In the article Easy Sustainable Living Ideas – Pick 1 or 2 and Start Living Green, I have listed other things Tom and I could do to try to have a sustainable lifestyle. For now, I’ll write down what we do at the moment. Let’s call it the baseline measurement.
Whenever I read articles from others who have a zero-waste or a sustainable lifestyle, I have the impression we don’t give it enough effort. But then I recite my favorite quote in my head: “We don’t need a few people who do everything right but a lot of people who do some things well”.
When we still lived in the Netherlands it was easier to comply with our conditions. Spain seems less aware of the environment. Well, that means we have to put in more effort, but not that it is impossible.
So let’s dive into how we try to have a sustainable lifestyle. And please tell us any improvements or additional remarks you have. We are constantly trying to learn and adjust. 🙂
Table of contents
Try to have a sustainable lifestyle
People who live sustainably try to reduce natural and personal resources.
Now that I discover the difficulties that can arise to live sustainably, I am more aware that there is a difference between wanting something and being able to. I am also better able to judge when arguments make sense, and when they are excuses for unwillingness.
Personally, I prefer people to say honestly that they don’t feel like making an effort than to give silly excuses. We can’t leave change to the governments and the industry. Fortunately, many people do want to try to make a difference. As we say in the Netherlands: every little bit helps.
(The saying goes in full: Every little bit helps, the woman said and she peed in the sea!) 🙂
Not just the environment
Sustainability goes a long way. It’s not just the earth we need to take care of. Other areas are our health, relationships, travel, work, and hobbies. Produce without pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides is not just better for the earth but also for our health.
If you do your errands by bicycle or on foot, you’re not only saving fuel but are working on your health through exercise as well. I can’t tell you how much I miss my bike! In the Netherlands, I cycled all the time.
Over here I still haven’t gathered the courage to buy a bike, because – in my opinion – the Spanish drivers are a danger on the road. OK, back to what we actually do at the moment.
1. Our organic vegetables come from a couple of local ecological shops and a supermarket that has a section of organic produce;
2. Just once a week we eat poultry or fish;
3. The poultry and smoked salmon are organic, the other fish isn’t;
4. We refuse single-use-plastic as much as possible;
5. When we shop, we use our own bags and boxes;
6. Crocheted cotton nets for the fruit;
7. Reuse of paper bags for vegetables, seeds, and nuts;
8. Glass containers (with a plastic lid for hygienic reasons) for the fish from the market.
Responsible water consumption
9. Bucket in the sink for collecting excess water;
10. Waterfilter, even on vacation.
Taking care of the soil
11. Vegetables and fruits from our own garden;
12. Kitchen garden without poison;
13. Cutting the hedge with the hedge trimmer by hand, instead of a noisy electric device;
Work and hobbies
15. Printing paper on both sides;
16. Making my own glue from wallpaper paste and wood glue;
17. Reading the newspapers on the computer;
18. Reading books on an e-reader;
19. Working from home as bloggers and affiliate marketers.
In the house
20. Separating waste. The bins for this are far away, so the consequence is that we have to take the car to take the waste away;
21. Glass jars for our stock of nuts, seeds, herbs;
22. Metal strainer for the tea;
23. Bamboo straws for the grandchildren;
24. No light in spaces where we are not present;
25. Energy-saving lamps with motion sensors in de bathrooms;
26. 1 Watt LED lamps in the corridors;
27. Turning on the heating only when it gets really cold, not automatically;
28. No chlorine;
29. Solar panels on the roof;
30. Toilet paper of recycled paper, bought in bulk, packed in a cardboard box;
31. Refill detergent for laundry and dishes in glass bottles in eco-shop;
32. Washing at low temperature;
33. Using the dryer only when it rains;
34. Collecting peels, tea, and coffee drab for the compost heap.
35. Avoiding flying;
36. Bringing the water filter with us;
37. A solar lamp on the Waka Waka, which also has a USB port to load the e-readers. It doesn’t have enough capacity to load our phones, that’s a pity;
38. Garbage in, garbage out in nature parks;
39. Glass bottles with a silicone jacket, so they won’t break and to keep the water cool.
Personal care of the body
40. No make-up. I have to admit this was an easy decision because I am allergic to most make-up;
41. Cotton handkerchiefs;
42. No plastic clothing;
43. Wooden toothbrush;
44. Bar of soap instead of a bottle of shower gel;
45. Homemade toothpaste in the summer. The coconut oil hardens too much to my liking in wintertime.
A matter of choice?
I guess it is too easy to say that a sustainable lifestyle is just a matter of choice. There is no black or white. Several factors will influence whether you have a choice or not.
For instance: we hardly ever use the dryer, because it doesn’t often rain where we live. In the Netherlands, it would be the other way around. Lots of rain so often using the dryer.
Another example: we work but we don’t have to because we are retired. So we have time to go to different shops, to garden, and to cook fresh food. If you have a family of 4, both parents working and the children still young, it’s a much bigger challenge to do that.
One step at a time
Like I said in the beginning, if everyone would do a little, we will go a long way. My next step will probably be: getting over my fear of cycling over here and buying a bicycle. Or, fill the watering can with the shower water while it is warming up.
Do you have more suggestions for us? Let us know in the comment box below.
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