“ I always knew that the environment is having a problem, and with all this buzz about the climate crisis, I knew that we humans must act. And I know that being aware of the environment is actually cool. I've seen people who are living very eco-friendly lifestyles. But, it looks like such a hassle and expensive, though”
Have these kinds of thoughts slither past your mind when considering living more sustainably? It may be because of the novelty , but sustainable and environmentally friendly living is not yet the norm in our society. And when you shop and see a different price tag for the eco-friendly product, you may end up saying that living with more care for the environment will cost a whole lot.
Sustainable living comes off as expensive, mostly because of the perception created by the media. You may see influential figures showing their sustainable lifestyle and the eco products that they are endorsing – and of course, it looks beautiful and makes you feel like you need to buy them.
On the other hand, it can also be expensive because they must be expensive. It is more costly to support a production that tries to minimize waste or pay their workforce ethically, than to buy from a business that focuses mainly on creating more and more profit.
But should that halt us from caring for the environment? Well, we may think sustainable living means that we need to replace all of our stuff, but we can also start from what we already have, or even easier – start from our mind.
Changing a lifestyle requires a strong intrinsic motivation for it to become sustainable. We must gather enough information about climate change and other environmental crises for us to understand the causes, and how we can contribute to minimize these causes. After having the right mindset, we can proceed to do these steps for a better living :
Step 1 : Knowing where we stand
When we are talking about climate change, the main factors are greenhouse gasses (GHG) emissions.Therefore, the quick way to know how we are contributing to climate change is by calculating our direct / indirect GHG emission , or in other words, our carbon footprint. A carbon footprint (measured in carbon dioxide equivalent) accounts for : carbon dioxide,methane ,nitrous oxide , hydrofluorocarbons , perfluorocarbons ,sulphur hexafluoride.
Besides calculating your footprint, you can also create an audit of your daily activities for a week. Start to list every daily activity shortly in your note, and then list all possible waste or GHG emissions produced.
Step 2 : Live Less to do more
You can look out each of your activity audit items, and see if you can reduce your emissions. Home utility / energy use is a great place to start, such as water, electricity, fuel, or other possible sources. You could start to take shorter showers, using cold water, wash dishes with your hands, turn off every water tap whenever it is not needed. The same is true for electricity and fuel – you can do less of the activity that generates carbon emissions. In turn, you may save more money by using these energy sources.
You can also consume less wasteful products, such as plastic or paper. You can bring your own shopping bag when you go to the supermarket, use cloth-mask , eat less meat, use metal straws, or opt for second-hand products.
Step 3 : Offset your waste
If you have any GHG-emitting activities left that you can’t reduce, you can compensate by participating in activities that try to reduce carbon emission, such as using public transportation, recycling necessary waste, or donating to carbon offsetting project. The most well-known carbon offsetting project is planting trees, where you could support reforestation efforts, or start planting trees in your house!
Another way to offset this is to switch to a more eco-friendly brand / manufacturer when you buy your products. Of course, first you need to look deeper into the places where you usually buy your stuff - in which case you can use this personal checklist to see if a brand is ethical and sustainable by Maccaila Britton.
Speaking of, if you are interested in vegan leather manufacturers (made from mushrooms!) that give a solution to the negative impact of animal leather for the environment, you can check MYCL out!