Vegan Society member, Annie Button, explores how to follow an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Every day, we have the chance to make better lifestyle choices that will affect the environment and the climate in a more positive way. But some people have taken that notion one step further and adopted eco-friendly daily habits that mean living in such a way that every decision is based on the outcome it will have on the planet as a whole.
There are various ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, based on your motives or what’s accessible to you. Here are a few ways that some sustainability-minded people are living a greener life in their own unique way.
A zero waste way of life is focused on reducing the amount of waste you produce, whether that’s using refill shops to minimise the amount of plastic disposable waste you accumulate or choosing package-free foods like fresh produce. Zero wasters are conscious consumers, paying close attention to the impact each item they bring into their lives has on the planet once it’s been used.
It can be hard to be completely zero waste, but it’s easy to make small changes to your lifestyle that reduce the waste your home produces, such as taking your own grocery bags to the supermarket, opting to forgo the plastic bags for fruits and vegetables, buying in bulk or refilling washing-up liquid and shampoo instead of buying a new bottle every time.
Tiny house living and travelling
Minimalism is all about living with less, and while there have been trends in recent years for decluttering your home and being more conscious about the number of items you own, some have gone one step further. With less belongings, you don’t need as much space, so downsizing your home to a tiny house is the go-to solution for some.
By downsizing, you’re forced to limit your belongings because you can’t just hide things away in cupboards or spare rooms. It pushes you to buy quality items that will last and won’t need to be replaced, which is great news for the planet.
In fact, an increasing number of people are living life on the road now, creating unique homes on wheels while minimising their need for physical items. Camper van living is a great way to explore the UK (or further afield) and travel to vegan festivals or popular events across the country.
Vegan lifestyle and plant-based diets
Vegans refrain from eating anything that contains animal ingredients, be it meat and eggs to dairy milk and honey. The difference between a plant-based diet and veganism is that vegans also avoid animal products in their day-to-day life too, such as avoiding leather, wool and silk, or engaging in anything that harms or exploits animals.
Choosing a vegan lifestyle is easier than many people think, particularly now with so many businesses offering vegan alternatives to milk and dairy products, meat and snacks. With the agricultural industry so harmful to the planet, many people adopting a vegan way of living are doing so for the climate benefits this way of living offers.
Self-sufficiency means relying on yourself to care for your needs, whether that’s creating your own energy, making your own clothing or growing food. Self-sufficiency helps the planet in many ways, because it reduces the need for manufacturing, transportation and packaging, and cuts out a huge amount of pollution and waste. That said, this way of living isn’t for everyone and it can be challenging, requiring a lot of time and dedication.
However, even small steps such as growing some of your food at home and preserving your produce, capturing rainwater for use around the garden or investing in renewable energy equipment to reduce your need for fossil fuels can all help.
Owning your own car may be a convenience for many, and it feels like a necessary addition to a home, but the reality is that cars are damaging to the environment and often aren’t essential if you live in a town or city served by public transport. From the manufacture of vehicles and the waste produced from scrappage to the vast quantities of pollution we’re breathing in every day, there’s no denying that fewer cars on the roads would be beneficial to the planet and our health.
If you’re someone who only uses their vehicle a few times a month, selling your car and choosing to walk, cycle or take public transport instead can be hugely beneficial to the planet and saves you money too. Can’t give up your car entirely? Switching to an electric car could be an advantageous step for the planet, or you might consider carpooling with others to minimise the number of vehicles on the road.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to living in tune with the environment, but each of us has the potential to play our part and contribute towards a healthier planet. These lifestyle shifts are just a few of the ways climate-conscious people are making positive steps towards environmentally-friendly ways of living, whether it’s cutting back on plastic waste, downsizing their homes or reducing the number of polluting vehicles on the roads.
About the author: Annie Button is a freelance writer based in the UK. Annie writes for a variety of prestigious online and print publications. A vegan for 12 years, she is a member of The Vegan Society. Visit Annie's website to find out more or follow them on Twitter @anniebutton1994.
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