By Helen Young
This is a huge misconception.
Many people assume that sustainable living is expensive and a luxury that only the very wealthy can afford. After all, organic vegetables cost more than regular vegetables, and organic and sustainable living is very popular in the most affluent as well as the most forward-thinking areas of the country.
This is a huge misconception.
Anyone can choose to live a sustainable lifestyle and pay attention to the environmental impact of the food they eat each day, and this can go hand in hand with budget living. In fact, you may even find that living sustainably is cheaper than living a mainstream lifestyle! Thinking about making the move to sustainable living and eating but have no real idea where to start? Here are a few hints and tips to gently introduce yourself to sustainable living:
Think About Where Your Food Comes From
One of the first and most simple changes to make if you’re working towards sustainable and environmentally friendly living is to think about where your food comes from. Of course surest way to eat sustainably is to grow and produce everything you eat yourself; but whilst some people may relish the idea of starting their own small vegetable patch, very few will have the land available to grow absolutely everything they need. If that’s the case then why not try to source all of your fruit and vegetables from local organic farmers instead? There are many benefits that come from buying direct from your local farm: firstly you’ll know where your food is coming from and can speak to the farmer directly about their growing methods and any chemical processes they may use. In buying locally you’ll also minimize the number of food miles your veggies have to travel before they reach your plate thus lowering the ultimate carbon footprint of their production. Concerned about your budget? It may surprise you to know that buying your veggies directly from where they’re grown is often cheaper than heading to the grocery store, provided the veggies you are looking for are in season and plentiful. Farmers are often pleased to sell on their surplus at a lower price, particularly items that don’t meet the grocery stores stringent aesthetic rules about size and shape but are otherwise tasty and delicious.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
It is the simplest of all sustainable methods and one that most children are taught at elementary school. Reuse, reduce, recycle. Reuse whatever items you can, reduce the amount of waste you send to land fill, and recycle whenever possible. Yet it is mind boggling and amazing how few adults manage to stick to this simple lesson! If your keen to make your home a more sustainable environment then start thinking about the waste you are producing; what could you be recycling, what could you be reusing? Small changes, such as purchasing a reusable shopper bag and using it in lieu of a plastic bag whenever you visit your local store is a very minor change but can have a big impact. Reusing and recycling can also help you to save money; you simply need to readjust your mindset and think creatively about the additional purposes goods you might ordinarily throw away could serve.
Work With The Wider Community
One of the most important ways that you can begin your journey towards a sustainable lifestyle is by embracing the sustainable community and working together with your own community leaders. This will prove particularly useful if you are new to the concept of sustainability and would like some guidance and support: there are many local sustainability groups located throughout the country. Here you will be able to swap hints and tips, organic growers will be able to share or swap any surplus of produce and you may even find a volunteer network that you can join with the aim of supporting local projects and simultaneously spreading the sustainable message.
There’s no denying that true sustainable living is hard work and will take a huge amount of dedication. But it is possible to begin taking steps towards sustainable living, and bring an important sustainable message to your family, without making too many significant changes to your existing lifestyle.
Helen Young is a contributing writer to Better Farm's blog. She worked in health for more a decade before becoming a mother made her reassess things. With work being so busy and intense, she wanted to step back, spend more time with her babies while they were still young, and develop her passion for writing. Helen's work covers many topics from physical and mental health topics to food, nutrition