Hey Bohemians! Today, I have a guest writer for you – Ms. Angel Seery. She’s a marine biologist and ocean conservation enthusiast with a lot to teach you (she’s in the Pin below!).
Buckle up & enjoy the enlightenment.
Pin to read later! Hover over the image below and hit “Save”
Comment below your best and favorite sustainability/eco-friendly habits!
Sustainability. What is it? It sounds like a fancy label for things that are “good”, right?
“Green” products and consumerism seem to have start a craze across the globe. Nonetheless, there are many reasons why the global community has taken to sustainable practices and why you should be mindful about this new obsession too. Especially since it’s a new way of thinking and living among the beautiful world.
In order to understand sustainable practices, we must first define what sustainability is.
The Brundtland Report from 1987 defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs.” In a simpler sense, it’s being able to continue particular behaviors or actions indefinitely.
Basically it’s meant so that we, as a generation, are not completely consuming resources we have so future generations can continue living with the resources we may take for granted.
Those resources could be anything from clean water to the energy powering the very device you’re reading this on. You have way more impact on the environment than you have previously imagined.
The Three Spheres of Sustainability
Sustainability can be broken down into realms that all interact with each other. Three spheres of sustainability exist, as we understand it: the environmental, social, and economic.
We can think of the spheres as Russian dolls.
The larger doll is the environment or this planet. Within our environment we have social interactions and structure, like government. Once we have social structure, we then have economic development – the trading and selling of goods.
These three spheres comprise everything we know and love – and even the things we don’t – so it’s important to understand that we cannot have social or economic practices without the environmental aspect being involved as well.
Big Blue Pond
As a marine biologist, I am naturally in love with this planet and every environment that exists on it.
One of our planets biggest resources is our ocean, which can often be overlooked. But, the importance of our seas is colossal! The planet is over 70% ocean, and life itself originated in the seas.
The plants in the ocean – microscopic phytoplankton, algae, and sea grass – produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe. That’s every other breath! The ocean also absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, which could combat climate change.
Last but not least, our ocean provides food, transportation, and a plethora of recreational activities. Every being on this planet is tied to the ocean. Because of our planet’s interconnections, it’s important we put the protection of it near the top of our lists, if not at the very top.
Transitioning to a Sustainable Lifestyle
I know it may seem like a big feat saving the planet, so I wanted to point out a few things that’s within reach of every individual.
The actions you take are linked to some ecosystem, water supply, and animal population. Everything from your mode of transportation to the holiday decorations you buy. There are a few small steps that everybody can take to help lower their impact.
I also want to point out that this is a transition. No one is able to just automatically become the most sustainable person. It’s all about taking steps and creating habits that are environmentally responsible and health conscious.
You’ve definitely hears the slogan “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.” I focused heavily on the “Reduce” because reductionism is combating the problem at the source, not just dealing with the side affects.
It would be equivalent to eating right and exercising to avoid becoming sick. In turn, purchasing products that are held to better guidelines sends a ping back through the market saying I want the items I use to be ethical and healthy not only for me, but for the people and the environment involved in the production.
There are many sites that promote fair-trade or low impact products. One of my favorites is Package Free Shop.
They specialize in eco-friendly goods that are not only good for you and the environment, but they aren’t packaged in excessive plastic either. Etsy has many reclaimed, re-purposed goods available that are all crafted by small businesses.
And to top it off, who could go wrong with your local farmers market or second hand store? An added bonus: many second hand stores use profits to fund charities; a social kindness done and an economic plus in your pocket.
What You Can Do
One of the first steps you could take to become more sustainable is to not consume as many products. I’m not saying you have to make your own clothes or be completely outdated because let’s face it we all love shopping.
All you have to do is ask yourself “do I really need this” or “is there a better alternative?” Many products are mass-produced without worry to how it’s affecting anything but the bottom line.
Doing your research about different brands or particular goods can inform you about where it’s coming from, who’s making it, whether they’re treated fairly, and what type of impact it has on you and the environment.
Another easy step to become more sustainable is using less single-use plastic. Now again, this is all a transition so, you don’t have to completely retrofit your kitchen, bathroom, etc. right now. Just slowly take one step at a time to habitually use less.
It can be as easy as remembering your reusable mug on a Starbucks run or saying “no straw please!”
Tiny changes like using a reusable water bottle can significantly reduce the plastic you use and your greater impact. If you remember to grab your reusable grocery and produce bags, that’s less plastic film that ends up in the landfill too!
You may also reuse the plastic you consume, but learn about the different types of plastics there are since some are less harmful to us than others.
Recycling your plastic is always, always a great idea. The best way to recycle is to learn what your local recycling center will and will not accept. Properly sorting our recyclables will help reduce cost and energy of our recycling centers, which is an economic and social plus.
The Plastic Coalition, NOAA Marine Debris Program and 5 Gyres are all organizations that have great websites with loads of ideas to help you reduce your plastic consumption and be more environmentally conscious.
This last sustainable lifestyle practice may seem a little daunting, but stay positive and resilient! Fight for policy change.
I’m not saying you need to go to government officials and compete with lobbyist.
Instead, think smaller to start. Is there anything in your workplace that could change? Maybe trading out disposable utensils in the break room for regular silverware. Does your workplace have access to recycling? Can you get a restaurant to stop using plastic straws?
All of these little milestones will have an incredible impact on the world.
Now I could have loaded this down with tons of facts about pollution, extinction, and sporadic patterns of climate change, but I wanted to keep it positive yet informative, in another direction.
No one likes seeing animals in harm, but we all know it happens. So, conversely, take away information that allows you to make a difference. And who knows, these small changes may have a snowball affect that create amazing changes in the world.
All it takes is you deciding to be a sustainable warrior and your best Blissful Bohemian.