Sustainable living may seem simple to those raised in the 50s and 60s.
There were few choices in packaged foods, no microwaves or fast food joints, and little technology.
Imagine, though if you were born in the 80s and 90s when choices were becoming abundant and quality of time replaced quantity of time.
It was exciting to see all the conveniences of life grow more and more each day.
However, 2021 has brought a new reality to light.
One of wastefulness, little consideration for our planet, and not a clue as to how to fix the problem.
Regardless of when you were born, the world has been transforming at a terrifying rate since electricity became a part of residential lives around 1925.
Although it was first discovered in 1752 and placed into operation in 1882, people were afraid of what this new phenomenon would mean.
Now it seems impossible to ever go back to the days without it. With each new advancement in bettering society, it seems a little more humanity is sacrificed.
Neighbors helping neighbors, sharing knowledge without expecting payment, or giving generously of our time are no longer seen.
How do you rewind the clock to a point where we respected the earth and everything that it had to offer? It will not take place overnight, but 2021 can be the starting point for those that are serious enough to make a change.
- Here are 8 ways that you can make this year the beginning of your new sustainable living future.
- 1. Get Involved
- 2. Educate Yourself
- 3. Why We Need to Stop Fighting the Use of Petrochemicals.
- 4. Taking Water for Granted
- 5. Can anyone Garden?
- 6. Material Items Can have more than One Purpose
- 7. Learn about E-Waste
- 8. Do More to Stay Fit
Here are 8 ways that you can make this year the beginning of your new sustainable living future.
Look at it as an exciting adventure where you are in charge of bettering society and nature.
1. Get Involved
It can feel lonely when you have a goal of making the world a better place to live.
Your friends say it is too hard or a waste of time.
Find a group that shares your passion and wants to move forward with positive ideas.
For example, volunteer for National Cleanup Day, Keep America Beautiful, and Earth Day Networks that takes place in September 2021.
This is a worldwide event to clean up green spaces, urban landscapes, and waterways in your area.
You will meet new friends, brainstorm ideas, and feel great at the end of the project.
2. Educate Yourself
No one wants to appear to be uneducated when it comes to mundane matters like cooking, cleaning, or planting a garden.
However, without proper training, it is not going to happen.
The days of Home Economics, shop, and 4-H are gone with few replacements.
Kids were once taught the steps and the value of being self-sustainable.
Do not be afraid to pick up a book that explains how a professional housekeeper develops a routine, or how the basics of food, measurements, and proper cooking can deliver the best nourishment.
There is nothing degrading about living healthier and becoming a pro to save time and money of authors for the best help.
3. Why We Need to Stop Fighting the Use of Petrochemicals.
65% of a barrel of oil goes toward gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
The remaining 35% includes propane and petrochemical feedstock in everyday products. Some of these include:
- Dishwashing soap
- Heart valves
- Solar panels
- Food preservatives.
You can see how wide the use of petrochemicals is and trying to stop the flow of oil across our nation is unreasonable.
It is productive to have a passion of recycling and reusing items that harm the environment, but halting our way of life can cause more harm than good.
Start small with our current problems instead of trying to take on a centuries-old way of life.
4. Taking Water for Granted
If you lived in Somalia, you would understand the importance of clean water. 60% of the population has no source of fresh drinking water.
The residents walk miles to retrieve buckets of contaminated river water for bathing and cooking.
Most Americans would not know what to do if our power grids silent and the ability to pump water or treat it were gone.
People understand too little about the importance of water. We should all know the facts of keeping water safe.
— FEMA recommends storing tap water in air-tight glass or thick plastic containers for up to 6-months.
— The CDC suggests boiling water for at least one minute for water that is questionable. Boiling for 15 minutes will remove any chlorine.
— Rainwater is perfectly safe to use in cooking and bathing. Because there may be dust and dirt from the atmosphere, strain through a coffee filter first. Rainwater is an excellent source for watering outdoor plants because it is so pure.
No one can go without water for over 3 days, so it is imperative to have a backup plan on a water source.
Always have a few gallons of water stored in a cool place in case of emergency.
Invest in a water pitcher filter that can be used if the electricity goes out.
5. Can anyone Garden?
We’ve all seen people that just seem to have a green thumb.
They throw the seeds in the ground and up pop the crops.
This doesn’t work for everyone though.
I have bought plants halfway grown, placed them gently in the ground, and they die within a week.
There is no secret, but learning about soil, types of vegetables to grow in your climate, and watching for disease can help the process.
Try growing one plant in a pot first.
Make sure it is a hearty, easy-to-grow species and learn from mistakes.
Here are a few plants that do well for beginners.
- Onions and garlic
Gardening may not be your thing, but the more you try, the better you will get.
How marvelous to be able to can and freeze your own vitamin-rich food without wondering if it is healthy.
If you can’t get the swing of it, find a good roadside fruit and vegetable stand where everything has been grown locally.
6. Material Items Can have more than One Purpose
Before you toss out that stained set of sheets, ask yourself if they could serve another purpose.
Even if you are not handy with a sewing machine, these ideas will make you think twice about their purpose.
— Put with paint supplies as a drop cloth.
— Make a drawstring bag for your plastic bags
— Cut in squares and use as dusting cloths on your fine furniture.
Here are some other unique ways to get the most out of the old items that you never would have dreamed of:
- Cut up old flip-flops to make small furniture feet protectors.
- Never throw out a glass container with an airtight lid. Small items can be seen in a second through clear glass.
- Cereal bags are nothing more than uncoated parchment bags. Use for freezing hamburger patties or storing snacks for lunch.
- 2-liter plastic bottles, cut in half, make great planters for the beginning gardener.
- Use cheap plastic bags as shipping fillers instead of buying bubble wrap or more
- Never throw away an old book. Books offer knowledge and bookstores are always in need of new material.
- Birds appreciate stale bread much more than we do. Tear in pieces and sprinkle on the lawn.
- Use cheap plastic bags as packaging instead of buying bubble wrap or more plastic packing supplies.
7. Learn about E-Waste
E-waste is the trash that is generated from electronic devices and equipment.
Less than 20% of all electronics are recycled at the end of their life, leaving 80% to be buried in the ground.
Apple reported that in 2015, their company was able to recover $40 million worth of gold from recycled iPhones, Macs, and iPads.
Other reclaimable materials include:
If there were ever a reason to consider making a profit off of sustainable living, e-waste would be it.
To think that these metals and fossil fuels could be turned into profit is insane.
However, set up your contacts, recycle locations and make some money instead of throwing it away.
Entrepreneurship and saving the planet can work together very well.
8. Do More to Stay Fit
Gas guzzling SUVs do not appear to be going away anytime soon.
If you love your SUV, try getting a backup for short trips to the store or consider carpooling to work.
Riding a bike or a mini bike are also options for keeping fumes from spreading through the atmosphere.
Take the bus whenever possible or simply go back to walking.
Staying active instead of being immobile will make you feel more productive and will keep you in great shape to tackle your sustainable living goals.
If you do not believe that sustainable living in 2021 is not possible, try a few of these suggestions.
Not every sustainable living idea will be appealing to you, but by selecting just one, you can accomplish the goal of living a greener life.