"Sustainability can't be like some sort of a moral sacrifice or political dilemma or a philanthropical cause. It has to be a design challenge."
Bjarke Ingels, Architect
Sustainable living (often also referred to as net zero living or earth harmony living) can be defined as a lifestyle that has the goal to reduce the consumption of our planet’s natural resources.
Practicing this lifestyle often includes the reduction of consumption levels and also saving energy whenever possible.
The principles of sustainable living are closely linked to the philosophy of sustainable development. In this article, the importance of sustainable living as well as many sustainable living ideas how you can improve your ecological footprint in your daily life are examined.
Our planet faces many serious environmental problems, including the depletion of natural resources, deforestation, global warming, endangerment of species, several kinds of pollution, waste production and many more. Many of these environmental issues can be attributed to human behavior.
Sustainable living is crucial in order to mitigate these problems. Only if we make our life more sustainable, we can improve our ecological footprint and therefore reduce our harmful impact on our planet.
Many of our daily life consumption items are wrapped or packaged into plastic. This is extremely harmful to our planet since it leads to the production of enormous amounts of plastic waste. Part of this waste is burned and harmful gases are emitted into the air.
Moreover, another part of this plastic trash will end up in our oceans where it leads to significant water pollution and can hurt many sea animals and plants. You can mitigate these adverse effects by simply avoiding buying items that are wrapped into plastic.
You can also bring your own bag for shopping purposes instead of using disposable plastic bags to further improve your ecological footprint.
Our food is often carried over quite long distances until it finally reaches our grocery stores. This transportation is often done by plane or ship which emit large amounts of harmful gases, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. By buying local food instead of food that comes from remote parts of the world, you can reduce air pollution and also save fossil fuels and therefore also mitigate the resource depletion issue.
The use of disposable plastic cups leads to big environmental problems. It is estimated that each year, around 500 billion disposable plastic cups are used worldwide. This leads to an enormous amount of plastic waste from which we have to get rid somehow.
Moreover, since plastic is produced out of oil, it also leads to an enormous waste of natural resources. Therefore, by bringing your own mug and avoiding the use of disposable plastic cups, you can improve your sustainable living record.
Taxis are a convenient method to get around. However, they are quite inefficient since the use of taxis implies the emission of large amounts of harmful gases per capita.
Therefore, the use of taxis implies significant levels of air pollution and also leads to resource depletion since most taxis are run by fossil fuels.
Thus, especially in big cities with good public transport connections, you can switch from taxis to public transport in order to make your daily life more sustainable.
Eating vegetarian or vegan is quite efficient from an energy point of view since calories are used more efficiently compared to the consumption of meat. This implies that by eating vegetarian or even vegan, we could feed more people on our planet.
This may become even more important in the future due to the growing world population. Therefore, in order to ensure enough food supply, you can contribute by eating more vegan or vegetarian food and by avoiding the excessive consumption of meat.
Education is key when it comes to changing lifestyles. This is especially true when it comes to the education of children. Children are usually more eager to learn and are more flexible than adults.
Thus, it is crucial that we teach our children from an early age on how important sustainable living really is for our planet.
By doing so, children are more able to behave environmentally-friendly and will also likely behave in a sustainable way when they turn into grownups.
Many jobs do not require you to be present at your workplace every day. With the help of our modern communication devices, most of the work could be done remote. In many firms, home office is a possible option. It is meant to improve work life balance and also to ensure the compatibility of work and family life.
Therefore, if the firm you are working for offers the opportunity to work from your home, use it in order to avoid commuting and the implied emission of harmful greenhouse gases. If your firm does not offer home office yet, you could ask your boss if it is possible to work from home. By doing so, you can improve your sustainable living behavior.
Many people just wear their clothes for just a single time and then wash it. However, this leads to a significant waste of water and also to an excessive use of detergents. You should ask yourself if it is really necessary to wash your clothes daily. It usually is quite possible to wear your clothes for several days without any negative effects. Therefore, by wearing your clothes longer before you wash it, you can contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.
If you have a garden or a balcony, you can also grow your own vegetables or fruits. Not only will this food be healthier than food from conventional food stores since it is not contaminated with pesticides, you can also improve your ecological footprint since you avoid long transportation distances and the implied adverse effects.
Depending on the season, you can also try to pick food in nature. For instance, in autumn, it is possible to harvest plenty of mushrooms or berries. By doing so, you can improve your sustainable living behavior since you do not have to buy food in conventional stores and thus can save fossil fuels for transportation and the implied emissions.
Another measure in order to make your live more sustainable from an environmental perspective is to plant trees. You can do this by your own or join organizations like the Trillion Tree Campaign which strives to plant one trillion trees in order to mitigate the adverse effects from deforestation.
Since trees are a natural storage space for carbon dioxide and also produce oxygen in the process of photosynthesis, trees are crucial for a sustainable life on earth. Therefore, by planting trees, you can improve your ecological footprint and contribute to an improvement in sustainable living.
We also have to raise the awareness of people on the topic of sustainable living. Too many people still are trapped in their daily routine and do not care too much about our environment.
We have to show people how their actions impact our planet and what can happen if we do not change our behavior.
Thus, you should try to talk to people and convince them about the importance to contribute to sustainable living in order to ensure a livable future for the next generations.
Air conditioning can be quite convenient, especially on hot summer days. However, by using air conditioning, plenty of energy is consumed. Since our energy is mainly produced with the help of fossil fuels, energy consumption contributes to air pollution and also speeds up the global warming process. Therefore, you should try to reduce or even turn off your air conditioning if you do not urgently need it.
In winter, many houses are heated excessively. For instance, scientists found that the optimal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-19 degrees Celsius). However, many people heat their houses up to 25 degree.
Not only can this be harmful to your health, it also implies a significant waste of resources. Therefore, it will not hurt you too much to turn down your heating. By doing so, you can live more sustainable through the saving of natural resources.
Since our world population is growing, so does our overall amount of waste. In order to get rid of the waste, we have to burn a significant fraction of it. The combustion of waste leads to significant air pollution and also leads to the emission of harmful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere which in turn contributes to global warming. Thus, by reducing your waste production, you can make your lifestyle more sustainable.
In order to contribute to a sustainable living, you should also try to reduce your consumption level. Since unit prices of many goods are quite low compared to the average income levels, people are able to consume plenty of stuff.
However, this leads to a consumption behavior in which people strive to buy all kinds of material things, even if they do not need them, sometimes solely to impress family, friends or neighbors.
Excessive consumption is quite bad for our environmental system since it contributes to resource depletion and also implies the emission of greenhouse gases which in turn contribute to global warming.
Therefore, through a reduction in consumption, you can mitigate many environmental problems and make your lifestyle more sustainable.
In many countries, meat consumption increased dramatically over the last decades since people became wealthier and were able to afford more meat. However, meat consumption is quite bad for our planet since the production process of meat implies the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide.
Moreover, meat consumption can be regarded as harmful to a sustainable life since for the production of one calorie of meat, multiple calories of plant material have to be used. Thus, by avoiding or reducing meat consumption, we could feed more people and also slow down global warming.
Many people use food delivery services after work since it is quite convenient. However, food delivery also implies a significant level of greenhouse gas emission since a big fraction of food is delivered with cars run by fossil fuels. Therefore, you can improve your carbon footprint by cooking food by yourself instead of using food delivery.
Many of our daily life items are wrapped into plastic or other packaging material. This leads to an enormous amount of waste. You can try to reuse wrappings or packaging material in order to reduce waste production. For example, you can use old cardboards for storing purposes instead of disposing them into the garbage.
Metals are precious natural resources that have to be extracted out of the ground. This extraction process involves the consumption of plenty of energy and also leads to a depletion of natural resources. Therefore, it is crucial to save metals whenever possible.
For instance, many fast food items are wrapped into aluminum foil. You should avoid this kind of fast food and rather cook by yourself in order to improve the sustainability of your daily life behavior.
In many firms, printouts are used quite frequently in meetings. However, most of the printouts would not even be necessary since people could use their laptops to take notes and to follow presentations instead of using printed versions.
The excessive consumption of paper leads to an enormous amount of unnecessary paper waste which in turn leads to deforestation and also contributes to global warming. Therefore, try to avoid the use of printing paper at work whenever possible.
Water is a quite precious resource which is often not valued enough since it usually is quite cheap. However, water will become quite scarce in the future due to global warming. People in areas with high air temperature and dry climate will likely lose their livelihood since they will no longer be able to do farming due to a lack of water.
Thus, since water will become even more important in the future, you should save water whenever possible. For instance, you could reduce your showering time or also use your washing machine less frequently.
In order to make your waste recyclable and to therefore to use our natural resources in an efficient way, you should separate your waste. Moreover, make sure that you dispose special waste items like electronic waste or batteries in an appropriate way in order to avoid negative effects on our environmental system.
Many people make short trips on weekends which often involves travelling quite long distances with cars or planes. This behavior leads to the consumption of large amounts of fossil fuels and thus to the emission of harmful greenhouse gases. In order to avoid these issues, try to spend your weekends at home or in nearby areas instead of travelling long distances.
You can also support local farmers by buying meat, vegetables or fruits right from farms instead of buying from conventional stores. By doing so, you can avoid large transportation distances and can therefore improve your ecological footprint.
In our nowadays society, we consume plenty of electricity. However, a big fraction of our electricity is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels. Thus, in order to reduce the adverse effects from energy consumption on our environment, we should turn off our lights whenever we do not urgently need them.
We can further reduce our electricity consumption by turning off our TVs. Instead, play parlor games with your family or read a book. You could also join some clubs related to the protection of our environment to use your time in an even more environmentally-friendly manner.
People use their cars quite frequently to go shopping or for commuting purposes. However, the use of cars also implies a significant level of air pollution and also the emission of harmful greenhouse gases which in turn lead to global warming.
Try to use alternative means of transportation instead of using your car! For instance, in areas with good public transport, it should not be a big deal to switch from your car to trains or buses. You could further improve your ecological footprint be using your bike more frequently.
In the last decade, energy-efficient devices became quite affordable. In order to save energy, you should watch out for energy-efficient rather than energy-intensive household devices when it comes to buying decisions. By avoiding energy-intensive devices, you can save energy and therefore ensure a sustainable living behavior.
Buying from organic food stores instead of conventional stores can improve your ecological footprint since you can often avoid plastic packaging. Moreover, organic food stores often offer food from local farmers, which avoids long transportation distances and therefore contributes to sustainable living.
Many people in our nowadays society wear their clothes just a few or even just a single time before disposing them into the trash bin. However, this behavior is quite harmful to our planet since it implies wasting enormous amounts of natural resources which in turn contributes to resource depletion. By using your clothes longer, you can reduce your negative impact on our environmental system.
Many food items eventually end up in the garbage rather than on our table. This is due to the fact that many people buy too much food which will rot if it is not used for a long period of time. In order to avoid the waste of food, you should only buy as much food as you are likely to consume. By doing so, you can live in a more sustainable manner.
In many countries, walking is considered as dodgy. Thus, people often use their cars, even for quite small distances.
This behavior leads to significant amounts of unnecessary air pollution and also implies the emission of greenhouse gases which in turn contributes to the global warming issue.
Therefore, in order to mitigate these adverse effects, you should try to walk short distance instead of using your car in order to behave in a more environmentally-friendly fashion.
Since humanity as well as our environmental system face many serious problems, sustainable living has become an important topic in order to mitigate these issues. Everyone of us can contribute to a more sustainable living through numerous daily life actions.
People are usually quite good when it comes to talking about actions that improve their ecological footprint, but are often quite resistant to take own actions in this regard.
Therefore, it is crucial that we show people the importance of changing our daily life behavior in the direction of a more
Only then will it be possible to life an environmentally-friendly life on a global scale and therefore to ensure a livable future for the next generations. Thus, you should question yourself quite frequently if your daily life actions are in line with the goal of sustainable living.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master's degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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