Sustainable living is not just a buzzword or the latest catchphrase people are using. Have you heard the words ‘reducing carbon footprint’? This is the best type of example I can visually give you. If you think for a moment about the different impression a footprint can leave depending on how it is made (e.g. heavy or light). This is the same as our carbon footprint. Depending on how we live on this earth will affect the impression we leave on it. Therefore, Becoming Sustainable will reduce the impression we make.
It’s extremely important that as we work towards Becoming Sustainable we limit the use of the earth’s natural resources. We can reduce consumption both as a community and at home and be respectful of humanity’s relationship with our earth. This is the real outcome from sustainable living and truly centres around preserving our environment. It’s all for our grandchildren and many generations thereafter.
Let’s dive into ways you can become more sustainable in your family garden and in your family life.
1. Food garden
Yes, it’s true, there is so much you can do out in the garden that will have a massive impact on reducing your families carbon footprint. Growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs will mean less packaging, transport and storage. If everyone worked towards keeping even a small area where they could grow food, the impact would be massive. Now I know some don’t have a garden or they are renting. You’d be surprized just how much you can grow in pots and on a balcony. The best part is you can also collect seeds at the end of your harvest and replant the next season. Growing food is a great step forward to Becoming Sustainable.
People who choose to live a sustainable life often reduce their meat consumption or choose to become vegetarian. Doing this decreases the effects of meat production in industry, and in turn on the environment. Choosing grain-feed or grass-fed organic meat is also considered to have less impact on the environment.
2. Keeping chickens & bees
Keeping chickens & bees will actively reduce packaging, transport and storage as well. Chickens not only provide nourishing organic eggs, you’ll also benefit from manure for your garden. They also love all your vegetable scraps, which makes them an awesome recycler. Not to forget your bees, who are not only busy pollinating your food garden, they also produce golden honey for your family to enjoy.
Composting goes a long way in reducing our carbon footprint by recycling garden clippings and food waste which can be returned to the earth. You can compost via a few different methods. From the classic outdoor version to the more modern worm farm or a bokashi bin for your kitchen.
When you combine all three methods your waste is significantly reduced to almost zero. Big credit goes to our wiggly worm friends who are earth’s most proficient recyclers. Both worms and micro-organisms produce rich nutrient dense matter which can be used in our gardens to improve soil quality. Our plants thrive on organic matter and composting is the best organic matter you can produce. Less food waste, more organic matter, stronger plants and better crops, it’s that simple.
4. Reducing plastics
We can all improve our effort reducing plastic in our families home. In doing so, you will teach your kids the long-term impact that plastic has on our earth. Plastic bags and cling wrap, sandwich ziplock bags, plastic containers, straws, even our soft plastics can be swapped for more sustainable choices. Alternative products can help reduce your families carbon footprint. Choosing reusable shopping bags and produce bags are positive steps towards Becoming Sustainable. And guess what, we CAN live without cling wrap. Yes, it’s true.
I urge you to try reusable beeswax wraps and sandwich pouches and there is a new reusable cling wrap on the market now as well. Glass jars can be used for storage, and won’t leak toxins like old plastic containers, and you can source glass you can use in the freezer as well. Stainless steel straws help reduce the effects plastic straws have on our wildlife and if your kids love yoghurt tubes, try the reusable pouches next time instead.
Outside your local supermarket you’ll find a soft plastics recycling bay, so if you do buy something that can’t go in your council recycling, this is the next place to recycle it.
As a family, you can adopt the motto of recycling, reuse, reduce and most importantly refuse plastics.
5. Energy & transport
Being conscious about how you use resources as a family is an important step towards Becoming Sustainable. Using a renewable energy source which is not harmful to our environment, such as solar, will leave our precious resources to future generations. At home, you can make changes that will help conserve energy such as turning off lights and using energy efficient light bulbs. You can choose energy-efficient appliances and adjust temperatures so heating and cooling devices operate more efficiently, also make sure you keep the filters clean.
A big contributor to carbon emissions is our transport. Try taking the bus or carpooling and you can always hit the pavement and walk. Even doing this a couple of times a week will make a difference to your family footprint and save money on petrol.
If driving is something you need to do, then choosing a small fuel-efficient car as a sustainable option. Less petrol, fewer emissions, better for our environment.
Even in the building industry, you’ll find renewable materials being used more and more, as the trend of sustainable homes increases in popularity.
It’s about making small changes and I think the key to sustainable living is knowledge. We can make better choices, and every day there are more options for us to reduce our footprint on this earth. You don’t have to start big or do everything at once, it’s about taking one step at a time and just get started.