After our last post on why living sustain-ably is as good for you as it is for the planet, we felt like we should follow it up with a little note on simple ways to make sustainability a part of your daily life. Contrary to popular perception being sustainable is not about giving up on the things we love, it is about being aware of what is it that we love and how we can have healthier and more ecologically friendly versions of the same things. So here goes our piece on how living sustain-ably can be both fun and surprisingly easier than imagined.
Go back to the old days…and old ways
If you truly believe that people from your parents and grandparent’s generation were healthier, take a leaf out of their lifestyles. Add turmeric to your food instead of taking it in a capsule. Instead of buying expensive skin care products make your own from active ingredients in the kitchen. Ditch colas and fizzies for naturally cooling drinks like tender coconut water and aam panna in the summer and warm bowls of soup and lentils in the winter.
Living in tune with the seasons and making small adjustments to what you eat and drink helps us live with a greater sense of connect our environment and ultimately our bodies. What’s more, this is fun too. With a little bit of planning and the acquisition of simple skills like making preserves out of summer fruits and pickles out of winter vegetables, we can reduce our consumption of preservative laden packaged food and eat both healthier and lighter. Too busy to do this? Locate the closest organic store and browse their shelves or visit a farmer’s market or an artisanal fair and buy produce made by small businesses. Carry your own cloth bags when you go. Once you start thinking along these lines you will find ways to include it in your daily lives seamlessly.
Learn where it comes from and where it goes when you are done with it
So few us do know where the things we buy and consume, come from. But do you know where they land up in? Start by reading labels on things you are buying. Buying clothes? Opt for ethically sourced natural fibre. As an organic clothing label, we understand the impact of fast fashion on our wallets, bodies and the environment. Educate yourself. We have a host of blogs for you to know more. There are a host of videos online on the price of fast fashion and unaware consumerism. It is easier than ever today to make conscious choices in our consumption. Unlike what is commonly believed, it is not significantly more expensive and in the long run is probably more cost effective. Just like reading the label before buying spare a thought for what happens to products before trashing them. Donate, recycle and upcycle things instead of blindly tossing them into a bin. If you must
trash them, separate your trash. Kitchen waste can be put to organic manure for your garden by composting them in your own balcony.
Clothes, toys, books and linen can be given away in good condition to charities and NGOs. The longer you can keep products you have used – away from a landfill, the smaller you can keep your consumption footprint.
Shopping? – go local
Shop as locally as possible. Buy vegetables that are grown around a 100 km radius of where you live or within your state. Plan menus based on what is fresh and seasonal. Doing this not only helps you think more innovatively but makes you more aware of what you are eating making this an exercise for your brain as well as your body. Produce grown locally is low on carbon footprint with lesser fuel being consumed to transport it from the farm to your kitchen. Seasonal or organic vegetables mean lesser preservatives and local vegetables mean lesser packaging. The same goes for meat and grains. Buy that local fish instead of something flown across a continent or ocean. Try indigenous varieties of millet and grains. If you eat fast food or packaged food, try cutting back on one weekend a month for starters and see how you feel.
Wellness that is inclusive
While buying beauty and wellness products, remember we can be only as healthy as that of our immediate environment. The same goes for apparel, cosmetics or skincare. Buy, support, use and recommend products that are ethical and sustainable. Small steps towards educating yourself about brands that are cruelty free will open the doors to a whole plethora of brands that care for you as well as the planet. Stretchery for example not only promotes ethical sourcing but is also transparent about its process and the people it engages with. Very few indian brands can boast of that, but we hope there are many to come.
When it comes to beauty and wellness, no matter what promises are made on ads and labels, anything that is authentic and beneficial will take longer and works best when used consistently and with awareness. We are lucky to be living in a country with a tremendous bounty of natural herbs and ingredients that work like miracles for our skin & hair. Like rare saffron oil for skin or gooseberry for hair. All locally available. Some of them from Kama Ayurveda, Kottakal Arya vaidya sala, Juicy chemistry, Soul tree.
Get acquainted with brands that practice fair trade, give fair wages and work with local communities . The sense of satisfaction would be immense.
Extend the idea of living sustain-ably to travel too. Let’s not generate waste even when we travel. Pause a minute and consider the amount of plastic that you might inadvertently contribute to a place in the hills or you might see when you return to your
favorite beach. Setting out on a walk on your holiday, consider carrying a bag and gathering your own or any trash that you might see on your trail. Don’t leave behind tell tale signs of a picnic lunch or bottles after a night spent around a campfire. Skip the supermarkets and chainstores and support local craft, trade and artisans while traveling.
What’s more, eco-tourism is not just another fancy word but surely a trend to look out for. India has several heritage properties & national parks with incredibly organized safari’s and itineraries. Do take advantage of those. Did you know, many are opting for trips with health and fitness as an active part of their schedule, which are locally available. Yoga, hikes, rafting and locally exclusive sports are a fun way to unwind, over an extravagant one.
Sustainability might sound like a big word, but can often be brought down to something as simple as thinking about what we put out in our air, water, spaces in the process of living our lives. Understanding our consumption better helps us live with a greater degree of awareness. And the beginning to living sustainably can be something as small as choosing what we wear or what we gift – Perhaps will go a long way in defining our choices & our-selves.