Climate Change, Lifestyle

Sustainable Living: Should it be a choice?

We are the generation of change, or that is what has always been told to us. Often when discussing climate change the news chooses scare tactics: flashing images of burning forests and oil slicked seas, but maybe instead of showing us how we are the issue, it is more beneficial to write about how easy it is to be the solution. Sustainable living is the first step we can make to help the environment and, as we all know, it is no longer an option not to make some changes.

Often it can feel that living a more environmentally conscious life is a privilege, with organic produce and recycled products costing more to the consumer. Arguably it is corporations that are mainly responsible for the mass influx of emissions and high cost of sustainable products. However, whilst trying to encourage change in these areas, it is still important to look introspectively and make smaller changes where you can.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to begin a sustainable lifestyle is water conservation. There are a few simple and quick steps to prevent excess water wastage and likely might include things you already do: 5-minute showers may sound too quick, but you will save 2.5 gallons of water every minute! These changes will also save money off your water bill, such as only washing full laundry loads by allowing dirty clothes to build up a few extra days. Clean water is now considered a limited resource – maybe we should treat it that way.

A change of diet in the form of becoming a vegetarian or vegan is another example of a sustainable change. ‘Meat-free Mondays’ was launched in 2009 and their website includes an impact calculator which visualises the difference we can make by giving up meat for just one day. Becoming a vegetarian has never been easier with many meat alternatives, you could always start by drinking plant milk and giving up just one type of meat. At the end of the day, it is better to try and eat less meat than not attempt to make any dietary changes for the environment.

Fast fashion is often a buzz word when criticising our generation. In 2019, the Pretty Little Thing 99% sale caused a huge stir in the media, highlighting not only were companies producing clothes in bulk and as cheap as possible, but that people were willing to support this business practice. Instead of focusing on the negatives of fast fashion, however, I believe it is more important to acknowledge that sustainable clothing is expensive and not financially accessible. 

So how can we be more sustainable with our clothing? Firstly, buying fewer new clothes and avoiding trending items is an easy and sustainable way to save money. Of course, clothes do not last forever but ways to make them last longer include washing clothes less often and attempting to fix any small holes or rips. Lastly instead of falling into the trap of fast fashion you can choose to shop and donate to charity shops, limiting textile waste as well as affordably expanding your wardrobe.

Our generation isn’t doing enough. We all need to choose change and begin living more sustainably. Even one small change to you can have huge impacts to the environment.

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Jessica Trowbridge

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January 2022
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