You’ve seen the hashtags, you know the slogans by heart now, and you probably even own a hoodie or a tote bag with those words on it. But the ‘save the planet’ theme often sounds like a distant dream rather than a possible reality. We keep hearing that sustainable living is the way forward, but are we getting it right?
The case for sustainable living
You may be sceptical about how much you, as an individual, can make a difference or even about whether sustainable living can make good on its promises.
This doubt is usually because not all of us are fully aware of how we have pushed the environment out of balance. Studies reveal that “more than 8 million tons of pandemic-associated plastic waste have been generated globally, with more than 25,000 tons entering the global ocean.” Now, that sounds like quite the chore in terms of clean-up.
Single-use plastics, disinfectants, and antibacterials are still highly favoured in homes that are COVID-conscious. The dependency on online shopping has only seen a steady rise since lockdowns (online sales have increased more than 52% since 2020), increasing the use of plastics in packaging.
Taking this trend of higher resource consumption into account, it becomes evident that some restorative action is necessary. But how does the bio-friendly movement fit into the new normal?
What sustainable living looks like
Despite our continued and sometimes unavoidable dependency on plastics, believe it or not, there are plenty of innovations and creative solutions! What’s more, many of these solutions can begin right from our daily lives at home.
If you identify as a recent convert to the cause of living sustainably, here’s where your journey can take off:
1. Green is the new black:
Food demands stress out our resources the most, so taking on a small amount of that responsibility as an individual can go a long way. If you’re not known for your ‘green thumb’, start with low-maintenance microgreens. They can up your salad game for the ‘gram and can soon inspire you to dabble in more adventurous greens. Urban farming, typically a kitchen garden on your balcony, can account for up to 50% of your produce. Having noticed this, the governments of Singapore and the Philippines are already encouraging their urban populace toward this practice by rolling out garden kits. They aim to cover 30% of their food needs with locally grown food by 2030.
2. Put meat on hold:
The rearing of livestock for food is a significant contributor to global warming. And as the demand for meat grows each year, the planet’s green cover is cleared up to make room for ranches. Our part in this can be a lower meat intake than usual. We don’t all need to turn vegans overnight, but we can regulate the number of meat days a week. Additionally, reconsidering your meat-to-veggies ratio can help you achieve more longstanding fitness. Such an adjustment would benefit your gut health, immunity, and coronary arteries. You can also extract the most from your penny by making your meat purchase last longer. A quick google search for zero-waste cooking recipes will help you. Reducing your meat portions only comes up as a win for everyone concerned!
3. Shop smart:
Once your shopping list is ready, do basic research on stores/brands with the greenest practices. You don’t have to limit yourself to ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘eco-friendly’ labels because those are a dime a dozen these days. E-commerce platforms like Evakind and Only Ethikal use biodegradable tags and reusable packaging and go paper-free with invoices. Courier services like DHL use bicycles and electronic vehicles to transport packages. Those are the kind of wholesome green practices we should be seeking. In addition, you can buy locally and save shipping charges (and resources) as much as possible. Your pocket will thank you for that one later.
4. Swap’ n save:
Think about all the other areas in your life where you can shift to more responsibly sourced items. For example, avoid single-use plastics for your child’s birthday party and choose reusable serveware. You can also replace your plastic straws with metal ones, especially if you’re on a juice cleanse. Instruct your food delivery service to skip the cutlery and plastic cutlery with your order. Remember, any time you switch out a disposable item for a reusable one, you’re helping to save resources.
Need more help? The info-banks are abundant and easy to follow these days. Apps like Ailuna and Oroeco, among several others, help track your consumptive habits and offer personalised and convenient green alternatives.
Potential eco-solutions are all around us in small and easy doses. All it takes is a conscious mind and a willing attitude to undo some of our wreckage—one thoughtful step at a time.
How do you feel about sustainable living now? Are you ready to make greener choices? Because the planet sure is.