What is sustainable living?
Living sustainably, to me, means that one recognizes that the earth’s resources are generally finite and seeks to reduce their use of those resources. According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), living more sustainably means understanding how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us and finding ways for everyone to live better and lighter. Lighter meaning a smaller carbon footprint. The devastation of all corners of our planet, caused by climate change and pollution, is undeniable, at least to the conscionable. We have all seen devastating images of glaciers melting, human and animal displacement due to increased flooding, record high temperatures, polluted oceans and lots more. The science is clear, regardless of the claims of fringe skeptics, that climate change is man-made problem, not a natural phenomenon. Since it’s a man-made problem, the solutions lie with us, and we don’t have to begrudge others by claiming that we’ll adopt more sustainable practices if others do the same.
Why is living sustainably so important?
Quite simply, for posterity, for the sake of our kids and future generations. If we want to sustain humanity, we need to get our act together. It has been reported by multiple reputable sources that if efforts are not undertaken to reduce carbon emissions by half soon, 2050 and beyond is very concerning. We could see a hotter earth, more displacement, poor air quality and significant decline in marine life. According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to reach close to 10 billion by 2050. With increased population comes more demand for resources and without a shift to more sustainable lifestyles, our fragile earth will even be more strained. But while things look bleak, not all hope is lost. Organizations and researchers such as the Nature’s Conservancy have modelled the modest changes we need, to leave a less strained earth for future generations.
Sustainable practices in day-to-day life
Given how gigantic the current environmental problems are, one might take the view that living sustainably in their own home could not result in meaningful impact, but they would be wrong. While causing the world’s largest carbon emitters to change course through government mandates is a critical step, individual actions have great potential to change societal attitudes and, thus, cause more sustainable change.