Lifestyle is the biggest underlying contributor to our environmental impact. The things we buy, the products we use, the way we travel, are all influenced greatly by our lifestyle. Our lifestyle is the root of all our green (or not green) actions in some way or another. How we think, what we think about, how we spend our free time, our daily and weekly habits, what we decide to bring into our lives — this is our lifestyle.
I’ve come up with a top ten list of lifestyle factors that I believe have the biggest impact on whether or not we are living sustainable lives. Is your lifestyle sustainable?
We often write about great products that can green your home (see “5 Products to Green in Your Everyday Life”, “Five Greenish Products You’ve Seen on TV” and “Five More Greenish Products You’ve Seen on TV”), ways to cut home energy consumption (see “10 Ways to Cut Home Energy Consumption”), and other such thing-related green topics. This top ten list delves into the more fundamental aspects of our lives — why do we buy what we buy, why do we do what we do, why do we go where we go?
These tips should help to transform your life from a green life to a super-green life, or from a not-so-green life (maybe a yellow life), to a green one!
#10: Educate Yourself
Thought you got your degree from a university, or from primary school? You did, but things are constantly changing. The world is constantly in motion and things are constantly being updated. How can you make proper actions and decisions if you don’t stay informed? Learning is a lifelong process, especially since what we learned in the past isn’t always right (the world is flat) and since things are always changing (habitats disappearing, weather changing, tomatoes being made from fish cells, and so on). Stay informed by educating yourself a little everyday, or every week if everyday is too difficult for you. Great websites to stay on top of all green issues include: Sustainablog (for all things green, especially new products and lifestyle); EcoWorldy (for world environmental news); CleanTechnica (for technical news and information); Red, Green & Blue (for political news), Eat.Drink.Better. (for food news), EcoLocalizer (for local green news), Planetsave (for activist and environmental news), and others from Green Options Media.
#9: Spend Some Time With Yourself
We all need some time to reflect on our actions, our lives, our beliefs, and the direction we are going in if we are going to live sustainable lives. We need this time, whether it is in transit, while we are doing other things, or while we are taking a short break from work. The best way to do this, though, is to give a little time to yourself everyday (or at least once a week) — to sit back, relax, let your thoughts settle, and take a clear look at things important to you. Take some time to sit with yourself everyday.
#8: Don’t Rush
Most of us these days seem to rush around from one place or one activity to another all day long. Rushing may not be pleasant, but it also has many negative effects for sustainable actions. When we rush, we are very impulsive, we buy things and do things we don’t need to buy or do. When we rush, we grab a quick snack wrapped in a piece of plastic, and then another quick snack in a plastic wrapper, and then another, instead of eating whole foods. When we rush, we forget to do various things — turn off the lights, shut off the computer, unplug appliances that aren’t in use, and so on. When we rush, drive for short trips instead of taking our time and going by bicycle or foot.
#7: Read a Book
Reading a book is a way to entertain ourselves. It is also a way to educate and culture ourselves. It also helps most people to relax — hence, the reason why people fall asleep reading. Reading a book is also a green activity. Instead of going to the cinema (who knows how much energy cinemas use), instead of driving to a restaurant or club, instead of going shopping for more things you don’t need, you can sit down and read a book and you achieve many green goals!
This is somewhat of a lifestyle tip, I guess. It is a habit that must be created. When you are not using something electronic, turn it off and unplug it. This saves tons of energy. It is a simple habit that can go a long way.
I will publish the next five (Top 5) sustainable lifestyle tips in a day or two. Stay in touch.
For more on Green lifestyle, read “Green Is In but What is Green?: ‘Green’ Lifestyles and Green Living”
Image credit 1: Ed Yourdon via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image credit 2: Dustin Diaz via flickr under a Creative Commons license