Sustainable living means making environmentally-friendly choices in your day-to-day life. As the world population continues to grow, so does the rate at which we produce waste. Every household and individual has the capacity to think and act more sustainably in order to help protect our environment — and it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process!
Through simple changes in our own community, we can all play a part in reducing our carbon footprint. Read on for some easy ways to stay healthy all year while living a more sustainable life.
Be conscious of your plastic consumption. Single-use plastic water bottles are a huge contributor to excess waste — they take millions of years to decompose. Switching to a reusable steel or aluminum water bottle helps limit the number of single-use products you use. Fill your reusable bottle or hydro flask with free, filtered tap water from your home. This also allows you to track your daily water intake and ensure you’re staying hydrated.
Leave the car at home. The average car emits almost six tons of carbon dioxide per year. Limiting your drive time by walking, biking, carpooling or taking public transport is a great way to reduce your carbon emissions. Not only do walking and biking have alternative health benefits, but you are also helping to minimize air pollution — which means less toxic air for us to breathe.
Eat less meat. The meat industry uses massive amounts of water and emits destructive greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By limiting your meat consumption — even by going “meatless” just one day a week — you can help lower its impact on the environment. Besides being environmentally-friendly, plant-based foods also provide a range of nutritional benefits, including a lower risk of chronic illness such as heart disease and diabetes.
Stick to a natural sleep cycle. Try to get a healthy seven to eight hours of sleep per night. This way, your body is more attuned to the natural light from the sun during the day. By letting your internal systems regenerate overnight, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in the morning. Sleeping through the night also means you don’t need to use electricity to keep the lights on — luckily, sunlight is free during the day!
Your individual actions count whether big or small. Making a sustainable change can be as simple as turning all the lights off before leaving the house or as life-altering as becoming a vegetarian. Every step towards a more sustainable lifestyle makes a positive impact on not just your health but the health of the environment as well. Sustainability is a team effort, and we are all in this together.
This article first appeared in the January 2020 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.