Breathtaking sunrises. Lush, green forests. Crystal clear beaches and waterfronts. Our Earth is a beautiful place, which is why there’s a greater push than ever before to protect it. Gone are the days of labels like “hippies” and “tree huggers”—we all need to be doing more to take care of our home.
Showing respect to our planet and communities has nothing to do with politics or agendas. Taking pride in where we live can keep things cleaner for the next generation, which is a loving thing to do for our children and grandchildren. Better drinking water, fresh air, and less waste. It’s worth the effort, right?
Plus, by reducing our energy consumption and dependence on fuel, for example, we save money. It’s a win-win situation. Here are some ways you can live a more sustainable life in 2020.
Around the House
How we live at home sets the tone for how we live our lives. This is the first place you should start to make changes to live a more sustainable life in 2020. Here are some of the steps you can take:
- Use natural light by opening window coverings before hitting the light switch.
- Turn the lights off when you leave the room.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL lighting.
- Start timing your showers and use a water-saving showerhead.
- Shut down non-essential devices at night.
- Reduce energy usage (and costs!) by wearing an extra layer of clothing instead of turning up the heat.
- Use dishtowels instead of paper towels.
- Cook with a pressure cooker (cuts down on time and energy costs).
- Buy reusable straws.
- Start a garden to grow fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables!
Get everyone in your household on board and make incorporating environmental practices into your lives exciting. Have your kids help point out light bulbs that need replacing and let them help out in the garden. When we instill good values early in life, it will stay with them for a lifetime.
Many people are turning to organic, GMO-free products at the grocery store. The thing is, not everyone can afford to eat that way. Hopefully, natural products will become more affordable in the near future, but in the meantime, here are some other things you can do:
- Bring your own reusable bags for packing groceries.
- Buy at bulk food stores.
- Stop buying bottled water.
- Avoid products with plastic wrapping.
Did you know that Costco is the top seller of organic foods in the country? Between that and the benefits of buying in bulk (less packaging, for example!), it might be worth the membership if you don’t already have one!
Commuting & Traveling
More and more people are working from home, so if your employer offers this option, you can save money on gas as well as reduce fuel emissions in your area. If that’s not possible, consider trying some of the following sustainable practices:
- Bike or walk to work or the store when you can.
- Carpool or use public transport.
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
- Make your next car electric-powered or highly efficient.
- Take fewer flights, but when you do travel, donate to sites like Cool Effect to offset your carbon footprint.
It’s become a popular thing to shame people over the vehicle they drive or the number of flights they take in a year. All you can do is try your best, so focus on making a few slight adjustments to your routine—every little bit matters!
Depending on your age, you might be able to think back to a time when we used paper (and styrofoam!) for everything. Nowadays, the piles of paperwork on our desks are quickly being replaced by email and other electronic documents. We’ve still got a long way to go, so here are some ways you can make a difference:
- Go paperless. Opt into digital bills and newsletters.
- Send electronic greeting cards and wedding invitations.
- Scan and organize all the papers in your file cabinet (but keep a hard copy of the important stuff!).
- Have receipts emailed to you rather than printed.
- Turn off your computer at night.
- Use an eco-friendly printer for business cards.
- Add a few plants to your workspace.
No green thumb? You can still brighten up your workstation with a cactus, bamboo or even a little bonsai tree. Just having something that’s living nearby can help you feel revitalized (and improve air quality!).
Beauty & Fashion
We’ve seen huge shifts in the beauty and fashion industries over the last two decades. Remember when products were regularly tested on animals? It’s heartbreaking to even think about it! Always look for items that are cruelty-free and try some of these suggestions:
- Make your own facial cleanser and scrub (there are many “recipes” out there!).
- Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth.
- Try reusable cotton pads for makeup removal.
- Read labels for harmful chemicals.
- Check out thrift shops before buying new.
- Donate the clothes you don’t need in your closet.
- Take a minimalist approach to fashion and footwear.
- Buy higher-quality clothing and shoes that will last longer.
Most of us have way more stuff than we need. Challenge yourself to buy only what’s necessary, donate what’s no longer useful and enjoy a life with less clutter in your bathroom drawers and more space in your closet!
Fall in love with the idea of living a cleaner, more sustainable lifestyle. Once you get started, you’ll probably look for new ways to take your efforts to the next level. We are here on Earth for such a short time, and we should do all we can to make it a better place for us to live.
- Get outside!
- Use an e-reader for books, magazines, and newspapers.
- Prepare meals at home.
- Stay hydrated with reusable water bottles.
- Show gratitude for Earth’s resources.
- Be mindful of your consumption and commit to learning more about your impact on the environment.
You don’t have to give up the things you love and you don’t have to do everything on this list to live a more sustainable life in 2020. If we all commit to making even the smallest of changes, we could see a ripple effect that will improve life on this planet for generations to come.