People say only the wealthy can actually lead ‘sustainable’ lives. Is that a myth or can everyone live sustainably regardless of their bank balance?
Before we find an answer to that question, we first need to understand what sustainability means. People throw it out very often these days, like it were an article. We don’t want ‘a’, ‘an’ & ‘the’ taking offence now do we?
So what exactly is this sustainability? The Oxford English dictionary defines it as ‘avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.’
I couldn’t have put it any better. It is simply the judicious use of natural resources. When we say natural resources, people’s minds quickly jump to fossil fuels. But it isn’t just that, no sir!
Sustainability is how we successfully and responsibly make use of things like the water we drink, the air around us, the earth below us, the flora and fauna and the whole world itself.
If science is to be believed, eons ago, everyone on this planet lead very sustainable lives although I wouldn’t say it was peaceful and happy. They were hunters and gatherers. Survival of the fittest was the common law for all living beings and humans had to be on high alert at all times.
Then, ten thousand years back, some random caveman struck two rocks together and discovered something that changed the world forever. It was fire that made humans the lord of all creatures. The discovery of fire was followed by agriculture. Every time man invented or discovered something new, his greed and craving for power grew and it has now come to a point where, to many, money is king, money is everything. Due to this, sustainability and responsible living seem to have taken the back seat.
But since the turn of the 21st century, people are gradually gravitating back towards a more sustainable life. So what can people do to lead a responsible life even if they don’t earn a lot of money?
Don’t waste water
The first few things are pretty simple. Do not waste water. For instance, many people let the tap running while they brush. On an average, people waste about 5 gallons of water every week, which is roughly 19 litres! That is almost 18 litres more than what is actually required.
Don’t waste food
This is one of those things which I don’t really understand why many people fail to follow. Instead of filling your plate with more than you can eat in one helping, why not take smaller portions in multiple helpings depending on how hungry you are? In case there is left over food, why throw it in the garbage? There are so many homeless and needy people out there who can’t afford one single meal. Give it to them instead.
Change your diet
In this fast paced world, people tend to forget their health and gobble up a lot of junk. Give up that unhealthy habit. Create a proper diet and stick to it. Make sure you fast at least once a week or once a fortnight. By setting a proper diet, not only will you be able to lead a healthy life, you will also stop spending on unwanted junk, which more often than not would end up in the trash.
Start recycling paper
Many people have the habit of reading newspaper. Instead of throwing away old newspapers, repurpose them. The simplest thing to do would be to make paper bags which would act as sustainable alternative for polyethene bags.
Make proper use of plastic and replace it wherever necessary
Refrain from purchasing plastic objects. Buying wooden or glass alternatives would be slightly more expensive. But it would be a one-time investment and would save a lot of money in the long run. Consider toothbrushes for instance. More than a billion toothbrushes are thrown away in the US alone. Since they are made out of synthetic polymers, these don’t degrade and plays a major role in environmental degradation. Try replacing these with bamboo brushes. Not only do they last much, much longer, they are also eco-friendly.
Even if you do buy plastic products, make sure you use it to the fullest and once it is worn out, repurpose/upcycle it. For example, in case of plastic bottles, draw them into threads which can be later used for various purposes including gardening and decorations.
To do all these things one does not really need to be rich. Any common can lead a sustainable life and bring about major global changes. It is all in the thought. As Pythagoras would have put it, hence proved!