It’s easier than ever to live sustainable lives.
This is in part due to the ‘Sustainable Living’ community, a community that has exploded in popularity over the years.
Our awareness of the climate crises we are currently going through has increased drastically and we have witnessed governments implementing new policies to help cut back on our ecological footprint. But what does it mean to truly live sustainable lives and is it actually possible in this day and age?
While this is a great goal, there is far more to consider than if your paper towel consumption has gone down or if you are increasing your composting. There are many other factors that need to be considered in regards to sustainable living.
Sustainable living through active consumption?
This question should be a main filter in the everyday lives of those who are pursuing a sustainable lifestyle. If our consumption of a specific good has a great negative impact on the environment, then this product, although it may be marketed for sustainable living, might not be the best option for you. Consider the externalities around you.
This is called the theory of externalities and is extremely important.
Positive externalities are the “added bonuses” that come from participating in a certain activity or from purchasing a certain product. They are the good results from an action (i.e. creating less pollution, more jobs, cutting down on waste).
Our purchases have a lot of power. More power than most of us are ever aware of or could ever see on a day to day basis. However, it is important that we think about how each of our actions could have an impact on the society and environment around us.
We hope we haven’t scared you or created a mountain to climb for your sustainable living journey. Sustainable living is achievable and we are here to help you with some of these top tips!
1. Practicing sustainability when making purchases
Many times in our purchases, we don’t consider what the cost of the good actually is. We look at the price tag and make the assumption that everyone has been fairly paid and the environment has been taken into consideration. Unfortunately in most cases, this is not true.
An example to help explain the true cost is a new shirt. Fast fashion clothing items are mass produced in factories filled with workers who are underpaid and are in unsafe working conditions.
The reality is that Bangladesh, the second largest clothing producer, has a monthly minimum wage of $95. This is below the living wage.
However, it allows the retailer to sell the shirt for a cheaper price and to make more items, giving consumers more options.
So while you are saving money on the t-shirt, you are actually creating more costs by creating poor working conditions and having to pay the costs to fix the environmental degradation that results from the poor working conditions.
In each of your purchases, it is important to consider who is producing the good and how it arrived at the store. Think through the logistics of the production of the item. This provides a good foundation for you to begin thinking sustainably.
When you are making these purchases, one way to think sustainable is through our app Econus. This is a great app to help you start to think about the true cost of purchases by taking the total of a purchase you have made and Round-Up the total to the nearest dollar and donate the remainder to a charity of your choice. You can then make the decision to support charities that help make sustainable items and eco-friendly items.
2. Live sustainable lives by engaging with your community
One of the most amazing ways to live sustainable lives is through getting involved in your local community. Shopping locally can be one of the best ways for you to live a sustainable lifestyle and help propel your community to the next level. This way of living has many positive externalities that help to increase the standard of living within a community.
Consider checking out your local clothing boutique when you need to update your wardrobe instead of shopping at fast fashion stores. Visiting a local farmers market for your weekly groceries is a great way to get to know the producers of your food and get to know their production methods and make sure they are producing sustainably.
Engaging in your community allows you to become aware of the issues that are affecting your community and use your buying power to support them.
A sustainable living case study
The case study we will use for this example is the power of buying food from a local farmer.
You visit your local farmer’s market on a Saturday morning to buy the groceries you will need for your meals for the week. You visit a veggie stand and learn that the vegetables that you are purchasing have been grown and harvested from a farm less than 50kms away.
It is estimated that in the United States, an average meal travels about 1,500 miles to get from the farm to plate. The emissions from that meal are great and damaging to the environment. Visiting your local farm stand reduces the amount of travel that the food has had to do and benefits not just you but the environment and supports a local farmer’s family.
Live sustainable lives by offsetting our impact
Living sustainable lives means making more conscious choices about your purchases. It means examining your daily habits and seeing how you can make small changes.
Econus is a great way to get involved in sustainable living.
Download the app and join a community of individuals who are making a difference with every purchase they make. Each purchase you make can contribute to charities that are making a difference in sustainable living.
We can make a difference in our generation in the environment if we join our efforts. Join us as we venture on this journey together!