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24 Tips for a Sustainable Lifestyle

Unsplash | Megan Hodges

We’ve been given twelve years to cap global temperature increases at 1.5°C. We’ve been told that failure to do so means increased frequency and severity of natural disasters and food shortages. Hundreds of millions of people will be displaced and driven deeper into poverty.

And while many of us understand that the greatest polluters are corporations, and so mass-scale change requires policy revisions, we as people who care for the planet are rightfully wondering what else we can do to help.

We already know that taking care of Mother Earth means taking care of ourselves and our futures. Maybe we opt for organics, use transit, compost, or simply recycle. Now? Climate scientists agree it is not enough. We need to come together and put our whole hearts into this.

That’s why we created this list of helpful tips. While not every suggestion will be feasible for your situation, there is something on this list for every household. Just start where you are and keep progressing toward a greener future.

Always remember that there is no planet B.

  1. Make some noise. Contact your local government, talk to your neighbours, start petitions, and keep raising your concerns to the authorities responsible for your local environmental laws.

  2. Keep reusables like mugs, bottles, straws, bags, and food wrap in your car or purse. You’ll be less tempted to purchase disposable items.

  3. Optimize energy usage at home by insulating walls, windows, and door frames.

  4. Stick to showers over baths. A 10-minute shower uses, on average, half the amount of water as a bath.

  5. Install a rainwater collector outside. Use this water to nourish your garden or lawn.

  6. Transform your lawn into a fresh food organic garden. If you don’t have a lawn, grow herbs in a windowsill or potted plants on a balcony.

  7. Use eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own with simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon oil.

  8. Choose glass and cardboard packaging over plastic and styrofoam.

  9. Go meatless more than Mondays.

  10. Ditch your blow dryer.

  11. When you can, repair instead of replace. Check thrift shops before buying anything new.

  12. Upgrade to energy-efficient lights and appliances.

  13. Recycle everything you can, even organics and electronics.

  14. Unplug idle appliances and electronics, including chargers.

  15. Plant trees and native flora species to help feed hungry pollinators.
  16. Host clothing swaps. This is especially useful if you have a group of friends with young children.

  17. Choose organic foods when possible. If it’s not possible, consider what you can grow and care for. Are chickens an option? Are there local farms you can connect with?

  18. Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth. Teach your children about water conservation.

  19. Utilize the sun’s power to dry clothes and linens. Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can put a drying rack on your balcony and save energy and money at once.

  20. When you can, leave the car at home. Taking alternative means of transportation could reduce your ecological footprint by 20 percent.

  21. Say no to short airplane rides. Take the train or bus instead.  

  22. Understand that less is more. Donate or upcycle things that no longer serve you. Be critical of what you bring into your life.

  23. Buy whole meats and utilize every part of animal.

  24. Make your environment your entertainment. This weekend, skip the movies and the mall and take your loved ones outside to play in the beauty of nature. Spending time outdoors helps foster appreciation for our planet. This impacts every decision we make.