Implementing Sustainability in Your Personal Life
by Ryan Jenkins
The recent COP26 event in Scotland made it clear that we all need to take responsibility for the planet. Governments from around the world tried to come to an agreement that would make a significant difference to the state of the planet, but vested interests appeared too strong. Therefore, as individuals, we are beholden to take on the responsibility to live a more sustainable life and participate in environmentalism.
The good news story? 88% of UK residents believe they have a personal responsibility to be more eco-friendly. Therefore, as a collective, we could significantly impact our world.
But ? The simple answer boils down to two overarching actions. First, produce less waste, and second, save energy. Not only will these actions help the planet, but they will also save you money and help make you healthier.
Here we explore ideas of how you can individually make a difference.
Introduce renewable energy sources
More and more houses now have solar panels on their roof. This is a direct way to save energy, as you draw your power from natural resources. You can also feed energy into the network, as that which you don't use can be used to offset your utility bills.
As come from fossil fuels, any reduction in reliance on these traditional methods of energy creation will help. If you do not have the resources to install renewable energy sources into your home, you can research those energy companies that are doing the most to increase reliance on renewable energy sources and support them with your custom.
Eat less meat
The trend towards a vegan diet has been obvious, as even brands such as McDonald's introducing a vegan menu. There are two ways that the meat industry contributes to our climate issues. First, cattle are a significant contributor to methane, a gas as problematic to global warming as CO2. Second, huge swathes of forest have been cut down to create grazing land for animals. Consequently, there is less flora on the planet to suck up the carbon dioxide.
The good news is that eating less red meat is good for your health, too. A plant-based diet has many proven benefits – and you don't have to give up meat entirely if you don't want to – just eat less.
Reusable over disposable
We live in a consumer society that has been a little haphazard in its use of resources. For instance, single-use plastics have become something of a scourge to our oceans. Our general attitude to waste has contributed to this form of pollution and over-production - and so greater energy use.
Therefore, when we buy something we need, we need to find a reusable option. Equally, when an item has served us, we need to recycle. Yet, the initial desire to buy is all the attitudes we probably need to change. Do you really need it? Can you do without? If so, reduce your consumption and so prevent that drain on resources.
Grow your own food
Food miles and food waste are massive problems. Growing your own produce is the best way if you want to live a sustainable lifestyle. Not only do you stop contributing to intensive farming methods that are damaging to the environment, but you help to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads and planes in the air.
Like reducing red meat, eating fresh produce straight from your garden is also better for your health. The sooner it goes from the ground to your plate, the more nutrients are available. And it tastes much better too.
Your garden could also become a haven for the bees and butterflies essential for our environment. Inviting wildlife into your garden helps balance our ecosystem and means we work with the planet, not against it.
Purchase sustainable items
Our biggest strength is our consumer power. Each of us represents a monetary amount to the manufacturing sector. Therefore, who we choose to support with our hard-earned money will thrive. Consequently, one of the most purposeful actions you can take is to purchase ethically. For instance, only buy furniture that has been made in ways that are considered ecofriendly, such as wooden garden furniture over plastic. If the environment drives our buying, the businesses will feel compelled to adapt their practice to serve our desires.
Whatever you choose to do, you need to act now. Small choices add up over time, and as a collective, we have more power than the governments could hope to wield. The most dangerous attitude is to believe it is out of our control. We can all do something to contribute to the efforts required to save our planet.
This article was created by Ryan Jenkins, a gardening expert who's worked in the industry for over 25 years. He uses his wealth of gardening knowledge to share high-quality content on the Sefton Meadows blog.