What is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable Living, like most things in life, is a journey of constant learning.
With the hot news topic today being all about sustainable living and the need to protect the environment, as well as the need to use less plastic, I wanted to bring awareness to something that the vast majority of people are not perhaps paying enough attention to. And that is the need to avoid chemicals in all aspects of their life. Be it in the garden, to what we put on our body and what we clean our homes with.
First, let’s define Sustainable Living. Wikipedia describes it as…
A lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources, and one’s personal resources. It is often called as “earth harmony living” or “net-zero living”.
Its practitioners often attempt to reduce their ecological footprint (including their carbon footprint) by altering their methods of transportation, energy consumption, and/or diet.
Its proponents aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, naturally balanced, and respectful of humanity’s symbiotic relationship with the Earth’s natural ecology.
My own journey of becoming aware of the need to live a more sustainable life began around 25 years ago when I became a WWOOFer – I bet you can’t resist finding out that that could possibly be! Woofing, which is the act of being a WOOFer, (by now you must be cracking up with laughter) offered me a way to explore the world on a budget, and in exchange for a few hours of labour on each organic farm, I received food and accommodation. What I had not considered were the knowledge and skills I would gain from my experience.
On each farm, I learnt about their sustainable ways of living and why they felt so passionate about running an organic farm. For instance, farming without chemicals resulted in a more abundant diversity of insects and birds. Since then, I have learnt that it is also more sustainable for our health too, as well as the health of the planet.
It was many years later when I began learning about the dangers of certain ingredients in most personal care products. I was horrified to realise that the products I was using all had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Parabens. But I still hadn’t made the logical connection to also question the safety of the ingredients in the household cleaning products I was using….until one day, as I was scrubbing out my bathtub, I realised I could taste the chemical in my mouth!
My Sustainable Living journey brought me the knowledge that our skin is our largest organ and is also very absorbent. Therefore, anything we put on our skin gets 100% absorbed into our bloodstream, which is why I had tasted the cleaning chemical in my mouth. That is a very worrying fact.
But it doesn’t stop there, as each of those products that we are using on our body, or to clean our home, also end up being washed down the plughole, which then ends up polluting our waterways and therefore all of nature that comes into contact with it. This is why I now either make my own products or purchase ones I know to be chemical-free.
If Sustainable Living is also your journey, you may also be vegan or plant-based and consuming plant-based milks, rather than dairy milk. However, there are a couple of things about these that should be of concern. First, it is not easy to recycle tetra packs where we live. I’m still looking for somewhere, so please let me know if you have found one. Secondly, it’s the ingredients, as some of them are quite nasty.
YouTube is a great resource for how to make your own chemical-free plant-based milk. My husband and I experimented with making milk from nuts but found oat milk tastes the best in tea. You may prefer nut milk, so give both a try. Making your own milk is a great step towards adding more to your Sustainable Living repertoire as it will be chemical-free – good for you and the environment. Plus, as it can be stored in a glass jug or bottle, no tetra pack is required.
It is super easy to make your own oat milk by simply blending together a half cup of gluten-free, organic oats with some water. Strain through a nylon nut milk bag or piece of muslin; the former being easier to clean, then add enough water to get the taste you like. I use about ½ litre water per ½ cup of oats.
Although, on the surface of it, I am not allergic to gluten, due to the knowledge I have gained following the advice of Medical Medium I know it is best to avoid it.
Finally, my Sustainable Living journey has taught me that we do not need the little plastic bags at the supermarket for loose fruit and vegetables. It is fine to put everything loose into your trolley and then onto the conveyor belt at the checkout. Except for things like Brussel Sprouts of course, unless you want to play the game of pick up and catch with them. Could be fun! If you need a small bag, use the paper ones for the mushrooms instead. I have never got into trouble from anyone in the supermarket for not using their plastic bags.
I hope my article has inspired you to delve deeper into living a more Sustainable Life. If Mother Earth could add something here, she would probably thank you for caring and also kindly ask you to guide your friends towards a more Sustainable Life too.
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I look forward to meeting you at one of my Tribe events.
Founder of New Forest Mind Body Spirit.
We have another blog called ‘The Art of Napping‘ that you may like to read.
Cover image credit to Gerd Altmann.
Oat milk image credit to Cleanlight Photo
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