Sustainable life

3 quick sources of inspiration for a more sustainable life

I do believe in a cross-cutting definition of sustainability that is not perfect but perfectible. It’s not just the environment. Sustainability should embrace all aspects of our life and any single small steps is way more important than nothing at all (no excuses here).

We can’t improve the quality of the air we breathe without changing our economic system; we can’t change our economic system without changing our lifestyle; we can’t change our lifestyle without properly working on our personality and habits, which brings us to improve our mental health as well as our relationships with other people.

Everything is interconnected. As such, to live on a more sustainable planet, we should focus on achieving long-lasting genuine benefits in every dimension of our life. And it’s not even expensive 😉

So let’s see how we can do that. And if you want more detailed tips on the matter, you should definitely subscribe to my monthly newsletter!

1. Lifestyle

Let’s start the simplest way (okay, okay, for many this is not simple at all): lifestyle! Changing our lifestyle to make it more sustainable and suitable to us and our planet’s needs.

Let’s take our home first. Here the 3 Rs rule can be applied to almost anything. Reducing, reusing and recycling has never been easier anywhere else.

Reducing consumption of energy, paper, plastic, water, wasted food, general waste is key.

How? By paying attention to our daily habits.

  • Set the thermostat lower – 25 degrees when you don’t need it, really?
  • Rely on renewables when choosing your energy suppliers.
  • Use products that are good for the environment and your health (e.g. they do not release toxins or microplastics).
  • Reuse and save water (e.g. the water you used to cook pasta is great for plants, rice water is awesome for your skin, dual-flush toilets help you reduce water waste in your toilet, what an invention!).
  • If you go shopping, take a bag with you so as to avoid the shop’s plastic ones.
  • Buy packaging-free food and household products.
  • Buy food that is local and seasonal.
  • Use reusable jars and containers to store your food.
  • Forget your car: walk, bike, get on a bus or a train, choose car sharing or carpooling.
  • If you’re shopping for new clothes or other items, you may start buying less, better and smarter.
  • Buy second-hand items and clothes.
  • Recondition or creatively recycle your old items.
  • It makes people happy, you included.

Also, be sensible!

Let’s take food again. When I say that we should all eat local, seasonal food, I mean something like: do we really need to eat food such as fresh aubergines and tomatoes in December? Like, really?!

If you need logic to understand this, I’ll give you logic: among other things (and I want to stress this to avoid someone telling me “It’s not just that” :D), buying local, seasonal food means there’s no need for food to travel more than we do, which results in lower transport emissions and better air quality for us to breathe. These actions also support our local communities and allow us to eat food that is fresher and more nutritious because there are ideally fewer pesticides.

One of the best ways to go local and seasonal is buying from local vendors. Have you ever heard of short food supply chains? Farmers markets, delivery schemes, community-supported agriculture: they can all provide us with local, organic food that treats both us and the environment very well. I’d also try to buy food made out of fairtrade partnerships. Food that wasn’t harvested out of modern slavery, you know.

Also, if you want to take a step further, you may even try to consider a dietary change. Vegetarianism, veganism, flexitarianism, a genuine Mediterranean diet would already be enough. Goodness… so many options out there! The connection between food systems and environmental pollution is so deep that we can’t leave this option out of consideration if we want to live sustainably.

2. Mental health and personal growth

Creating a sustainable life also means improving the quality of this life right from the inside. It’s the simplest yet hardest act of taking on our responsibility, starting to work on ourselves and heal to heal the planet.

In the past few years, there’s been larger public attention on the importance of mental health. Also, the personal growth industry has significantly grown and positively affected many people’s life. Is it true added value? Is it fluff? To be honest, this debate doesn’t interest me as far as individuals do manage to improve their lives.

Improving our mental health is an act of self-responsibility. We need to understand that we’re not alone. There are people out there ready to help us heal. The most important step of this complex topic is understanding this. So don’t be afraid to reach out and create new benefits for your life.

Then, we should all promote our own personal growth. First, by learning. How? Reading would be my first option, but you can just find the method that suits you better. There are tons of books, courses, specialists out there whose focus is helping us flourish.

There are hundreds of tools we can use to heal ourselves and improve ourselves. What’s even more interesting is that the simple action of healing ourself has a positive rippling effect, as it improves our relationships with other people, friends and relatives, food, our body, our mind.

3. Active citizenship

As citizens, we do have rights and duties. As far as duties are concerned, we are responsible for our society, our rights and our environment, and we should all take action to safeguard those dimensions.

I want to focus on three of the many dimensions of active citizenship – getting informed, volunteering, and voting.

We should all get informed through reliable sources, which means comparing different sources and paying attention to who took the information, where and how. And no, your little cousin’s buddy’s mother’s friend writing about the dark powers on a messenger application is not a reliable source.

Volunteering and advocating is probably the easiest example of active citizenship out there. Why? Mmm, let’s see. I’ve been asked so many times about the reason why I’ve been volunteering since I was a teenager! Sometimes it was some kind of nasty, nosy question, because “Nobody pays volunteers and then what impact would you really make?”. Blah blah blah.

My reply is always the same: I do believe in people acting kindly and genuinely for having a positive impact. For helping the community and the environment heal and protect everyone’s rights without asking nothing in return (nothing for real, not even visibility).

Local communities and civil society have so much underrated power! Let me enjoy a momentary state of utmost idealism: put your nose outside your door and go help that charity at the corner; bake a cake for the homeless; join those youngsters’ activities raising environmental awareness in children. Trust me, you’ll make a difference. I’m pretty sure the young group of actors who 17some years ago showed my childish classroom a video about animal violence has no idea they contributed to shaping my imagination.

And yet, they did.

Oh, and yes, vote sensibly. Nothing more, nothing less.


P.S. would you add any other area to this list?

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