The climate is changing, and we are witnesses to it. Humanity should stop debating whether it’s happening and start asking what we can do to slow it. Making lifestyle changes to live a more sustainable existence is a crucial first step. This not only helps reduce the negative impact we’re having on the environment, but may also improve our health.
It’s time to consider how we can work together to reverse the damage to the earth so future generations inherit a healthy, inhabitable planet. There are plenty of ways to live more sustainably, but let’s focus on three changes people of all ages can make.
Protecting Limited Resources
Water may be our most valuable (yet dwindling) resource. Its future availability is uncertain due to many factors, including a growing population, contamination, and how climate change may affect global rainfall patterns. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025.
Minimizing our use of water around the home is a practical first step, followed by encouraging businesses and corporations to do the same. Water-saving repairs and improvements you can make in and around your home include:
- Replacing lawns and water-heavy landscaping with xeriscaping and drought-tolerant plants
- Fixing all faucet and toilet leaks
- Adding faucet water flow reducers
- Upgrading to high-efficiency washing machines and dishwashers
- Taking shorter showers
Besides conserving water, preventing contamination is essential. Reduce the use of plastic items like drinking straws and bags, which don’t break down and often end up in our oceans. And never dispose of chemicals or motor oils into storm drains, which will lead to the contamination of our clean water supply
Reducing Our Fossil Fuel Use
Humans are responsible for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the largest contributing factor is the burning of fossil fuels to generate heat, electricity, and to run our vehicles. Reducing our reliance on gasoline-powered transportation can have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the air quality of our cities and towns.
Walking or riding a bike are two excellent sustainable alternatives to fossil-fuel-based transportation. Make small lifestyle changes like choosing to only walk or ride your bike on weekends, take public transportation to work, or carpool more often. If you exercise for your commute, use a health app to track your activity. Not only are you tracking your health data, but you are also tracking your contribution to sustainable travel. Cutting down on how often we get behind the wheel can lessen our carbon footprint.
Improving Our Health
Living more sustainably can be essential for our wellbeing. Our health is directly affected by the amount of physical activity we engage in. The act of slowing down, connecting with nature, and going for a bike ride or walk relieves stress and puts us more in tune with our surroundings to live more mindfully.
Conserving and protecting our water sources also has a direct effect on our health — contaminated water causes illness or death due to pathogens, bacteria, or chemicals in our water supply.
As our health improves and we make conscious choices on what we choose to eat, we positively impact the environment. It’s all an interconnected cycle. Our bodies crave healthier, energy-providing food choices such as a higher ratio of plants in our diet, which leads to fewer emissions than animal-based food and agriculture.
Sustainable Living Aids the Environment and Our Wellbeing
As we make lifestyle changes that benefit the environment, we also improve our personal quality of life. We are connected to the earth — choosing to live more sustainably for the sake of the world ecosystem also improves our body’s ecosystem.