Regardless of where you live, how you live, or how much you have, you can always be modifying your lifestyle to be more sustainable.
2017 is the year I want to focus on my own sustainability as well as helping others and bringing awareness. This should be a hot topic this year! As climate change continues to be the most important issue of our lifetime, more and more people will hopefully realize that laziness isn’t a valid excuse for being wasteful. There is no excuse.
I want others to realize that little changes create a ripple effect and some of them can be so simple. Change should be celebrated!
I have compiled a list of 1o things that YOU can do to have a more sustainable year and make it an easier transition to a sustainable life.
1.Stop receiving pesky junk mail
I couldn’t tell you one time that I actually used junk mail for something, but it took me up until this year to finally find a way to stop receiving it in my mailbox. I used DMAchoice to cancel all my ‘hidden’ subscriptions. If you still want all the awesome coupons (like me) then you can easily download a coupon app or simply visit the website of the place you’re going for all those specials.
If you already have all this junk mail piled up under you coffee table, why not make use of it instead of throwing it away? Use it for unique wrapping paper, shed it for some free animal bedding, or some crafty paper-mache projects down the line.
2. Ditch the plastic water bottles
Does it ‘eeerrrrkkkkk’ anyone else do see all those dinky plastic bottles everywhere? This one is quite simple, but still needs to be said.
Not only will you save money by buying a nice glass or steel water bottle but you’re gonna decrease your waste by A LOT.
If you’re looking for the best of the best of water bottles then I recommend Swell or Klean Kanteen. They’re both a little pricey but the quality is well worth it.
3. Start composting your food scraps
I learned how to do composting back in high school. We had an amazing farming class that I’m still very thankful for. Before moving out to California 6 years ago I didn’t even know what a compost was but now I swear by it!
I’ve been doing some research recently and have found some incredible alternatives for apartment/small space living for a compost. I live in a one bedroom apartment with a small deck so having a full size compost isn’t possible for me at this moment.
Luckily, I found an inside worm compost on Amazon! I am currently saving up for it and will hopefully have it just in time for spring gardening.
4. Grow your own food
This is my favorite on the list because growing your own food and eating it is totally badass.
In my apartment I grow herbs on the deck in the summer and on my window sill for fall and spring. If I had a real yard, I would put in a big garden filled with squash, kale, and carrots! Mhmmm. Nothing beats walking in your backyard and grabbing some fresh kale to throw into your morning smoothies.
5. Create & set-up a rain catch system
This one might seem a little harder to achieve however, I have managed to collect almost 10 gallons of rain in a plain old bucket. But seriously, the other day I just stuck an old laundry bin on our porch and it filled up within the day! I’ve been using that water source for the flowers and herbs were growing inside 🙂
Your rain catch doesn’t have to be something fancy. It just needs to do the job.
For homeowners, it would be fantastic to invest in a rain catch system that can store water in a nearby septic tank. You would be surprised by how much water you’re missing out on!
6. Contact your representatives
Yes, even this one is sustainable. If we want real change, we’re going to have to make our voice heard because how can we complain about the result when we never tried? This is one of my biggest challenges on the whole list because up until this past year I almost knew nothing about the political process. Now that I’m greatly unsatisfied with the outcomes, I have found the time to educate myself properly.
I recommend looking into Citizen’s Climate Lobby and joining a local chapter. They focus on the political side of climate change and are actively trying to enact real change in the ballots.
7. Think before you shop (& end fast fashion)
I know it’s SO easy to run to the mall when you need an outfit for a party, but the cheap clothes come with big costs. Think about how that big retailer got that price down so low, or who made that dress and shirt and what country they’re from.
I know learning about where most of our clothes come from isn’t fun, but it’s the truth and it needs to be addressed.
If you do not know much about fast fashion I HIGHLY recommend watching The True Cost, you can watch it on Netflix or Amazon prime.
8. No more plastic! No more plastic!
I know its nearly impossible to go plastic-free in the U.S. but you can cut down your plastic waste by half, by making conscious decisions. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my reusable bags at the grocery store. But instead of saying oh well next time, I will force myself to carry my groceries out by hand to my car. Now if you’re doing your monthly shopping trip, just put the food in your cart and put it directly in your car. This way you’re not using anymore pesky plastic bags then you have to!
I have a sticky note on my door to remind myself to grab my reusable bags and highly recommend doing that because it has saved me a of couple times.
I actually have saved all the plastic bags I have accumulated from forgetting my reusable bags. I’m going to be doing a post about that soon. 😉
9. Eat less meat
I of all people absolutely love meat- elk, beef, lamb, you name it and I probably love it. Up until this year I wasn’t fully aware of the consequences that came with meat, specifically beef.
People give vegans too much crap. They are making conscious decisions and that doesn’t give anyone the right to deem them as hippies. I honestly have thought of going vegan, but it would be difficult for my blood type. Who’s perfect? However, I will decrease my meat consumption by at least half. Even that decisions alone will save hundreds, if not thousands of animals. Not only that, but I will be reducing my carbon footprint as well because of the energy needed to transport meat.
10. Continue to educate yourself & others 🙂
You may ask how this one is sustainable, but by spreading information to family and friends will make a difference even if it only changes one person’s mind. If I can change someone’s opinion or make someone think twice about something then this blog has been successful.
Community is a place that is greatly undervalued. When we come together with a similar idea, that’s how we can make BIG change.