Sustainable living — sometimes called green living — fits in perfectly with a simple, minimalist lifestyle because both ways of living focus on careful analysis of how you live — and making decisions that have the fewest negative consequences possible.
In the case of sustainable living, the goal is to avoid experiences that negatively impact the environment. In the case of minimalist living, the goal is to avoid the parts of life that clutter our minds and spaces with unnecessary emotions, thoughts and possessions.
A simpler life will almost always be a greener one because owning less, driving less, eating less and running fewer electric machines are all simple choices that are also important aspects of green living.
What Is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living is a lifestyle practiced by those who aim to cut down on the rapid depletion of the planet’s natural resources.
A passing interest in going green turns into sustainable living when you put the concept of sustainability into practice. It’s one thing to agree in theory with environmentalists who suggest that sustainable practices are a good idea. If you adopt a green living lifestyle, however, you’re taking the idea that society should guard its resources more carefully to a very personal level.
When you make the choice to live sustainably, you’re making the decision to decrease the damage that your lifestyle does to the earth — often called your carbon footprint.
That means making careful choices in three important lifestyle areas:
1. Household energy consumption.
Decreasing your home’s energy consumption begins with simple changes like using the most energy-efficient light bulbs and small appliances, caulking windows to reduce heat loss in the winter and using heavy fabric curtains to reduce heat gain from the sun in the summer.
Next, embracing sustainable living in your home means changing major appliances like washers, dryers and air conditioners to greener models as the old ones wear out. You’ll also need to think about how you heat your home and your water.
In short, green living means analyzing every machine, process and choice in your home to make sure you’re living as responsibly as possible.
Most traditional cars, pickups and SUVs run on petroleum-based fuels that take a great deal of resources to obtain and then pollute the atmosphere when they are burned.
Changing to a hybrid or electric vehicle is one way to reduce the impact of your transportation needs on the environment, but there are others. For example, taking public transportation like a bus or train reduces your carbon usage for the trip to nothing because the vehicle would have run its route whether you were on it or not.
You can also dramatically reduce your gasoline usage by combining short errand trips into a single outing and choosing to do business with companies and organizations near your home whenever possible.
The way you eat may have a detrimental impact on the environment, but you can make changes to reduce the negative impact of your choices. One of the simplest things you can do is eat less. Overeating means you’re consuming more resources than necessary to maintain your life.
Choosing food that is minimally processed and grown near your home is also a smart idea since there are fewer processing and transportation processes and costs involved.
In addition, adding more vegetarian meals into your rotation can contribute to sustainable living because it requires more resources to farm and process meat than to manage vegetable food sources.
A Few More Thoughts
In general, sustainable living means using less energy and fewer resources than those who don’t use care in making their choices by making every decision with its environmental impact in mind.
The modern green living movement is thought to date back as far as the mid-1950s. While this lifestyle has gained followers in the decades since, it has only recently come into the public spotlight as the repercussions of unsustainable, irresponsible living have become clearer to many people.
Today is a great time to move your habits in a greener direction. Sustainable living just makes sense, and it fit perfectly with a simple, minimalist lifestyle too.
In fact, making careful decisions with an eye toward consequences fits into just about any kind of responsible lifestyle.