Sustainable living is not an alien concept or something just made for villagers and rural people. Those living in urban area can also make such living choices to lower the carbon footprint on this planet. Read further to know, if you are living in cities, what lifestyle options to make for sustainable and eco-friendly living?
Check this post for innovative sustainable lifestyle options.
Wikipedia definition for sustainable living: Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources. It is often called as “earth harmony living” or “net zero living”.
Sustainable Living Ideas for Urban Populations
1. Cut down carbon emission by re-planning travels
Invariably, our daily commute involves using a motor-bike or car or auto for some reason. But sometimes, we can easily avoid them. What are the alternatives?
You can walk down to nearby grocery store instead of going in a motor-bike. This will give you some physical exercise, reduce carbon emission and also helps saving fuel cost.
Similarly, think about possibility to commute in a bicycle to your office or nearby places. Best option for many reasons as mentioned earlier.
Next options are to use public transportation system or car-pooling. If this is done by large number of people, collective impact is significant.
Then, the vehicle itself. Are you using an electric vehicle? Also hybrid vehicles are better options for their fuel efficiency.
Next thing is the suggestion by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When driving a car, one can reduce taking breaks and gas pedals, receiving customary tune ups such as changing oils and using the maintenance schedule of the manufacturer.
2. Indoor gardening or Backyard gardening
There are two important aspect to buying fresh vegetables from outside that are environmentally detrimental.
- Growing fresh vegetables in large scale plenty of energy. There is a high chance that it many chemicals are used in the process.
- Transportation of vegetables will leave a huge carbon footprint.
Therefore, if you have a backyard, why can’t you start growing leafy greens and some vegetables. It is more healthier to consume these and will also help the environmental cause. As a bonus it will give you some fresh air and aid the surrounding eco-system. Alternatively, many have taken opportunity to do indoor gardening in a small scale.
3. Rooftop gardening
Next in the list is rooftop gardening. Similar to earlier backyard gardening but rooftop gardening may be more possible because every house has a rooftop.
Concept of growing food on the topmost levels of residential, industrial, or commercial structures is very innovative. In other words, rooftop gardens are artificial green spaces on top of the structures and is a growing trend in urban areas.
4. Use of energy efficient devices and home systems
Our home can be more efficient in terms of energy consumed. We can plan to be more efficient in terms of devices we use and house we design. You can make a long list of ideas, but here are some initial pointers to think about:
- Make use of solar panels wherever feasible
- Do rain water harvesting and use it as much as possible
- Plan for water recycling and multi-use of the same
- Any appliances we buy can be based on energy efficiency of the device
- Use more energy efficient bulbs such as LED
5. Making use of renewable energies
We saw this as an option in our earlier listing as well. One option is making use of naturally available rain-water by harvesting it as much as possible. Then multi-purposing the water as needed.
Wind energy harvesting and industrial solar energy production is something beyond common man.
However, solar is our primary source of energy and making maximum use of this source is where we can find success. At our home we can use solar panels and try to be self sufficient for electricity. Beyond that:
- You can spread the word
- Invest in solar energy companies that emphasize on renewable energy sources
6. Following minimalistic lifestyle
Minimalism is a word that carries a lot of weight these days. It refers to a lifestyle that is all about living with less. Unfortunately, we are living in a consumer culture and therefore minimalism is most difficult thing to do in this world.
Minimalism lifestyle means living with things you really need. It means removing anything that distracts us from living with intentionality and freedom.
With our tendency to gather more stuff, clothes, better machines, and homes – is minimalism a reality? May not be yes for majority. But we can definitely start with few things.
Minimalistic lifestyle is also beneficial in many different ways, check this out:
- Be free from financial worry
- Get rid of clutter that doesn’t add value to your life
- Spend more on experiences rather than stuff
- Be happier and less stressed
- Go green
- Develop better relationships
- And so much more
7. Multi-purpose any objects
Just think about some of these “use and throw” objects and what could be the environment impact:
- Baby diapers
- Single use plastic water bottles
- Shopping bags
- Disposable plates and spoons
- Napkins and tissues
- Juice straws and more.
Can these be avoided to some extent? There are some very good alternatives:
- We can use cloth based towels instead of paper towels and napkins
- Use regular plates as much as possible instead of disposable ones
- Juice straws, do you really need them all the time?
8. Prohibit use of plastics
In todays world, its very difficult to imagine a day without the use of plastic.
However, plastic will remain in in the environment for ages, threatening wildlife and spreading toxins. Plastic also contributes to global warming (almost all plastics are made from chemicals that come from the production of planet-warming fuels like gas, oil and even coal).
9. Carry your own bag for groceries
Take a count of bags you brought home in past 1 month after the shopping? They may be plastics or some are paper bags. So much unnecessary impact on the environment.
Instead, can you carry your own bag each time you go out for shopping?
10. Go digital for payment
Your telephone bill, bank statements, and many other payments bills are printed and given to you. However, you have an option to switch to paperless billing.
- You can opt for bank statements through email
- You can opt for pdf copy of your mobile bills (if its a postpaid)
- You can opt-out of paper bills if not necessary
Apart from this, making a digital payment itself has some advantages. Paperless transactions are safer and more efficient as well.
11. Carry your water bottle and refill it
How hard it is to carry your water bottle along? Not much, if you know how impactful it is.
Get a good water bottle for every member of the family. Carrying your own water bottle will end up saving money and avoiding the disposal of plastics in the oceans and in landfills.
Do you know what the above photo is? One of many plastic bottle islands floating around the planet.
12. Spend more time in nature
If you really want to understand impact of sustainable living practices, you need to connect with nature more. Plan to go for a trekking, hiking or just a bird watching.
Enjoy sound chirping birds and sight of greenery. If lucky, you can even enjoy watching some wild animals!
13. Cut-down meat or switch to plant based diet
Animal husbandry or livestock husbandry is about raising animals for meat, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. This whole industry involves feeding the animals, butchering and then transporting the meat to where consumers are. Energy intensive processes.
Instead, can you partially or fully move to plant based diet? If you want to make a sustainable living choice, best move is to become a vegetarians that has its added health benefits or reduce the amount of meat eaten.
14. Plant trees and volunteer for environment causes
Planting trees is one of the noble causes. You have plenty of places where you can plant trees. Your own backyard, farmland as well as public places etc.
Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe.
You can also take part in environment causes in your community, such as:
- Funding tree nurseries projects
- Collecting litter in the streets
15. Time to think what else you can innovate!
We are glad you come this far! What is your thought on sustainable living practices in urban places?
We have not really made attempt to give all exhaustive ideas – we just wanted to give pointers to think more. Every individual has many ideas depending on the surrounding. Let us know what else you think is worth practicing!
In summary, we think:
Knowing more about our nature and spreading the word is the most essential thing to do for spreading sustainable living practices!