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As humanity becomes increasingly aware of the impact we have on our global environment more and more people are turning to sustainable living to do their part for the environment. But just what is sustainable living? It's a catchy phrase that we hear bandied about, but the concept is surprisingly simple. Boiled down to the most basic concept, sustainable living is simply living in a way where your consumption of natural resources does not outstrip the supply. Each person consumes resources and creates a carbon output during everyday activities, but through conscientious action we can reduce or even negate the impact of these actions. Read on to find out more about the most environmentally unfriendly practices, and how you can turn them into activities fit for a sustainable lifestyle.
One of the most used catchphrases of the sustainable living movement is "carbon footprint". This term refers to the impact your activities have on carbon production. Some of the most carbon-heavy activities include driving, flying heating our homes, and basically any other fossil fuel burning process. One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to minimize your travel, by doing things like combining errands and planning out the most efficient travel route. You can also purchase carbon offsets to negate the impact of your carbon footprint. The money used to purchase these offsets goes to clean energy like wind and solar, reforestation, and destruction of industrial pollutants and methane. Purchases of carbon offsets in 2006 totaled $91 million, proving there truly is a market for sustainable living.
You Are What You Eat
Another integral part of sustainable living is being responsible about what foods you eat. It takes thousands of gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, but only 60 gallons to produce one pound of potatoes. Livestock animals also emit tons of methane into the atmosphere every year, contributing to the greenhouse gas effect. Going light on the meat in you diet can not only help your health but also the planet.
Organic foods have also come into their own in recent years. As people learn about the dangers of traditional pesticides and chemical fertilizers they turn to organically grown food. Organic foods are great because they don't require the often toxic chemicals that traditional foods do, such as chemical fertilizers which can leave toxic arsenic in the ground. If you eat organic, you are definitely on the road to a sustainable life style.
People are also bringing renewable resources into their homes in line with sustainable living practices. One of the hottest new interior products is bamboo. From blinds to flooring bamboo makes a great home product because it is a quick growing plant that is easy to maintain and thrives in a variety of climates. Architects have even gone so far as to recycle steel shipping containers, using them to build homes. Grass roofs, concrete counters, and water conserving landscapes are all features you can find in today's eco-friendly homes.
A huge part of living sustainably is buying products made locally. That fruit at the grocery store may be organic, but if it came 3,000 miles to arrive at your table the benefits of organic farming are negated by the carbon produced in shipping. Buy produce locally, and look for goods manufactured in your home country. The less the product has to travel, the more eco-friendly it is.
Sustainable living isn't just a catch phrase; it's a viable and responsible way of life that everyone should try to adopt.