Many people these days want to live an eco-friendly life. A lot of them never do because they're afraid that embracing sustainability means giving up their current lifestyle. If you're one of them, you'll be glad to hear that being environmentally responsible doesn't mean a reduction in quality of life. Here are five simple ways that you can have the best of both worlds: a life that is both sustainable and full.
1. Get an Eco-Conscious Vehicle
According to the EPA, a full 29% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Be that as it may, our modern society relies on people getting places fast. Here is where technology is coming to the rescue. Electric cars are now affordable for the average consumer thanks to rapid progress in materials technology and battery design. These new technologies can be integrated with existing designs so that even something like a custom Defender can become a sustainable vehicle. If you're in the market for a new car, see what green options might be just around the corner.
2. Eat Healthier
Changing your diet for the better will help change the world for the better. Eating organic and local foods means fewer toxic chemicals and more nutrient density, which can only improve your well-being (and the planet's). Cutting down on meat can be a good idea too. According to Ecowatch, beef cattle alone account for 3.7% of US greenhouse gas emissions. You don't have to go full vegetarian, of course, just be mindful of your ecological footprint when you eat. Remember that everything that we do has a ripple effect. If every individual is healthier, diseases spread more slowly and health care costs go down.
3. Incorporate Green Design Into Your Home
No matter what your living situation is, there are simple changes you can make to your home that will boost your own efficiency while helping you live sustainably. Daylighting can be one of these; it just means placing your living and working spaces in sunlit areas to take advantage of natural lighting. This practice saves electricity and improves well-being. Buying sustainable household products is a good idea too. Biodegradable soaps and plastics are widely available and competitive in cost, so this is just one more way to detoxify.
4. Learn to Upcycle
Speaking of home life, how many repairable items did you throw away this year? A recent study highlights the shocking amount of domestic waste happening in industrialized countries. In 2017, Americans threw away 37.2 million tons of durable goods. These are things like tables and consumer electronics that could likely have been fixed or upcycled into something new. Take the time to learn how the specific items you typically use work and how to repair them when they break. Then go even further and think strategically about how something that's no longer usable in one way could, with a few modifications, be usable for something completely different. You'll be saving the planet and your wallet a lot of trouble.
5. Use Sustainable Energy
In 2019, the annual household average for electricity consumption in America was 10.649 kilowatt-hours. Everything that we associate with modern life, from information technology to lighting, requires energy. Building a better future for ourselves and the world depends upon changing how we get that power. Multiple options for carbon-neutral energy generation are available, with hydroelectric, wind, and solar being the most popular globally. Solar technology, in particular, is now competitive with oil in terms of cost and is more price-stable too. It's also far more versatile than oil since almost any home or business can buy solar panels and declare themselves independent of the electrical grid entirely.
The idea that we have to choose between a pleasant world and a sustainable one is a false choice. Given the amazing array of green technologies available to us, we might just discover that living in harmony with nature will lead to fuller lives than we could have possibly imagined.