic Home

    Hazardous WasteDispose of the following products at a hazardous waste facility:

    • Building Materials - paint, varnish, paint thinner, solvents, rust remover, wood preservatives and driveway sealer
    • Automotive products - gasoline, transmission oil, brake fluid, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, power steering fluid, used motor oil, used oil filters, used antifreeze.
    • Household cleaners - spot removers, rug cleaners, metal cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaner, drain cleaner
    • Pesticides - insect killers, weed killers, flea products, moth crystals, fertilizers with weed killer
    • Miscellaneous - photographic chemicals, acids and corrosive chemicals, pool chemicals, compact fluorescent light bulbs (mercury), mercury thermometers, Ni-Cd batteries

    Homemade Products: Suggested recipes for homemade cleaning products:

    Free Bug Control!: Invite a spider into your home! For the price of a few cobwebs in a ceiling corner, they'll minimize unwanted bugs in your home.

    Green Certified Products: Listings of certifiers: Green Certified and Safer Choice Labelled.

    Green Nights Sleep: There are now dozens of great brands of eco-friendly mattresses.

    Dry Cleaning: If available, clean your "dry clean only" clothes at a dry cleaning facility that uses wet cleaning techniques. Or, safer yet, avoid purchasing clothes that require dry cleaning.

    Clothing: Whenever possible, buy sustainable clothing.

    Soap Nuts: Check out environmentally-friendly soap nuts (Sapindus) to replace your laundry detergent. It can also be used as a general cleaning soap.

    PVCAvoid purchasing plastic #3, PVC/vinyl. Information: Why you should avoid PVC plastic.

    Sustainable Cat Litter: Ideas for sustainable cat litter. "Create your own (see DIY section) or buy a natural litter sold in minimal or recycled packaging and compost it in your backyard."

    1. Natural Body Products

    Natural Products: You can find non-toxic products at SkinDeep: Cosmetic Safety Database and with the essential ThinkDirty app.

    Cruelty-Free: To learn about and find cruelty-free products, check out Animal Ingredients and Their Alternatives and Companies That Don't Test on Animals.

    Responsible Shopping: Whenever possible, shop at co-ops, local health stores, and socially and environmentally responsible chain stores.

    Home-Made: Better Basics for the Home is a great book on safe, homemade personal care products.

    1. Building or Remodeling Your Home

    Contractor: Find a building contractor who will follow the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Homes Program. Locate a "green building" professional through the Green Building Council Directory.

    Resources: Access the Sustainable Sources and Green Building Concepts for information about building an environmentally-friendly home. 

    New Home Location: If you consider building a new home, seek out a location that has already been built in the past (vs. building on "pristine" land).

    Energy Efficient Mortgages (U.S.): EEM's let you borrow extra money to pay for energy-efficient upgrades to your current home or a new or old home that you plan to buy.

    Building Materials: Building material or appliance ideas (no endorsement of any company intended):

    Salvage Yards: search online for salvage yards in your area. This can be a fantastic resource for used building material.

    Building Material DonationsHabitat for Humanity has hundreds of local donation centres (Restore) where unused building material can be donated. Alternatively, try returning excess materials to the store where purchased.

    Buy/Sell Green Home: If you want to buy or sell a green home, check out ListedGreen.

    Personal Finances

    Move Your Money: If your money is currently at a large banking institution, moving your money to a credit union or community bank will help strengthen your local community.

    Investing: Information on environmentally and socially responsible investing can be found at:

    Sustainable Gifting

    Sustainable Technology

    Table of Contents
      Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

      The world is a beautiful place full of amazing things. But, unfortunately, it's also full of pollution and waste that can ruin the beauty of our planet. So, if you're looking for ways to live more sustainably, check out this blog post! Our experts have some great tips on how to use less electricity, water, and energy. The world we live in is made up of numerous elements, and one of the most important for humans to survive is water. 

      Unfortunately, many people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water because it's not available or accessible. However, there are many ways that you can help reduce your environmental impact and become more sustainable by living a life with less waste and more conscious consumption.

      As the global population continues to grow, so does the demand for energy and natural resources. With this increase in demand, we are seeing a growing concern over how our current lifestyles affect our environment and other cultures around the world. Many of us have already started making changes to live more sustainable lives, and much more can be done! Here are some ways you can help make your lifestyle more eco-friendly.

      There are many different ways to make your lifestyle more sustainable, even if it seems like what you're doing is already pretty eco-friendly. This post will give you some ideas of simple changes that can impact the environment while also improving your health and saving money! 

      good life1

      These suggestions may seem small initially, but they will add up over time and become big steps in the right direction. So take a look through this list for inspiration, then share any other ways that you live sustainably! 

      There are many different ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It's not always easy, but it is possible and well worth the effort. From making small changes at home to living car-free, there are plenty of things you can do that will make a big difference in your carbon footprint and help you save money.

      Everyone wants to live a sustainable lifestyle, but not everyone knows what that means. This blog post will break down some of the basics of living sustainably and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine. The term 'sustainable' basically means using resources not to deplete those resources or harm the environment. There are many ways to do this, from recycling items to cutting back on meat consumption. 

      The world is changing, and living a sustainable lifestyle is becoming more important than ever. Everyone can do their part, even if it's just you trying to live by one of these tips. Below are some ways to make your life more sustainable. 

      Every day, individuals around the world make small sustainable lifestyle choices. Whether it's something as simple as recycling or taking shorter showers to save water, everyone can do their part for a greener planet. While living sustainably is important and should be an integral part of our daily lives, we also want to encourage you to live your best life! Here are some other ways that you can take care of yourself and the environment simultaneously. It's easy for people who choose a more sustainable lifestyle to feel like they have already made so many sacrifices to live this way. But what about those who don't? Let's get started!

      FAQs About Sustainable Lifestyle

      Sustainable living involves reducing the amount of Earth's resources that you use to help protect it. There are a several ways you can do this, including limiting the amount of energy you use, using eco-friendly products and changing your diet – but we'll talk more about that later! In a nutshell, to live a sustainable lifestyle you should try to have as little of an impact on the Earth as possible, while also trying to replace the resources you do use.

      At the moment, we are producing resources, using energy and creating waste at a rate that isn't sustainable. This leads to environmental issues, such as pollution and climate change, which cause harm to the environment, wildlife and humans. By making some small changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help to tackle these issues.

      One of the first things people tend to focus on when they first decide to live more sustainably is single-use plastic. Plastic bottles, bags, coffee cups, cutlery and fresh produce wrappers are all non-recyclable. This means that they will most likely end up in a landfill, where it will produce methane that contributes to CO2 emissions. While it may seem like a harmless act, buying plastic shopping bags for your groceries indirectly causes a lot of damage to the environment, so single-use plastic is often the first to go.

      The same goes for beverages; water bottles, soda bottles and, even coffee cups are primarily made of plastic that we can’t recycle. So investing in a tote bag instead of shopping bags and a thermos or water flask can hugely reduce your personal carbon footprint. And if you love the taste of filtered water or live in an area where the water isn’t the cleanest, invest in your own water filter jug and drink to your heart’s content!

      After single-use plastic, it’s good to look at how we use water in our daily lives. We may be inclined to take longer showers than necessary, boil a full kettle when we only need enough for a cup, and so on. The idea of using less water may seem daunting, but there are plenty of ways to get started:

      • Try reusing water when you cook rice, pasta, potatoes - anything starchy. If you’re a plant lover, let your starchy water cool and feed it to your plants. Just make sure the water is free of salt and stock!
      • If you have a dishwasher, fill it up and use it! It’s far more efficient than washing your dishes by hand.
      • Use a washing-up bowl and turn off the tap. This can save up to nine liters of water every minute!

      Here are some easy ways you can live sustainably without having to make big changes in your life:

      • Bring a keep cup when you go to a cafe to avoid relying on single-use plastic cups.
      • Go paperless. While many banks, governments and institutions now only send out correspondence via email, there are still some companies that send out bills by paper. You can often request a paperless option and save paper waste easily.
      • Cut down on red meat. The climate impact of meat is the equivalent of all vehicles on the globe1. Forests are destroyed during industrial meat production, and billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. Red meat is also a huge proponent of methane emissions, and the overfarming of cattle is one of the biggest causes of environmental damage out there.
      • If you wear make-up, buy a pack of reusable face wipes instead of using single-use cotton wipes. They’re cheaper and involve much less waste!
      • Try forgoing public transport and walking or cycling where possible. This helps reduce car emissions and provides an opportunity to get some exercise.
      • Cook and bake your own food as much as possible. This will mean you’ll know what ingredients go into each meal, and it’ll also reduce the packaging you use as you won’t be buying pre-packaged ready meals or snacks.

      Sustainable living is certainly possible. As we’ve learned, sustainability doesn’t have to involve never enjoying the small, daily pleasures ever again. Rather, it involves thinking a little more about the food, drink and energy we consume, how we travel and whether we’re able to replace the resources we deplete.

      Right now, many of us use energy and create waste at an unsustainable rate. This results in pollution and climate change, harming ourselves, the environment and its wildlife. By implementing a few small changes to our lifestyles, we can reduce our personal carbon footprints and tackle these issues. What are the benefits of sustainable living? Of course, the most obvious benefit of living sustainably is that you’re less responsible for causing daily damage to the environment. Your carbon footprint is reduced, and you know you’re doing your bit to preserve the planet for the sake of future generations, animals and their natural habitats.

      Aside from the environmental positives, sustainable living also provides a handy opportunity to live healthier. By avoiding public transporting and walking or cycling where possible, you’re likely increasing your daily amount of exercise. By carefully considering the ingredients in our food, we’re more likely to make healthier choices.

      Your Food

      Switching to an animal-free, vegan diet is a powerful way to help protect our environment, help ensure everyone has enough to eat and improve their health. The United Nations report Livestock's Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options concludes that the livestock sector (primarily cows, chickens, and pigs) emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to our most serious environmental problems at every scale from local to global. 

      ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle (1)

      It is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases - responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. It produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide (296 times the climate change potential of CO2) and 37% of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2). CO2 emissions by cows. It also generates 64% of the ammonia, which contributes to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.

      In addition, the enormous amounts of grain required to feed livestock reduce the amount of food available for the world's hungry. Buying organic, locally grown food also reduces climate change emissions and helps protect the environment. "The world is producing the wrong kind of food, by a process that leaves millions of people landless, homeless, cashless, and unable to feed themselves." Anita Roddick

      Organic: The What is Organic? page explains what organic produce is and how it is certified.

      Local: Buy food (and drink - ideally tap - water) from local companies whenever possible. Each pound of local food you purchase prevents a quarter pound of climate change (C02) emissions. Support your area's Farmer's Market. If possible, grow your own fruits and vegetables using organic gardening practices. In the U.S.:

      Veganic GrowingSupport and use veganic growing practices, which are not only organic but also uses alternatives to animal byproducts (such as bonemeal, bloodmeal, manure) to fertilize the soil.

      Vegan Diet: Informational sites:

      Animal-Free Diet Resources: Support for switching to a meat-free diet:

      Vegan Restaurants: Restaurant locators:

      Reducing Food Waste: If food waste were a country, it would be the world's 3rd largest emitter of CO2- roughly 1/3 of food produced every year gets lost or wasted. So here are great ideas for reducing it.

      Responsible Food Shopping: Whenever possible, shop at farmers markets, food co-ops, local health food stores, and socially and environmentally responsible chain stores (research tools: Food Scores).

      Healthy School Lunches: Support efforts to increase healthy food choices in school lunches (U.S.)

      Food's Carbon FootprintEating a low-carbon diet is critical for reducing climate change. World Watch found that more than half of all climate emissions come from eating meat.

      Non-GMO: Many organizations are working to protect our food supply from genetically engineered produce. Please get involved in any way you can. Whenever possible, buy products containing non-GMO soy, cotton, and corn. 

      Ask your local supermarket to carry non-GMO products and ask your friends to make this request - have faith that your requests will get back to the growers and store headquarters. Of course, this trend will only turn around when customers demand non-GMO products. But, again, your pocketbook is your most effective voice.

      Unprocessed Food: Eat unprocessed/unpackaged food whenever possible.

      Shade-Grown or Bird Friendly Coffee: Switching to shade-grown and bird-friendly coffee helps protect dwindling bird habitats.

      Conserve Energy

      Please do not wait to start conserving as much energy as possible to reduce your climate change emissions! And please ask your elected representatives to push for strong legislation to move toward overall reduced energy usage and increased alternative energy production.

      Set Goals: To reduce your energy consumption:

      • for your car(s): chart the number of miles you drive each month
      • for your home/office: chart the gas "therms" and electric kilowatts per hour (kWh) used in the last 12 months (for comparison to each month this year)
      • buy energy-saving products where needed
      • read Alternative Transportation and Fuel Efficiency Tips
      • get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits (e.g., tape signs to light switches reminding family members to turn out lights when they leave a room, tape a sign to your car dashboard reminding the driver to check tire pressure during the first week of each month, assign someone to turn out all lights and cut power to unused appliances (to reduce standby power usage) each night)
      • look for additional ideas below
      • Use the money saved to do something fun with your family (if you have children, increase their allowances by the amount saved to encourage them to get involved in finding new ways to conserve)

      Buy Green Energy: If possible, choose a utility company focused on renewable energy. For example, suppose you live in a deregulated state in the U.S. and Canada. In that case, Green-e provides information about certified "clean electricity" providers for your state - or choose a nationwide renewable energy provider.

      Resources: The following pages provide tips on how to save energy:

      Know Your Appliances: Great list of typical energy use per appliance to help prioritize your approach to saving energy. When/if replacing appliances, look for energy saving (i.e., Energy Star) or, better yet, hand-powered models (consider used older models which have proven longevity).

      Bring back the clothesline!Using a clothesline to dry your clothes whenever possible is a great way to reduce carbon emissions.

      Carbon FootprintThe Carbon Footprint Calculator helps you to determine your carbon dioxide emissions from major sources: home energy consumption and transportation by car and plane. This information can be tracked over time, allowing you to gauge the impact of your actions to reduce your carbon footprint.

      Draught-Excluder for Chimneys: Even with a damp, a lot of heat flows up chimneys in the winter. Check out the Chimney Sheep to save on heating and reduce uncomfortable drafts.

      Self-Learning Thermostat: Check out The Nest for potentially large savings in heating and cooling.

      Carbon Offsets: If you are taking a trip, consider buying carbon emission offsets. One well-respected Green-e certified company is TerraPass.

      Home Shade: In hot areas, if you have west-facing windows, use window treatments such as blinds, tints, deciduous trees or trellises to help keep out heat from the summer sun. In general, you will lower your summer air-conditioning bill by planting trees and bushes along the west side of your home.

      Paint Colors: Paint your home a light colour if you live in a warm climate and a dark colour if you live in a cold climate.

      Residential Energy UseInsulationInsulate your water heater (a tank that is warm to the touch needs added insulation), as well as hot water pipes and ducts located in unheated areas.

      Standby Power: Reduce "standby power" (the energy used while an appliance is switched off or not performing) at home and work. 

      The easiest way is to unplug appliances that are not being used. You can also plug your appliances into bye-bye standby or smart meters so that they are powered down completely when turned off.

      Lights Off: Whenever possible, keep lights off during the day. Consider installing a well-insulated skylight if more light is needed. Encourage family members to get in the habit of turning off lights when they leave a room (taping small reminder notes to light switches can help).

      Power-Saving Features: Learn about easy ways to reduce energy use by your computer with the Power Management for Computers guide

      Location of Home: Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive (easy access to public transit, easy biking routes, close to work and stores, walkable community, etc.).

      Solar Cooker: Consider using a solar cooker for cooking some of your meals.

      Energy Conservation - Reach for the Cold OneCold Water: When turning on a water faucet, choose the coolest water setting unless you need warm water.

      Energy Efficient Mortgages (U.S.): EEM's let you borrow extra money to pay for energy-efficient upgrades to your current home or a new or old home that you plan to buy.

      Renewable Energy Certificates (REC): If you can't switch to renewable energy, consider buying a REC, which lets you essentially purchase renewable energy without switching electricity suppliers.

      Invest in EnergyInvesting in renewable energy production is the same as investing in a home or office building. Buying energy from a utility, on the other hand, is like renting - at the end of fifteen years, you don't have anything to show for it - and you are left vulnerable to the fluctuating costs of energy. 

      One investment option is solar panels which can produce energy for 40 years or more - for longer than it takes to pay off the installation costs (currently around 15 years for homeowners and only seven years for businesses). On the other hand, wind power, where available, has a far quicker payback period.

      Dark-Sky: Change outside light fixtures so that light does not shine up into the sky. The International Dark-Sky Association works to educate individuals and communities about using energy-efficient, properly designed lighting that allows for good night sky viewing. In addition, the Fatal Light Awareness Program educates individuals about how urban lights harm migratory birds.

      Sustainable Kitchen

      Conserve Water

      Freshwater degradation is a looming crisis that we must face head-on with strong and effective actions. Please do your part to protect this precious resource and call upon your elected representatives to take action today to protect not just future generations but our future by adopting sustainable water practices. 

      ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle (3)

      Only 3% of the earth's water is freshwater - we must protect this critical resource. In addition, water-related energy consumes a large amount of energy. In California, for example, water use consumes 19% of the state's electricity, 30% of its natural gas, and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually.

      Set Goals: To reduce your water consumption:

      • Set specific water reduction goals -- for example, commit to using 20% less per month. To determine your overall water footprint, use the Water Footprint Calculator.
      • Determine a baseline to start reducing from. Then, print the energy and water consumption chart and post it in a visible spot in your home.
      • Chart the number of gallons of water used in the last 12 months (for comparison to each month this year) (if water consumption is listed by CCF (hundred cubic feet); one CCF equals 748 gallons.
      • Make specific changes in products used and family member habits:
        • buy water-saving products where needed
        • get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits (e.g., place signs near water outlets reminding family members to reduce consumption (e.g., shorter showers, turning the faucet off when not needed, only watering outdoor plants in the morning or evening))
        • look for additional ideas below
      • Once a month, add the new usage information to the charts and make adjustments as needed to reach your goals.
      • If you have children, increase their allowances by the amount saved to encourage them to get involved in finding new ways to conserve

      Resources: Here are the top 5 and 45+ Ways to Conserve Water in the Home and Yard and water waste statistics and tips from National Geographic.

      Water-Conserving Products: Find products that save water and protect the environment at WaterSense (U.S.)

      Water Consumption: Each time you turn on a water faucet, use the lowest pressure necessary. Keep the water turned on only while it is needed. For drinking water, keep a pitcher in your refrigerator so you don't have to let the water run to cool.

      Fix Leaks Promptly!: It is estimated that leaks waste 13.7% of household water. Check your water meter when no one is using water in the house. If it's moving, there's a leak. A running toilet can waste 2 gallons a minute. 

      Check by adding food colouring to the tank without flushing. After 10 minutes, look for leaks indicated by the colour in the bowl. This is most likely a worn flapper valve that can easily be replaced.

      Low Flow Toilets: One of the best ways to avoid wasting water is to switch to low flow or dual flush toilets. Visit Terry Love's consumer toilets report for a great review on available low flow toilets. Flush your toilet only every other time or when it has solid waste.

      Showers: Replace existing shower heads with the lowest flow product you can find. Showerheads with a mist setting let you reduce water flow even further—shower instead of taking a bath. 

      Time your showers - try to keep them to 5 minutes. If taking a bath, limit how high you fill the tub.

      Aerators: Install flow restrictor aerators inside all faucets for a savings of 3 to 4 gallons per minute.

      Full Loads: Always run full loads of laundry and dishes. Choose the short cycle at low water levels whenever possible. Set the clothing washer at the lowest possible temperature needed and for a single rinse only.

      Dish Washing: Use your dishwasher and rinse dishes beforehand (for an average of 20-gallon savings). If you buy a new washing machine, choose a "high efficiency" model.

      Native PlantsFill your yard with native plants. This will cut down significantly on watering requirements and, in the process, provide much-needed food and shelter to local wildlife.

      Mulching: Mulch your gardens to reduce water evaporation around your plants (this also reduces weeds and builds healthy soil).

      Drip IrrigationInstall a drip irrigation system to water your plants more effectively

      For Your Hoses: Buy a squeeze nozzle for all of your hoses. However, if you're watering plants, use a watering can to reduce water waste.

      Best Time to Water: Water at night to minimize evaporation.

      Leftover Water: If you have house plants, whenever possible, water them with leftover or unused water from drinking, cooking, and showering. Keep of water pitcher near your sink or bathtub and collect unused water running from the tap (waiting for cooler or warmer water).

      Car WashTake your car to a car wash that recycles water. If you wash it yourself, use a bucket and sponge and rinse sparingly.

      Greywater System: Find out if creating a greywater/wastewater system would work for you.

      Water Pollution: Protect our water supply by following the steps outlined in How to Clean Up Our Water: 12 simple actions to help stem the tide of polluted runoff.

      Tap Water: Make the switch back to environmentally-friendly tap water instead of bottled water.

      Cooking VegetablesSteam rather than boil your veggies to save a quart or more of water. Better yet, try giving vegetables a quick rinse, placing them in a covered bowl, and microwaving them for a minute or two.

      Sustainable Beauty

      • Go makeup-free for one week each month.
      • Limit the amount of water you use to brush your teeth.
      • Make your face cleanser and scrub. Check out this super simple 2-ingredient body scrub recipe.
      • Use reusable cotton pads for removing your makeup.
      • Don’t leave the water running when cleaning your face.
      • Consider using shampoo bars to reduce packaging.
      • Read labels for toxic and harmful chemicals.
      • Share products with your family, e.g. deodorant, shampoo etc.
      • Use multipurpose bathroom products.
      • Buy bigger bottles less often, as opposed to smaller bottles more often. It also works out to be cheaper.
      • Use body scourers made from natural materials over plastic ones.
      • Donate used and unwanted products to places like Project Beauty Share.
      • Use reusable pads or menstrual cups.

      good life

      Your Home And Finances

      Create a non-toxic, safe home for your family and pets. First, gather up all products in your house or garage that contain unsafe chemicals and drop them off at your local hazardous waste facility. Then, switch to alternatives containing certified non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients.

      1. Non-toxic Home

      Hazardous WasteDispose of the following products at a hazardous waste facility:

      • Building Materials - paint, varnish, paint thinner, solvents, rust remover, wood preservatives and driveway sealer
      • Automotive products - gasoline, transmission oil, brake fluid, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, power steering fluid, used motor oil, used oil filters, used antifreeze.
      • Household cleaners - spot removers, rug cleaners, metal cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaner, drain cleaner
      • Pesticides - insect killers, weed killers, flea products, moth crystals, fertilizers with weed killer
      • Miscellaneous - photographic chemicals, acids and corrosive chemicals, pool chemicals, compact fluorescent light bulbs (mercury), mercury thermometers, Ni-Cd batteries

      Homemade Products: Suggested recipes for homemade cleaning products:

      Free Bug Control!: Invite a spider into your home! For the price of a few cobwebs in a ceiling corner, they'll minimize unwanted bugs in your home.

      Green Certified Products: Listings of certifiers: Green Certified and Safer Choice Labelled.

      Green Nights Sleep: There are now dozens of great brands of eco-friendly mattresses.

      Dry Cleaning: If available, clean your "dry clean only" clothes at a dry cleaning facility that uses wet cleaning techniques. Or, safer yet, avoid purchasing clothes that require dry cleaning.

      Clothing: Whenever possible, buy sustainable clothing.

      Soap Nuts: Check out environmentally-friendly soap nuts (Sapindus) to replace your laundry detergent. It can also be used as a general cleaning soap.

      PVCAvoid purchasing plastic #3, PVC/vinyl. Information: Why you should avoid PVC plastic.

      Sustainable Cat Litter: Ideas for sustainable cat litter. "Create your own (see DIY section) or buy a natural litter sold in minimal or recycled packaging and compost it in your backyard."

      1. Natural Body Products

      Natural Products: You can find non-toxic products at SkinDeep: Cosmetic Safety Database and with the essential ThinkDirty app.

      Cruelty-Free: To learn about and find cruelty-free products, check out Animal Ingredients and Their Alternatives and Companies That Don't Test on Animals.

      Responsible Shopping: Whenever possible, shop at co-ops, local health stores, and socially and environmentally responsible chain stores.

      Home-Made: Better Basics for the Home is a great book on safe, homemade personal care products.

      1. Building or Remodeling Your Home

      Contractor: Find a building contractor who will follow the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Homes Program. Locate a "green building" professional through the Green Building Council Directory.

      Resources: Access the Sustainable Sources and Green Building Concepts for information about building an environmentally-friendly home. 

      New Home Location: If you consider building a new home, seek out a location that has already been built in the past (vs. building on "pristine" land).

      Energy Efficient Mortgages (U.S.): EEM's let you borrow extra money to pay for energy-efficient upgrades to your current home or a new or old home that you plan to buy.

      Building Materials: Building material or appliance ideas (no endorsement of any company intended):

      Salvage Yards: search online for salvage yards in your area. This can be a fantastic resource for used building material.

      Building Material DonationsHabitat for Humanity has hundreds of local donation centres (Restore) where unused building material can be donated. Alternatively, try returning excess materials to the store where purchased.

      Buy/Sell Green Home: If you want to buy or sell a green home, check out ListedGreen.

      Personal Finances

      Move Your Money: If your money is currently at a large banking institution, moving your money to a credit union or community bank will help strengthen your local community.

      Investing: Information on environmentally and socially responsible investing can be found at:

      Sustainable Gifting

      Sustainable Technology

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