By: Shannon Hui
Graphic: Juliana Velez
Imagine this: you are now a parent, god-parent, aunt, or uncle and there’s a small child in front of you that spills orange juice all over the counter. Instinctively, you reach for the paper towels paired with dish soap and water or Clorox wipes to clean it up. Both of these options are easy choices to make because they clean up the spill and eliminate the stickiness, but what about the harmful chemical factor?
Our modern day world consists of always choosing the easiest option that grants instant gratification. It’s an easy decision to make because it doesn’t require much thought, if any, at all. But, what about the small child in that situation? Will we continue to surround it with fumes that are toxic to its health and environment? Will we demonstrate that it’s okay to lead a life that doesn’t require thought for others and the world we live in? Is that the kind of leadership we want to pass on to our future generations?
According to Wikipedia, sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society’s use of earth’s natural resources and personal resources. It’s the practice of reducing carbon footprints by reducing energy consumption and waste creation.
Here’s a challenge for you: Commit to just ONE of these options for the next two weeks.
Questions to think about: How does being more mindful make you feel? Do you enjoy contributing to your community? In what ways have you and will you personally impact the world positively in the past, present, and future?
It’s time to start being more mindful. Here are three easy and cost-efficient ways you can start incorporating sustainable living into your everyday lifestyle.
DIY your cleaners- Our entire ecosystem is affected by the toxic chemicals we use on a daily basis. There are plenty of household items that are far more eco-friendly, cost-effective, and safe for humans that are better options. Vinegar and lemon make for very effective disinfectants and baking soda makes scrubbing easy. If you’re not interested in making your own cleaning products, feel free to purchase from brands such as seventh generation and method that are natural and eco-friendly.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle - The EPA states that the best way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Product creation takes up resources and energy from the extraction process all the way to the transportation process before it lands in your hands. Make it a point to choose products with less packaging, to begin with. Take the time to do your research. Creating waste is unavoidable but when you do, try your best to be mindful and recycle. Re-use your tupperware, repurpose empty pasta jars, save your plastic bags, and This way, you can slowly but surely contribute to less waste and take care of our planet. Using reusable bags in place of plastic and participating clothing exchanges instead of purchasing new clothes are also ways to reuse while being cost-efficient and eco-friendly.
Unplug!- When your devices aren’t in use, you should make it a point to unplug. This straight forward practice can help save you energy and money at the same time. On average, you can expect to save up to $100-$200 a year.
While excessive consumption is an easily accepted part of our everyday society, it is our responsibility to make more of an effort to be conscious consumers. Creating and nurturing healthy communities require an effort from humankind to participate in using renewable and sustainable resources. Using fewer resources gives us back many benefits such as eliminating harmful chemicals in our environment, saving money, and creating less waste for our future generations to live with. Giving back to our community and environment is necessary for our survival and it’s up to us to find solutions. It allows us to live in a healthy give and take relationship with the world around us which allows for humanity to not only survive but thrive. It all starts with us.