As a city girl I realized early on that my vision for my own sustainable lifestyle would be somewhat limited in terms of the resources I have available.
Urban life is focused around convenience, commuting and fast-paced.. well, everything. And that puts quite a cap on your options for sustainable living solutions.
But I’ve managed to find a few sustainable practices that I’ve implemented in my lifestyle and I’ve created my own version of sustainable living in the city.
If that’s something you’d like to explore, I’ve listed some sustainable lifestyle practices below that you will easily be able to implement in your city life.
Without further ado, here they are:
1. Being a conscious consumer
As consumers we can’t control much but the purchases we make. Being a conscious consumer means to support businesses with ethical practices.
Businesses that pay fairly throughout their production process, who use natural resources responsibly, have a minimal impact on the environment and are based locally to boost their own economy.
Through our purchases, we support these businesses to grow and lead the way forward towards a market where ethical practices are normal. That’s the goal for this practice in the long term.
2. Eating sustainably
There are a few ways to eat sustainably, depending on what’s available to you. Each with their own benefits that address different areas of our agricultural demise.
The vegan option
It’s the most accessible and, with a bit of planning, it’s pretty easy to maintain. You don’t even need all the fancy substitutes to make a success out of it.
If global warming and climate change is a big cause for concern for you, avoiding the animal agriculture industry makes a great difference in reducing those negative impacts.
And it reduces your own carbon footprint by a long way.
Organic and fair trade foods
These foods are produced without using pesticides, chemical fertilizers or any other artificial substances which help reduce the pollution of our soil and water.
The farmers and other employees throughout the supply chain of these foods are also compensated fairly for their labour.
With this option, you can reduce the amount of carbon emitted to distribute these foods and support the local economy.
Bear in mind that the carbon emissions of meat are greater than the carbon emissions of transport so you would need to reduce your meat intake significantly to make this work for you.
Supporting regenerative farms helps increase biodiversity, restores topsoil, improves the water cycle and enhances ecosystems.
Because it’s still a controversial topic, especially in American agriculture, these foods are hard to come by. But it’s worth finding out if it’s available in your area.
In cities, this type of access to fresh foods is becoming increasingly popular.
Community gardens improve the air and soil quality in the area, reduces urban waste through composting, improves water infiltration and positively impacts the urban micro-climate.
If there isn’t a community garden in your area yet, why not consider starting one yourself if you have a little extra space. If you live in a building with a rooftop it could be a great place for a garden.
3. Using sustainable beauty products
The beauty industry is full of harmful chemicals and the number one culprit of single-use plastic pollution.
Sustainable beauty products contain ingredients that are safe, natural, organic and have a minimal negative impact on the environment. They are ethically produced and come in recyclable/reusable packaging.
They are also better for your health and your skin as the ingredients contain healing properties.
Because sustainable beauty is becoming increasingly popular, it’s becoming more widely available. Making it easier to switch and incorporate these products into your sustainable lifestyle.
4. Consuming energy efficiently
We’ve come to rely heavily on energy, especially in the city. And our energy consumption is the most well-known cause of global warming and climate change.
There are a few ways for us to consume our energy more efficiently.
Switching it off
You know, the generic stuff. Turn off your lights, plug out your appliances, put away what you’re not using. It might not make that much of a difference, but it’s better than to waste energy unnecessarily.
Switching it out
Your lights and appliances can waste a lot of energy just by not being designed efficiently.
Changing your lights to LED and CFL and your old appliances to energy-efficient ones can quickly reduce your consumption and ease up on your bank account.
Switching to renewables
Depending on where you are in the world, you can ask your utility company to place you on 100% renewable energy. And if you own your home, you can opt to install solar panels.
That way you not only reduce your own carbon footprint, you become a changemaker setting the demand for renewable energy. How’s that for minimal effort.
5. Practising sustainable fashion
It’s becoming easier to access sustainable brands as they gain popularity. If you have access to them and you have the means to wear sustainable fashion, it’s a great way to reduce pollution and improve some lives.
If not, you can keep your wardrobe fresh through other means:
We could probably cover the Earth’s surface twice with all the wearable clothes still in existence.
So, getting yours secondhand keeps them in circulation, uses no more resources and alleviates the pollution caused by the fashion industry.
If you’re somebody who doesn’t like wearing the same outfits a lot, getting fresh looks from other people or renting is a great way to help the planet and save you some money.
The most sustainable item is the one we never buy. Just by buying less and having a flexible wardrobe you’re making a big impact in carbon emissions, pollution and resource use.
The most sustainable number of garments a year is only 3 if you want to be thorough.
But if you find yourself needing to buy more, go for garments that are more neutral and basic so they fit in with the rest of your wardrobe easily.
6. Reducing waste
I could list a whole bunch of stuff here. Refuse single-use plastics, buy in bulk, get reusables, etc. There’s a lot you can do.
But not all options work for everyone. So the crux of it is just take stock of how much you throw away and see where you can reduce the most.
Look out for zero waste stores in your area, use a composting service if one is available, get creative with it. If there is a better option, make use of it.
Waste is primarily created by producers rather than consumers. So, if you want to make a real difference as a consumer you would have to take part in changing the system, which I’ll still talk about later in this post.
7. Avoiding toxins
In almost every mainstream product exists toxic chemicals that pollute our waterways and soils. By switching to natural and clean products, you’re helping the planet and your own health.
You can make your own toxin-free products or you can buy from natural and clean stores, depending on what’s available in your area.
Cleaning products and beauty products are especially easy to find. Look out for biodegradable products as a bonus.
8. Minimalism/ Maximalism
Put down the trash bags, you don’t have to get rid of all your stuff. Allow me to explain.
I like to combine the practices of minimalism and maximalism. Getting by with less and taking pleasure in what I do have.
It means that I don’t make mindless purchases, to the best of my ability. But when I do buy something I buy with quality and usability in mind. You could say that I enjoy the finer things, but with function.
Another aspect of this combined practice is to enjoy moments and experiences rather than the act of consumption.
So, in practical terms, you’d learn to find more pleasure in spending time in nature or with the people in your life and less pleasure in buying things for the sake of buying.
But it also includes appreciating the quality, function and craft of the objects you do possess.
That’s how I like to see it, but I’ll leave you to have fun with this concept.
9. Investing in sustainable resources
Where you put your money matters. Money makes the world go round, after all.
Choose a bank in your country that invests in renewable energy and supports social and environmental initiatives.
It’s the most effective way to make a difference, support sustainable initiatives and vote for the world you want to live in.
If you have investments or you want to start investing, consider putting your investments into sustainable companies or sustainable group portfolios. I hear the returns are way better too.
I don’t mean being a social media influencer, but that could work too.
You’re in a position to influence your family and friends just by setting your example. You can subtly introduce the people around you to these concepts and carry on the information.
If you work for a company, you can make small suggestions for sustainable change and do research for your company if you’re in a decision-making position.
It’s the small embers that cause the wildfires. Let yours spread.
Here you can go full-blown activist, arrange protests and collaborate with Greenpeace if that’s your vibe. But if, like me, you’re not that kind of person there’s still a lot you can do.
Look out for petitions around your area and on the internet that you can sign to raise awareness or support a cause. It might not seem like it’s doing much but it has a cumulative effect.
Vote for politicians who share your values and have a genuine interest in the environmental crisis. This is an important task because in order to beat the crisis we need real systems change. Divine intervention, if you ask me.
And there you have it, easy and practical sustainable living solutions for the city.
Try them all or stick to a few, but each and every change you make adds up to a big difference in the end.
And if you want to learn more about successfully living a sustainable lifestyle your own way, I have just the resource for you. (Click the link)
Let me know which ones you were already doing, which ones you decided to try and your suggestions for anything I missed.
Cheers for now,
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