Did you know that America has less than 5 percent of the world population and yet ranks the highest in most consumer categories? It's no secret that the temperature is rising, polar ice caps are melting, and that Mother Nature is more unpredictable than ever. While it may feel like it's an uphill battle, there is plenty an individual can do to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Sustainable living is a lifestyle that helps you reduce your use of Earth's natural resources and rely on your own. You may know it as 'net-zero living'. While it may not be realistic for you to adopt an entirely sustainable lifestyle, there are a variety of things you can do that amount to significant change.
So if you're looking to live more environmentally friendly in 2021, keep reading to learn some sustainable living tips!
1. Reduce Meat Consumption
Meat consumption is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet. Livestock farming contributes to land and water degradation, acid rain, deforestation, and biodiversity loss.
It also contributes 18% of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide! To give you a sense of how significant that is, it's more than all of the emissions from ships, planes, cars, trucks, and any other transport put together.
Now, we aren't asking that you change your entire diet overnight. The best thing to do is understand where your food comes from and make ethical choices about what ends up on your plate.
For example, begin with reducing your meat intake and shop local for any meat you do purchase. Giving up beef will make the biggest difference since it is the most environmentally damaging option when it comes to food consumption.
If you're worried about a lack of options for a vegetarian or vegan diet, you'll be happy to know that you won't be missing out whatsoever. There are alternative options for every single one of your favorite meat and dairy items and they taste as good. The main difference is that your new ethical food choices will be helping out the planet.
2. Say Goodbye to Plastic
There's no doubt that plastic is a nightmare for the environment. It is found everywhere, it's difficult to recycle and it's dangerous for humans and wildlife. In a perfect world, manufacturers would not use plastic anymore and almost everything would be made from sustainable materials.
However, it may take some time for companies to transition and become plastic free. That means it is up to the individual to use less plastic. There are several changes you can make to use less plastic.
Avoid single-use plastic such as straws, plastic plates, and cutlery. They may be convenient but some alternatives are reusable and portable (for those events that love to use plastic).
Carry around a reusable shopping bag so that you don't have to use plastic bags from the market. There are a variety of cute bags, many of them can fold into a little ball so you can toss it in your purse and have it ready if there's a spontaneous shopping trip.
If you rely on plastic Tupperware, trade it in for the more sustainable glass or steel Tupperware. This is not only better for the environment but you won't be exposed to the harmful toxins that plastic emits.
Purchase more products that are eco-friendly. This means buying soaps that don't come in a plastic container or purchasing at stores that offer product re-fills using the same containers. Whether the goal is to have zero waste or less waste, ensuring the products you use are environmentally friendly is one of the best ways to achieve that.
Be sure to inform your loved ones about it as well! Of course, no one likes to be lectured but you can lead by example using these tips. The more people who make small changes, the bigger the impact.
3. Drive Less, Use Your Bike More
The type of transportation you use makes a dramatic difference in your carbon footprint. Instead of using your car, consider riding your bike. If you don't have a bike or it's not an option - walk, carpool, or use public transportation as much as possible.
You can combine errands with friends so you aren't taking separate cars. If a car is vital, consider switching out your car for a fuel-efficient option. It may seem insignificant but these small changes add up.
The global use of vehicles is one of the leading causes of global warming but as more electric and fuel-efficient vehicles appear on the market, the opportunity for change increases.
4. Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own garden doesn't only apply to people who have large outdoor areas. You can grow your own food living in a tiny New York City studio, there are options for everybody. Growing your own garden means you decide what plants you'll grow and the type of soil you use.
Growing your own food reduces trips to the grocery store, gives you a new activity to enjoy, and saves you money! There are plenty of resources to get you started.
Living in a busy city? You can grow your own food indoors. Of course, you're more limited in options but all you need is a little sunlight and the right soil!
5. Make Your Home Green
Besides making more eco-friendly choices for yourself, you can keep your home in shape by improving its energy efficiency. Ensure that your home has energy-saving windows and install a programmable thermostat so there's more economical cooling and heating.
Swap out your regular bulbs for energy-saving LED bulbs. Not only are these more eco-friendly but they last longer too, which ends up saving you money in the long run. There are even incentives that some states offer to help make your home more eco-friendly at low or no cost.
Make sure you have a recycling bin and get a compost bin to help you get rid of leftovers. It'll also be a great fertilizer for your garden and it helps create less waste.
Sustainable Living Made Easy
Making a big change in your life can be overwhelming, especially if you're accustomed to a particular lifestyle. With the constant flood of troubling news about our environment, sitting back and doing nothing doesn't feel like an option anymore. If you're looking to make a change, sustainable living is your best bet.
Not only will you be making a positive difference in the environment but you'll be improving your health as well.
Ready to start 2021 by living more sustainably? Be sure to check out our products!