5 ways to live more sustainably this fall

Reading Time: 11 minutes

There are many ways how one can live more sustainably. Often they are small steps and not so hard as we think they are. Sometimes they need a bit more preparation or will-power to stick to.

When looking through my blog, I realized that I often get so carried away by what I want to write about….  that I miss actual, practical advice. So here is a ‘short’ list of what you could do. And don’t worry, you don’t need to do it all. But starting with one or two little ones is better than nothing. As for me, I have made it my mission to integrate these as much as possible into my life. Not only to live more sustainably, but to also to walk the talk. So here we go:

Red leaf with a list of five ways to live more sustainably.

Way #1: Fall is harvest time – Buy local & fresh food

Now is the time to browse farmers markets and support your local community and farmers by buying their fresh seasonal produce.

Why would you even pay for fruit that has been shipped from the other side of the world and that is months old, when you could have fresh apples, pears, etc – depending on where you live of course – from your local neighborhood?And they come with a clear advantage: They will have gone throuh much less handling  and transportation, were probably picked when ripe and not too long ago. Fruit that will travel a long distance is usually picked before they are ripe. That is a common practice with anything that goes a long way around.

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for you: Better taste and more nutrients from being picked when ripe.

Win for the economy of your country: Because you are supporting your local farmers/your community. Helping their business survive means you can benefit from it longer.

Win for your environmental consciousness: Less C02 emmissions caused from shorter shipping distances and less energy used to keep produce cool/stored.

Longterm win: The market always follows the trends of buyers! If more people buy local, then over time local producers and production will be strengthend. A trend to buy less shipped food should be followed by reduced import of fruit from far away.

Way # 2: Be appreciative of the food you have!

  1. There is always a place where you can volunteer at.
  2. If you have less time than that, than spread the word of amazing projects, movements or newcomers you know about. The more people we reach, the more people will be aware. Even if you only reach 10friends, it’s 10 people you pointed in a good direction.
  3. Make the environmentally conscious browser search engine Ecosia.org your main research tool and start planting trees while researching. I always liked the idea of this simple way of contributing. My opinion of Ecosia.org became even greater when I heard that they proposed a 1 Million Euro deal to a company extracting coal in Germany. This company owns the well fought over Hambacher Forest which they were planning to cut down to dig for more coal. So Ecosia’s hope is to buy the forest and thus stop further mining activities while protecting the Hambacher forest from being stamped into the ground. Saving existing trees that are already producing Oxygen for us > planting seedlings. So what a great idea! (Also from a marketing perspective, it’s a clear win-win.)

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for you: Feel good, knowing that you can be a part (no matter how small) of the solution. It feels good to give and to be able to give.

Win for the environment: Depending on the project or cause you support. But any green solution or clean up project is likely to benefit the environment.

Win for wildlife: More trees? Cleaner ocean? Less pollution? Less habitat destruction and fragmentation? Or simply less overharvesting of limited sources. Each and all will benefit wildlife. And us.

To sum it up:

True sustainability lies within using things consciously and wisely. And in using only as much as is needed.

The best way to live sustainable is to start reducing what we use, reuse what we have and if we have to buy something… We need to think about where things origin from and under what conditions they were produced, transported or stored. Supporting locals is always a good first step.

We need to act holistic on all levels. To do that we need to change our way of thinking. We need to move from throw-away mentality to creative/resourceful-reuse anything mentality.

Here are two examples:
  1. If I replace my light bulbs with LEDs than that is a good step. But if I now start to leave my LED on all day – “Because I’m saving money using it”, then maybe that wont be true. First of all the long expected lifetime of the LED will be reached much faster. But there is also the need to create that energy I use. And to produce more energy will put a greater strain on the environment. No, to be holistic in the approach, I still need to turn off the light when I leave the room. Unplug all unneeded appliances on top of it and have a motion detector for outside lights. I need to do what I can to further decrease my comsume, not mask it or ‘paint it colorfully’ in order to hide the ugly consequences. Any such an attemp is no true win-win. I am just cheating myself.

  2. If I buy organic food, but it’s all nicely wrapped into plastic, then that is also not holistic. This might show that I care for my own health. Or even that I am concerned about the environment getting polluted by chemics. Yet it lacks the foresight, that at the same time I am contributing to another way of pollution…

    This is a problem I personally struggle with, because it is as difficult to avoid plastic wrappings as it is to avoid sugar. To live up to my ideal, I will have to make personal sacrifices – either by stopping eating certains things, or paying an often slightly higher price.

    It’s because of this that I started to look for solutions, which seem to be  farmers markets, Marktschwärmer/Food Assembly/ La Ruche qui dit Oui or growin g& getting food from your own garden or balcony. It’s not easy, but there is always a way. We just have to find it and talk about it and wait, until the system realized the demand and follows it. And it will follow, as all the ‘organic’ movement labeled sortiment proves that has been on a steady climb for years now.
What do you think?

Would you call these steps easy for you? Do they make sense? – As in ‘Why this would help decrease our CO2 footprint and how it would help you to live more sustainably?’ I’d love to hear your feedback and experienceson how to tackle some problems. Or solutions how to be even more conscious! Thanks 🙂

 

Further reading:

 

First of all, stopp using any shower gel or soaps that are using microplastics. Plastic is a topic that will never get old, because it simply is too pressing and threatening to be ignored anymore. There are many good, natural and degradable replacements for scrubbing soaps using microplastic. So please don’t buy it anymore and dump the rest you have into the garbage can.

Also, a great way to reduce plastics is to buy plasticfree products. Many of us love to browse through shelves while buying groceries anyways. So why not browse for a product that comes in cardboard or paper packaging, rather than plastic?

And to avoid platstic around your greens and fruit: It’s also fun to browse at farmers markets, here you might actually be able to talk to the farmers and tell them how much you love their cabbage! And if buying frozen food – you can look for cardboard packaging there too.

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for your environmental consciousness: Have you ever seen those horrible piles of plastic swimming on our oceans? We all contributed to it in some way or another, so let’s make try hard to learn from it, by proactively reduce our personal plastic impacts. Because, don’t we all feel better, knowing that there will be less of those cute water animals we love to watch in Zoos and Aquariums dying from consequences related to plastic pollution.

Win for our health: Reducing further plastic pollution. All plastic eventually will be ‘dissolved‘ into tiny particles, so called micro plastic. Micro plastic is too small to be filtered by many systems meaning we end up consuming it when drinking water. It also can easily move through the food chain – until it ends up on that plate in front of you. Plastic pollution hits us all, so it should be everyone’s concern.

Win for wildlife: A lot of wildlife ends up with plastic in their bellies. Imagine how it must feel to starve, though your belly feels full? Or remember those sad pictures you saw of wildlife being stuck in plastic packaging eventually dying from the consequences….?

So if you love animals – here is another way (one that we usually don’t think about) that can help prevent animal suffering and cruelity. We all can do our part to reduce and thus prootect them. 

Win for the environment: Less plastic – less C02 emmisions, less energy and toxins needed to produce it. If we need to buy plastic we should go for recyclable or better reusable plastic.

Way #4: Switch light bulbs

…and only turn them on when needed

Winter is coming up for us who live in the northern hemisphere, so with days getting shorter, we need more light! Meaning, now is the tme to switch to energy saving LED’s if you haven’t done that yet! If you have, remember: Just because they use less energy, you don’t need to have them on all day. If you leave the room – turn the light (and everything else) off.

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for you: Save money – Lower energy costs and no need to replace burned out light bulbs anymore! Often they are much brighter too.

Win for the environment: Less energy needed means more energy saved. Production of energy has huge environmental consequences, as we all know. So by saving energy we can collectively also reduce the need to produce more energy.

Win for wildlife: In our efforts to clean up energy we build wind plants, hydro plants and who knows what not. While these might be more environmentally friendly than nuclear plants and coal burning, they still have the same consequences for wildlife: Loss of habitat, pollution and disturbance of their natural environment that often costs their lifes. So the only way to help them is by using less and preventing the need to buy more and more and more plants to fullfill our ever growing energy needs!

Longterm win: The less energy we need, the better for the environment, wildlife and for us. We must remember that usuing less energy is as much desirable as using green energy. If we want a green and clean energy future to work – we have to learn to be more energy wise. Only this way we can lower pollution, C02 emmissions and ensure that the greener alternatives can supply all our needs and make nuclear plants and coal obsolete.

Way # 5: Support a good cause

Because taking and giving goes hand in hand!

Do you have any money left at the end of the month? Why not help donate a good cause or young start up that has a vision on how to make the world a better place? While a one-time donation is great, you could also consider to donate a low fee every month. Let’s say the amount of money you save from wasting less food and from using less energy (and light bulb costs) is $30 a month. So why not donate half of that or even a third to a good cause that tries to mend the damage that we have done or reduce future damage. Giving monthly will help organisations to calculate how much of a monthly budget they can expect to work with.

Who to go with? Here are my top three recommendations:

  1. Fight plastic by supporting the Ocean Clean Up Project (They finally launched the first prototype and it is on its way to the great ‘Pacific Dump’. You can learn all about the project here and about their process here.
  2. Use your saved up money to plant trees or support other environmental projects on betterplace.org.
  3. Support the Climate Reality Project through donations – and help new leaders being trained or even better become a climate reality leader yourself (you cn read about my experience with them here) ! Because the more people we can reach, the more people understand, the more they will realize, that we must change the current system that abuses the planet we live on. We must work together with nature – as we have done for many thousands of years – not against her!

Got no money to spare? To support a good cause, you don’t always need money!

  1. There is always a place where you can volunteer at.
  2. If you have less time than that, than spread the word of amazing projects, movements or newcomers you know about. The more people we reach, the more people will be aware. Even if you only reach 10friends, it’s 10 people you pointed in a good direction.
  3. Make the environmentally conscious browser search engine Ecosia.org your main research tool and start planting trees while researching. I always liked the idea of this simple way of contributing. My opinion of Ecosia.org became even greater when I heard that they proposed a 1 Million Euro deal to a company extracting coal in Germany. This company owns the well fought over Hambacher Forest which they were planning to cut down to dig for more coal. So Ecosia’s hope is to buy the forest and thus stop further mining activities while protecting the Hambacher forest from being stamped into the ground. Saving existing trees that are already producing Oxygen for us > planting seedlings. So what a great idea! (Also from a marketing perspective, it’s a clear win-win.)

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for you: Feel good, knowing that you can be a part (no matter how small) of the solution. It feels good to give and to be able to give.

Win for the environment: Depending on the project or cause you support. But any green solution or clean up project is likely to benefit the environment.

Win for wildlife: More trees? Cleaner ocean? Less pollution? Less habitat destruction and fragmentation? Or simply less overharvesting of limited sources. Each and all will benefit wildlife. And us.

To sum it up:

True sustainability lies within using things consciously and wisely. And in using only as much as is needed.

The best way to live sustainable is to start reducing what we use, reuse what we have and if we have to buy something… We need to think about where things origin from and under what conditions they were produced, transported or stored. Supporting locals is always a good first step.

We need to act holistic on all levels. To do that we need to change our way of thinking. We need to move from throw-away mentality to creative/resourceful-reuse anything mentality.

Here are two examples:
  1. If I replace my light bulbs with LEDs than that is a good step. But if I now start to leave my LED on all day – “Because I’m saving money using it”, then maybe that wont be true. First of all the long expected lifetime of the LED will be reached much faster. But there is also the need to create that energy I use. And to produce more energy will put a greater strain on the environment. No, to be holistic in the approach, I still need to turn off the light when I leave the room. Unplug all unneeded appliances on top of it and have a motion detector for outside lights. I need to do what I can to further decrease my comsume, not mask it or ‘paint it colorfully’ in order to hide the ugly consequences. Any such an attemp is no true win-win. I am just cheating myself.

  2. If I buy organic food, but it’s all nicely wrapped into plastic, then that is also not holistic. This might show that I care for my own health. Or even that I am concerned about the environment getting polluted by chemics. Yet it lacks the foresight, that at the same time I am contributing to another way of pollution…

    This is a problem I personally struggle with, because it is as difficult to avoid plastic wrappings as it is to avoid sugar. To live up to my ideal, I will have to make personal sacrifices – either by stopping eating certains things, or paying an often slightly higher price.

    It’s because of this that I started to look for solutions, which seem to be  farmers markets, Marktschwärmer/Food Assembly/ La Ruche qui dit Oui or growin g& getting food from your own garden or balcony. It’s not easy, but there is always a way. We just have to find it and talk about it and wait, until the system realized the demand and follows it. And it will follow, as all the ‘organic’ movement labeled sortiment proves that has been on a steady climb for years now.
What do you think?

Would you call these steps easy for you? Do they make sense? – As in ‘Why this would help decrease our CO2 footprint and how it would help you to live more sustainably?’ I’d love to hear your feedback and experienceson how to tackle some problems. Or solutions how to be even more conscious! Thanks 🙂

 

Further reading:

 

What does that mean? Simply, if you buy food (whether because it was on sale or because you had a fleeting appetite for it) be appreciative of the time and effort that went into producing it.

So make sure you buy only as much as you need. And then eat it! Often we hoard things in our cupboards and shelves, only to realize half a year later that that flour was on sale, because it’s best before date was one month after. And thus it ends in the dump…. At other times – we really want to make that one dish, so we buy the ingredients but end up not having (or taking) the time to make it. And only realize the mistake when the things are  starting to rott away.

There is no need for that! All we need to do is:

  • Buy less.
  • Don’t get distracted by discounts. If you didn’t plan to buy that item, don’t. Buying more food than we need, will eventually cost us more than we saved!
  • Have one or two days a week where we go through our cupboard and pull out old stuff und use it before we have to trash it.

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for you: Save money – buying less and wasting less, easly translates to wasting less money on food.

Win for the environment: Besides the waste of food, think about the CO2 footprint of it! No food source ist created out of magic, it usually took a long time and comes at the cost of people’s (often hard) labour and usually at an considerable cost to the environment.

Other considerations: All food comes in packaging. Unfortunately, the most common packaging is plastic. So please don’t buy something packaged in plastic and then end up throwing away the precious food. And if you can, try to reuse the plastic packaging for something else instead of simply adding it to the already huge pile of garbage that will be here for the next 200+ years.

Long term win: Using only as much as we need, is a simple but very sustainable rule that can greatly help us reduce our impact! According to statistics, we are already exceeding our world’s resources sustainable usage by the time August comes around each year. So the less food is wasted, the less need should be there to produce more and more and more. It will take some time, but once companies realize they can’t sell more they will reduce production rates to not waste money. This translates into less environmental damage done.

To name a few: less C02 emmissons, less chemicals in our environment and less deforestation to replace forests with orchards to fill our ever growing needs.

And let’s not forget that there are still people starving out there.

Way #3: Use less plastic!

First of all, stopp using any shower gel or soaps that are using microplastics. Plastic is a topic that will never get old, because it simply is too pressing and threatening to be ignored anymore. There are many good, natural and degradable replacements for scrubbing soaps using microplastic. So please don’t buy it anymore and dump the rest you have into the garbage can.

Also, a great way to reduce plastics is to buy plasticfree products. Many of us love to browse through shelves while buying groceries anyways. So why not browse for a product that comes in cardboard or paper packaging, rather than plastic?

And to avoid platstic around your greens and fruit: It’s also fun to browse at farmers markets, here you might actually be able to talk to the farmers and tell them how much you love their cabbage! And if buying frozen food – you can look for cardboard packaging there too.

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for your environmental consciousness: Have you ever seen those horrible piles of plastic swimming on our oceans? We all contributed to it in some way or another, so let’s make try hard to learn from it, by proactively reduce our personal plastic impacts. Because, don’t we all feel better, knowing that there will be less of those cute water animals we love to watch in Zoos and Aquariums dying from consequences related to plastic pollution.

Win for our health: Reducing further plastic pollution. All plastic eventually will be ‘dissolved‘ into tiny particles, so called micro plastic. Micro plastic is too small to be filtered by many systems meaning we end up consuming it when drinking water. It also can easily move through the food chain – until it ends up on that plate in front of you. Plastic pollution hits us all, so it should be everyone’s concern.

Win for wildlife: A lot of wildlife ends up with plastic in their bellies. Imagine how it must feel to starve, though your belly feels full? Or remember those sad pictures you saw of wildlife being stuck in plastic packaging eventually dying from the consequences….?

So if you love animals – here is another way (one that we usually don’t think about) that can help prevent animal suffering and cruelity. We all can do our part to reduce and thus prootect them. 

Win for the environment: Less plastic – less C02 emmisions, less energy and toxins needed to produce it. If we need to buy plastic we should go for recyclable or better reusable plastic.

Way #4: Switch light bulbs

…and only turn them on when needed

Winter is coming up for us who live in the northern hemisphere, so with days getting shorter, we need more light! Meaning, now is the tme to switch to energy saving LED’s if you haven’t done that yet! If you have, remember: Just because they use less energy, you don’t need to have them on all day. If you leave the room – turn the light (and everything else) off.

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for you: Save money – Lower energy costs and no need to replace burned out light bulbs anymore! Often they are much brighter too.

Win for the environment: Less energy needed means more energy saved. Production of energy has huge environmental consequences, as we all know. So by saving energy we can collectively also reduce the need to produce more energy.

Win for wildlife: In our efforts to clean up energy we build wind plants, hydro plants and who knows what not. While these might be more environmentally friendly than nuclear plants and coal burning, they still have the same consequences for wildlife: Loss of habitat, pollution and disturbance of their natural environment that often costs their lifes. So the only way to help them is by using less and preventing the need to buy more and more and more plants to fullfill our ever growing energy needs!

Longterm win: The less energy we need, the better for the environment, wildlife and for us. We must remember that usuing less energy is as much desirable as using green energy. If we want a green and clean energy future to work – we have to learn to be more energy wise. Only this way we can lower pollution, C02 emmissions and ensure that the greener alternatives can supply all our needs and make nuclear plants and coal obsolete.

Way # 5: Support a good cause

Because taking and giving goes hand in hand!

Do you have any money left at the end of the month? Why not help donate a good cause or young start up that has a vision on how to make the world a better place? While a one-time donation is great, you could also consider to donate a low fee every month. Let’s say the amount of money you save from wasting less food and from using less energy (and light bulb costs) is $30 a month. So why not donate half of that or even a third to a good cause that tries to mend the damage that we have done or reduce future damage. Giving monthly will help organisations to calculate how much of a monthly budget they can expect to work with.

Who to go with? Here are my top three recommendations:

  1. Fight plastic by supporting the Ocean Clean Up Project (They finally launched the first prototype and it is on its way to the great ‘Pacific Dump’. You can learn all about the project here and about their process here.
  2. Use your saved up money to plant trees or support other environmental projects on betterplace.org.
  3. Support the Climate Reality Project through donations – and help new leaders being trained or even better become a climate reality leader yourself (you cn read about my experience with them here) ! Because the more people we can reach, the more people understand, the more they will realize, that we must change the current system that abuses the planet we live on. We must work together with nature – as we have done for many thousands of years – not against her!

Got no money to spare? To support a good cause, you don’t always need money!

  1. There is always a place where you can volunteer at.
  2. If you have less time than that, than spread the word of amazing projects, movements or newcomers you know about. The more people we reach, the more people will be aware. Even if you only reach 10friends, it’s 10 people you pointed in a good direction.
  3. Make the environmentally conscious browser search engine Ecosia.org your main research tool and start planting trees while researching. I always liked the idea of this simple way of contributing. My opinion of Ecosia.org became even greater when I heard that they proposed a 1 Million Euro deal to a company extracting coal in Germany. This company owns the well fought over Hambacher Forest which they were planning to cut down to dig for more coal. So Ecosia’s hope is to buy the forest and thus stop further mining activities while protecting the Hambacher forest from being stamped into the ground. Saving existing trees that are already producing Oxygen for us > planting seedlings. So what a great idea! (Also from a marketing perspective, it’s a clear win-win.)

It’s a Win/Win:

Win for you: Feel good, knowing that you can be a part (no matter how small) of the solution. It feels good to give and to be able to give.

Win for the environment: Depending on the project or cause you support. But any green solution or clean up project is likely to benefit the environment.

Win for wildlife: More trees? Cleaner ocean? Less pollution? Less habitat destruction and fragmentation? Or simply less overharvesting of limited sources. Each and all will benefit wildlife. And us.

To sum it up:

True sustainability lies within using things consciously and wisely. And in using only as much as is needed.

The best way to live sustainable is to start reducing what we use, reuse what we have and if we have to buy something… We need to think about where things origin from and under what conditions they were produced, transported or stored. Supporting locals is always a good first step.

We need to act holistic on all levels. To do that we need to change our way of thinking. We need to move from throw-away mentality to creative/resourceful-reuse anything mentality.

Here are two examples:
  1. If I replace my light bulbs with LEDs than that is a good step. But if I now start to leave my LED on all day – “Because I’m saving money using it”, then maybe that wont be true. First of all the long expected lifetime of the LED will be reached much faster. But there is also the need to create that energy I use. And to produce more energy will put a greater strain on the environment. No, to be holistic in the approach, I still need to turn off the light when I leave the room. Unplug all unneeded appliances on top of it and have a motion detector for outside lights. I need to do what I can to further decrease my comsume, not mask it or ‘paint it colorfully’ in order to hide the ugly consequences. Any such an attemp is no true win-win. I am just cheating myself.

  2. If I buy organic food, but it’s all nicely wrapped into plastic, then that is also not holistic. This might show that I care for my own health. Or even that I am concerned about the environment getting polluted by chemics. Yet it lacks the foresight, that at the same time I am contributing to another way of pollution…

    This is a problem I personally struggle with, because it is as difficult to avoid plastic wrappings as it is to avoid sugar. To live up to my ideal, I will have to make personal sacrifices – either by stopping eating certains things, or paying an often slightly higher price.

    It’s because of this that I started to look for solutions, which seem to be  farmers markets, Marktschwärmer/Food Assembly/ La Ruche qui dit Oui or growin g& getting food from your own garden or balcony. It’s not easy, but there is always a way. We just have to find it and talk about it and wait, until the system realized the demand and follows it. And it will follow, as all the ‘organic’ movement labeled sortiment proves that has been on a steady climb for years now.
What do you think?

Would you call these steps easy for you? Do they make sense? – As in ‘Why this would help decrease our CO2 footprint and how it would help you to live more sustainably?’ I’d love to hear your feedback and experienceson how to tackle some problems. Or solutions how to be even more conscious! Thanks 🙂

 

Further reading:

 

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