By Carla Oates
The pursuit of a more sustainable life is one that is shared by many. And while ‘sustainability’ or 'environmental sustainability' as a theme has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years—it is also becoming more widely understood to be, perhaps, the only way we can preserve the health of our planet—as well as ourselves—beyond our own lifespan.
Given that every single action we take has an environmental impact, it’s essential that as individuals—as well as a collective–we hold ourselves accountable and do our utmost to protect the world we live in.
Although it can sometimes seem overwhelming to think about how we can each make a difference when looking at the seemingly insurmountable environmental issues we are faced with—it’s important to recognise that even the smallest actions can have a positive impact. To help inspire and empower you to make a few changes of your own, here are five simple ways you can live more sustainably, starting today...
Grow Your Own
There are a number of reasons why growing your own fresh produce is a more sustainable lifestyle choice. Firstly, it's zero waste and minimises the energy used to get fresh food onto your plate—as conventional farming and agricultural methods use incredible amounts of energy in both the production and delivery of food. And secondly, growing your own dramatically minimises the use of pesticides, that contribute to both air and water pollution and the plant’s toxic load. This results in greater biodiversity, and a healthier environmental ecosystem.
While your living circumstances will obviously dictate how you can begin to grow your own produce at home—the easiest way to get started is to start small with a few pots of flowers or herbs in your kitchen. If you have a balcony, patio or small garden, you could also consider creating a small veggie patch—tomatoes, lettuces, beans and radishes are all varieties that grow well even if you are limited on space.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The most obvious way to be more sustainable and prevent further environmental damage is to simply reduce your use of plastics (which typically end up in landfill) and where possible, reuse or recycle—to encourage a more circular economy. While going zero waste might not feel entirely achievable as a goal for you right now, creating a more sustainable future could be as simple as saying no to plastic water bottles by carrying your own, taking your own bags to the farmers market and ditching single use plastics like straws and takeaway coffee cups at cafes by keeping a stash of supplies in your bag. There are also so many wonderful companies out there these days creating products to replace single use items—so as you grow in confidence or run out of certain things, consider making a sustainable swap. Choose beeswax or silicone wraps to seal food in the fridge, ditch baking paper by investing in a high-quality silicone baking sheet, and recycle old takeaway containers and replace them with reusable glass ones. At The Beauty Chef, we’re all about upcycling where possible, too (again promoting a more circular economy!) Check out our blog for a few genius ways to reuse our packaging.
There are oodles of benefits to shopping locally—not least of all, buying your fruit and veg from your local farmer’s market helps you to eat more seasonally which supports a richer, more diverse gut microbiome—your internal ecosystem. You’ll also likely find that produce at your local market is much cheaper—and healthier—than what you can find at the supermarket as it has often been picked within the last 24 hours and is richer in nutrients thanks to the use of more sustainable farming methods. As a bonus, you’ll be supporting local families, stakeholders and businesses, too, which helps to ensure things like farmer’s markets become more accessible and widespread for future generations.
Be a Conscious Consumer
To become a more conscious consumer, the first step is to simply shift your mindset and make the decision to become one. Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, however, our busy modern lives are so geared towards consumption—with fast fashion, online shopping and virtually instant delivery options the norm—that going against this grain can feel uncomfortable at first. However, once you become attuned to ‘conscious consumerism’ and 'social sustainability' you’ll discover there are endless opportunities to live more sustainably. When it comes to clothing, for example, ditch online shopping and fast fashion and instead, look to shop at second hand stores. Not only will you save money, but you will also contribute to a more sustainable—and circular economy!
Becoming a more conscious consumer, is also about becoming more aware of your social impact—what you purchase as well as where it comes from. The first question you should ask yourself is: do I actually need this? If the answer is no, you can move on. But if the answer is yes, taking the time to research whether purchasing that particular product is a sustainable choice is essential—and applies to everything from food and clothing, to household items and beauty products.
Our DEEP COLLAGEN powder, for example, is clean and sustainably sourced from wild-caught, deep-sea North Atlantic cod. We also went through a rigorous auditing process in order to launch this product—it adheres to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards—so that we can help you to be confident as a consumer that you are enjoying a product that is as sustainable and ethical as possible.
Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are undoubtedly some of the greatest contributors to climate change. And while utilising sources of renewable energy should always be our goal as a collective—when it comes to our individual energy consumption, it's essential to consider where we can cut back. It might be as simple as popping on a jumper instead of immediately turning on your heater during winter. Or perhaps you could take public transport to work instead of driving your car?
The bottom line is, no matter how you choose to save energy, you can be confident that you are helping to create a more sustainable future for us all, reducing pollution, conserving our natural resources and treading more lightly on this beautiful planet of ours.