Green living

Green living is all about choosing the green option in every aspect of our lives, from the fashion we choose to the soap we use to clean our clothes. It involves keeping an eye on the environmental impact we have and aiming to make it as small as possible.

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What does green living mean?

Green living means choosing the sustainable option whenever possible.  It means thinking about where you spend your money and what you use in your home – or in other words becoming environmentally conscious. It involves taking responsibility for those changes that are within your power as a consumer and a citizen, whether they are lifestyle changes or taking political action. 

Greener living requires a commitment. It takes time to research a better buy for your home or your child. It can be difficult to go against the grain when there are cultural expectations, for example around wanting and buying new technology. It can be more expensive to buy the green option or shop with local merchants. 

Why is green living important?

We hear all the time about how our planet is changing and how there is a climate crisis (UN). The news is full of stories about the effects on populations around the globe, from heat waves to storms. That’s why green living is important. There has never been a better time to choose it. 

Green living reduces our consumption of energy and goods, which in turn reduces the demand for energy and the depletion of natural resources to make products. Simple changes to the way we live every day add up to a big change for the companies that supply us.

If every individual made the decision to reduce their impact on the planet, we could reverse the damage we have done. From a selfish aspect, it would mean that we and our children don’t have to risk health concerns from heat waves, raging fires destroying homes and property damage through flooding or storms. 

Green living ideas

Here are some green living ideas that will help you to start small. Think about some sustainable swaps you can choose for your home and garden. These will be easy to do, making it more likely that you will stick with them.  

You might choose to use a cleaning agent without any chemicals, or you might choose to go without using pesticides in the garden. On a personal level, you might choose clothing that is made of sustainable materials or a shampoo without sulfate. You can choose to buy products with less or recycled packaging. Choose one and try it.

There will be a bit of trial and error when you first start out.  Start with buying sample sizes of soaps and cosmetics, like you would when swapping brands. You will find that not all sustainable brands will suit you and your family. Stick with the ones that you enjoy and ditch the rest. 

Reduce, reuse & recycle

One of the guiding principles for green living is to buy less, reuse more or keep for longer and recycle what you can’t use. This is a direct contradiction to our modern consumer throwaway culture. 

Years ago there was a perception that anyone who wanted to try green living was a ‘treehugger’ or a ‘hippy’. They bought second hand clothes, their kids went without and were teased in school. They lived in a van or commune and were often avoided like the plague. 

Now we are all used to the motto reduce, reuse and recycle. It goes to prove that a conscious lifestyle doesn’t mean going and living off grid somewhere remote. It can simply mean choosing the greener option. 

Many of us have started on the journey simply by following the rules about recycling trash. Sometimes the choice is foisted upon us because a plastic bag ban comes into play and we have to remember to take reusable shopping bags to the store with us. 

Each small step we can take will contribute to the overall goal of reducing our waste and our drain on natural resources like gas, oil, land and water. 

Is green living sustainable? 

Green living is as sustainable as we can get. There are a few guiding principles to sustainability and green living. 

Buy less – Buy less of the things you don’t need. This can include services, like energy bills. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy anything. Aim to reduce your consumption slightly and stick with it. Most of us don’t wear half of the clothes in our wardrobes or eat half of the food in our refrigerator. A simple shopping list can work wonders with buying food for a week. 

Choose carefully – Choose the products and services that you purchase carefully. Think about every aspect of your life; finances, work, energy, home, car, personal care, etc. Research the companies that you buy your banking or insurance from. Choose renewable energy or an electric car, if you can afford it. 

Buy sustainable products – Choose long lasting products which may cost slightly more in the beginning but will last longer, evening out the expense. Choose sustainable materials and fabrics for both homewares and fashion. Choose cleaning and personal care products that have no harmful chemicals in them. 

Reuse or repurpose – Reuse or repurpose as much as you can in your home. One of the advantages in buying slightly more expensive items in the first place is that they can last, but also they can be passed on or sold on when you no longer need them. Think about clever ways you can reuse items when you think they still have some life and use left in them. 

Recycle and donate – Recycle and donate as much as you possibly can before putting something in the waste bin which will end up at municipal waste and contribute to landfill. There are plenty of swap sites, donation sites and charities who would be more than happy to benefit from your unwanted items. 

Green living is fashionable

Green living is fashionable. Some of the leading brands now produce gorgeous desirable products that also happen to be sustainable. Partly this is driven by demand that companies show corporate & social responsibility. Partly this is driven by consumer demand for more ethical products (Deloitte). 

One of the big trends in green living is buying local to reduce the impact of transportation and shopping small, to support small ethical businesses who produce lovely products. These makers and manufacturers are often driven by not being able to find what they need in the marketplace. 

Buying green or buying local is not a contradiction to the buy less suggestion!  Choosing good quality products that last from an ethical supplier is as much part of green living as reducing the amount you buy. You can have that lovely handbag you’ve been longing for or that gorgeous throw for your bed. You can have that new gadget. 

Choosing greener living doesn’t mean depriving yourself of the things that you want. It is a mindset, encouraging you to be mindful about your purchases and the ethos behind them. 

Go forth and go green. Find your own way of green living that suits you and your family and your circumstances. Experiment with ways to make sustainable swaps. Find your own ways of following the guiding principles of reduce, reuse and recycle. Your planet will thank you.