A Resurgence In Sustainable Lifestyles

Written by Liz O’Dwyer

When life gets busy, it’s easy to fall back into old, unsustainable habits.  Don’t beat yourself up, simply realign and start again.

In the last two and a half years I’ve seen a lot of change in people’s lifestyles, my own included.  People seem to have been in a holding pattern, embroiled in the world of covid, unsure of what each day will bring.  In the topsy-turvy world of the last two and a half years, many have been discombobulated with the world's happenings. This can affect our mindset and motivation to continue to build on our goals of lightening their footprint, whatever that means for them.  I understand only too well the stress we have all been under, and how it impacts our ability to perform optimally.  Both in our personal lives as well as our professional lives.

But, with the warmer weather upon us, brings a new season and new hope.  It seems to me we’ve turned a corner, and we are feeling like we finally have a chance to implement some of our long-awaited plans of sustainability and self-sufficiency.

With this in mind, it’s the perfect time to re-assess our eco goals and levels of self-sufficiency. With looming food shortages for the foreseeable future, we need to not only be lightening our footprint, but looking at ways we are relying less on commercial companies and more on creating alliances with community-minded principles.  

There is so much we can do, in our everyday lives, that will help positively impact our environment.  Not only that, when we achieve a goal, or not use plastic, or not impulse purchases, we feel better about ourselves.  We all deserve a win, with all we’ve been through these last few years.  Living an eco-lifestyle in my opinion is a win-win all around.

Maybe you already have a to-do list for your sustainable goals.  If not, here are a few ideas to get you reinvigorated and on the road to becoming champion eco-warriors:

ReduceFood waste continues to be an issue.  With food shortages looming, this needs to be addressed.  A well-thought-out food plan is still the best way to help with the weekly grocery shop, so as not to impulse buy.  I’m also loving the resurgence of pickling, fermenting and bottling food in order to preserve our food gluts.  This also will assist us in times when food supplies are low

Re-Use.  I don’t have shiny object syndrome as I used too many years ago.  My empty passata sauce bottle is now my water bottle!   Another item is reused, rather than sent to recycling, and I’ve saved money on a drink bottle.  Start using items you already have in your home

Recycle. I love sewing.  I love to recycle old materials such as bed sheets into rag rugs or cut up into squares for making quilts, etc. There’s no end to what we can breathe new life into and keep things out of the landfill.  You only need to visit an opportunity shop or a tip shop to see the plethora of goods which are disposed of each year, that is in perfect working order

Refuse. Not only is this a feel-good change to make, but it’s a win-win – when you don’t accept that non-recyclable item (for example, a plastic bag) you also don’t have the added responsibility of disposing of it.  Refusing to purchase plastic-handled toothbrushes, and preferring to purchase compostable (bamboo) toothbrushes is a great example of refusing to contribute to landfill.  The amount of non-recyclable toothbrushes that go to landfill each year is staggering. 

Repurpose.  The shortage of new building materials for the housing industry is dire.  Many projects have been delayed because there simply are not enough materials to complete jobs.  Thankfully, for home projects, the use of second-hand materials can alleviate any shortage of materials for our jobs.  I am building a greenhouse out of second-hand bricks and old timber windows.  The cost so far for the materials has been well under $100.  So many materials can be given a second life, and be saved from landfill

Refurbish.  This one is only limited by your imagination.  Cut up old bath towels into hand towels, nappies or family cloth.  Refurbish old furniture such as a kitchen chair with a coat of paint and new fabric, which will be great in the kid’s room.  If you’re lacking inspiration, there are many groups on the social media pages, and of course, an internet search will help get the creative ideas flowing

Repair.  The growth of low-end furniture manufacturing companies has been steady over the years.  But nothing replaces a period piece of furniture or a well-made piece that is the centrepiece of the room.  It becomes a topic of conversation simply because it’s so different to the run of the mill furniture flooding the market. A well-maintained piece will last decades, even centuries, if well looked after. We only need to visit an antique centre to see how quality furniture has lasted the test of time.

To help re-align your intentions and tick off your eco accomplishments, simply do a brain dump under each of the headings above, of all the projects you see that need doing around the home.  Spend a few minutes with each topic, listing in dot points form each project. Place it on the fridge or somewhere you can see it, so you can add to it.

Now it's super important to remember that this list is simply to capture all the intentions you wish to change to reduce your impact on our beautiful Earth.  It’s a list you will add to when you think of something.  Do a regular check-in with your list and simply select the next goal you wish to complete.  Working on one goal at a time rather than several at once is the key to accomplishment.  Tick it off once it’s done, then choose the next.  The bigger the task that’s achieved, most definitely deserves a reward.

Photo ‘timber architecture’ by Daniel Lorentzen on Unsplash

A Resurgence In Sustainable Lifestyles A Resurgence In Sustainable Lifestyles A Resurgence In Sustainable Lifestyles

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