Sustainable living is a topic we can’t avoid especially in these recent times. Climate action is a topic that has been trending lately. Experts and scientists have been warning for more than decade of the effects of green house gases, fossil fuels, ocean acidification and plastic pollution all of which contribute to global warming.
Most young people do not know about this issue, and among the minority that do, very few of them care enough to take action.
I want to encourage you not be lackadaisical and ignorant to these issues, thinking that it doesn’t affect you. Climate change is a consequence that all of us will face irrespective of our differences. Although some may feel the impact more than others, it’s still worth calling out that everyone has a role to play and that we need to embrace sustainable living.
Sustainable living simply put is living in a way that ensures that future generation has at least the same access to resources and opportunities that you did. Imagine if our grandparents and great grandparents who lived in previous centuries destroyed the planet before they died, that would be terrible. Sadly, this is what we’re doing in this generation. With our excessive consumption habits and reckless throw-away culture, our bad actions today won’t just lead to future problems but will affect us now.
Check out How to create good habits as a teen
Thus, if you’re ready to make a change to reduce these problems, here are a few ways you can live sustainably as a young person.
1. Buy fewer single use items.
Single-use plastics are one of the worst things to end up in our trash bins. Most plastics are made from fossil fuel, meaning their manufacturing process is harmful to both man and the atmosphere. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even end here. Plastics are non-biodegradable meaning they can stay buried in the earth or even inside the oceans for several centuries untold. These plastics sometimes break down into what is called ‘microplastics’ which researchers have found to contaminate both sea food and home water supplies.
Most of the items we use everyday are single use plastics. You buy things that are wrapped in plastic and nylons. Straws and beverage bottles you consume almost everyday are single use plastics. When you order food or eat out, you’re most likely served with single use plastics. Pampers, diapers and menstrual sanitary pads are made of single use plastics and the list goes on.
However, this rule just doesn’t apply to plastics. As much as you can, try to limit your purchase of single use items, especially when they’re not necessary. Opt for sustainable options when you can and be intentional and mindful of the things you buy.
2. Use less Plastics and energy Overall.
There are a few ways you can do this:
- Opt for wooden toothbrush instead of plastic ones.
- Carry reusable shopping bags and water bottles.
- Cut out straws and styrofoam cups.
- Use bar soap and powdered detergent (to avoid the plastic bottling)
- Switch off your room light and sockets when not in use.
- Don’t waste water. (It takes energy to pump them into your homes)
- Take fewer baths, use showers or buckets of water instead.
- Switch off electronic appliances when not in use.
- Compost food and kitchen waste. You can do this by burying them in farmlands nearby or grinding and pouring them in sand. (Don’t mix them with plastic!)
3. Donate old properties.
Old clothes, books, shoes, accessories, toys, etc shouldn’t be thrown away, except if they’re unrepairable. Asides living sustainably, you’ll be helping someone’s life by donating an item that you don’t use anymore to someone who needs them.
If you simply throw away every thing after use, you’re increasing your ecological footprint because the processes used to landfill or even burn those trash items pollutes the environment.
4. Embrace minimalism.
Less is more – a mantra for minimalism that simply means purchasing fewer items that serves more purposes. Buy only what you need, and if it won’t be useful six months from now, don’t buy it, unless it’s a seasonal treat or gift.
Also, rather buying too many clothes that only go with a single item, buy fewer clothes that you can mix and match to create multiple outfits.
5. Don’t be an impulsive shopper or a ‘trend-buyer’
Although this may seem like a problem only for the rich, you’ll be surprised to find that a lot of teenagers and youths are guilty of this, even those who are ‘broke.’
Stop buying things that you don’t need or even want just to roll with the trends. Trends don’t last long, and you’ll regret buying that overly priced item in a few months when the initial excitement has faded.
6. Spread the word,
Why solely embrace sustainable living when you can encourage your friends and family to do the same? Climate action is an example of “all hands on deck” situation. Thus, we should encourage as many people as possible to take positive steps as well.
In peaceful protests, organisations that are advocating change, small community cleanups, etc. You can also attend webinars and workshops that teach and promote sustainable living.
Volunteering is a great way to kick off your leadership skills as a teenager. And as a bonus, you can add it to your CV.
Consistent Small improvements = the Big Change.
Finally, it may not seem like doing any of these will have an impact, but trust me, it is the little changes that make the bigger picture. Besides, imagine if everyone took these simple steps, it would be a matter of time before climate change would become a thing of the past.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, please comment and share with a friend or family.
As always, Stay Safe, Stay Happy.