An Introduction to Sustainable Living
Sustainable living is a lifestyle philosophy that aims to reduce our environmental impact through prioritizing the use of natural and renewable sources. This eco-friendly way of life focuses heavily on reducing our carbon footprint, curbing unnecessary waste, and making positive changes that counteract climate change and other harmful environmental concerns. The goal is to live a life that does not deplete our future generations’ natural resources, because sadly enough, that is undoubtedly the direction we are heading.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that 75% of the Earth’s surface has been altered by humans and that since 1990, an estimated 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through deforestation globally. Environmentalist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben, says that the ocean is facing “utterly, profoundly destabilizing” threats. The Earth is warming, ice sheets and glaciers are shrinking, and wildlife populations are being decimated. While doing research for the NY Times article “The Science of Climate Change,” Julia Rosen writes that more than 90 percent of scientists who study Earth’s climate agree that the planet is warming and that humans are the primary cause. Research upon research shows that extracting and burning fossil fuels, engaging (and abusing) in extensive agricultural practices, and a million other humankind-related activities are all indisputable catalysts for this degradation. Simply put, human beings can no longer afford to engage in a lifestyle that is so wildly unsustainable.
While the major players in all this are definitely corporations and big business, we can’t ignore the role that we, too, as individuals, have in the environmental decline. Becoming aware and accountable will be instrumental as we move forward into the future.
The first step in creating a sustainable life is simply caring. We need to care about the planet we live on and the legacy we are leaving. Do we really want to be the generation that could have done something but didn’t? The era that was responsible for allowing our planet’s demise? It’s too much to imagine. We need to develop values that will act from a place of purpose and protection. It will make adopting the necessary changes intrinsic instead of merely fleeting inconveniences.
The best way to do this is by doing the research. Cultivate environmental understanding and stay informed. Thankfully, there are so many ways to gain knowledge about the issues at hand. Below, I’ve highlighted some of my favorite resources to aid you on your journey into eco-awareness.
As a starting point, I recommend you use Global Footprint Network’s really cool Ecological Footprint Calculator to find out your impact on the planet. This can be heavy but is genuinely eye-opening. Then, check out these amazing organizations and subscribe to their highly informative newsletters.
Only One is an incredible platform for environmental storytelling, solutions, and community actions that protect and advocate for a more just and equitable planet. They offer free informational series and documentaries, highlight movements you can join, petitions you can sign, and has a weekly newsletter called The Wave.
Kiss the Ground
Kiss the Ground is a fantastic organization committed to awakening people to the possibilities of regeneration. They offer a ton of free resources, including information on soil health and purchasing guides, in addition to free educational courses in everything from organic farming and sustainable food production to climate resilience. Not to mention they have both a book and documentary out of the same name, a dope podcast, and, of course, a weekly newsletter you definitely want to sign up for.
One Tree Planted
One Tree Planted is a non-profit focused on Global Reforestation. Their website offers vital information on the importance of trees, ways to get involved, and free resources for teachers and students. Their beautiful and illuminating Instagram is definitely worth a follow, and their newsletter focuses on promoting positive environmental news.
Craving more? Sign up here for an upcoming Virtual Climate Summit!
I believe that together we can truly make a difference. By staying informed and simply caring, the role you play will automatically become that of an ally for the Earth and, ultimately, a better ancestor for all the generations to come.