What exactly is sustainability? The EPA defines it for us:
“Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.” -www.epa.gov
Essentially, living with nature so that you both benefit indefinitely. Who wouldn’t want that?
Ideally, I would live on a huge plot of land with enough room for a nice little house, a nice big studio, a greenhouse for my succulents and for winter growing, and a planted vegetable garden and flower garden, large enough to entirely feed myself and my family, and maybe have some left over that I could sell. I would divide my time between making my pottery and other art, and tending to my land. But all of that is many years away. For now, still living at home and making just enough money to break even each month, I live a sustainable lifestyle in whatever ways that I can. These include:
- making my own all natural counter cleaner
- composting or using the garbage disposal whenever possible
- taking my own reusable bags to ALL stores (even when the cashiers give me weird looks)
- growing my own food in a garden during the summer
- buying local whenever possible
- using rags instead of paper towels 99% of the time
- recycling or repurposing everything
- thrifting obsessively instead of buying new
- line drying clothes
I think I’m doing pretty well so far! I also have a lot of plans in the making that I haven’t gotten around to executing yet:
- making cloth napkins
- continuing my arsenal of DIY cleaners until I have nothing store bought left!
- working to get a better garden planned
- buying in bulk with as little packaging as possible
- buying local and organic food only
These projects haven’t happened yet for one reason or another, however most of them are because I just can’t afford it at the moment. Living sustainably, while much more cost effective in the long run, can be expensive to get started unfortunately. Most of my plans, such as the DIY cleaners and cloth napkins, will come into effect as soon as my current store-bought supply of those things runs out.
Last but not least, I need to make it clear that I’m nowhere close to perfect on my eco-consciousness. There are things that I do out of convenience and laziness that I know are bad, but I just keep doing them anyway…such as…
- taking long, hot showers
- leaving appliances plugged in or running (such as a fan in the bedroom… running almost 24/7)
- driving to places nearby that I could walk to, but I’m feeling lazy
- starting my car in the morning so that it warms up before I have to get in
- occasionally leaving lights on when I go out
Those hot showers will be the hardest thing for me to ever give up. I’m sure I’m forgetting tons of things in all of these categories. But the point of living sustainably isn’t that you’re perfect at it…its that you’re trying your best. And I really really am! Every week I read about or think of something new that I can change to live more consciously. And every time I make a change I’m so happy and proud of the results! What small change can you make to live more sustainably?