Ways to live more sustainably
Sustainable living is one of the most important things for Madera Outdoor. This is the number one reason why, for every hammock purchased, we plant two trees - because that's how many trees it gets to set up a hammock.
However, it’s not just that. Our trees, planted in partnership with Trees for the Future, aim at reforesting and creating a newly sustainable and healthy environment in Sub-Saharan Africa, where entire forests have been cut down, leaving the local population subject to the effects of flooding. For these reasons, hunger and poverty stuck the area, not to mention the wider and global effect of multiple forests getting cut down.
Madera’s current projects happen in some of the poorest countries in the world, such as Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon. The goal is to develop garden forests that would provide farming families with sustainable sources of food, livestock fodder, fuel and forest products to consume and sell at nearby markets.
However, making a difference is possible in many various ways, some of which people usually don’t think of straight away. Indeed, many are the actions that would contribute to creating a more sustainable life, not just for you, but for the whole world.
Indeed, never forget that change starts with a choice and even the smallest one can have the greatest impact, especially in the long run. So the best thing you can do if you want to change the world is to start from yourself and from your daily choices.
How? Here are some tips and ideas on how to live life sustainably and what choices you can make to help the world be a better place, starting from your household.
How to live a sustainable life
This will probably sound strange and not connected at all with living a sustainable life. However, it actually is one of the most important things you can do to change the world. Indeed, a sustainable life is a life of respect for what surrounds us, whether it is Planet Earth, other people or yourself.
Respect means kindness. If you want to respect someone or something, you should treat them the way you would like to be treated, which means with kindness and care. Also, it doesn’t make any sense to promote a culture of sustainability through shame, judgment and blame: this will only encourage rage, conflict and individuality, which is not going to lead to any kind of sustainability.
To lead a sustainable life one must work together with other people, their community and Planet Earth in order to make it happen. Why can’t you live sustainably on your own? Because we are all part of an ecosystem, which both supports and has consequences on all the rest. To live a sustainable life not only we will need the help of other people and the Planet, but we will always have to keep in mind what footprint we can end up having on the environment (both social and natural) through our actions and words.
Think globally and give great value to your choices and your behavior, because they have it!
Pay attention to your consumes
What you consume in terms of energy and household has a great impact on the environment. Electricity, water, gas: they all have a great impact, in the way they get produced, transported and consumed. To use them consciously is a very important step towards sustainability.
The first thing would be, of course, to use renewable energy: sun, wind, water, these are all sustainable choices in comparison to petrol and coal, just to mention two. Devices such as solar panels can change the way you produce and consume your “own” energy, besides they represent a considerable help for your wallet as well. Indeed, sustainable energy is much cheaper, both in the short and in the long term, and for both yourself and the Planet.
Also, consume less. Shorten your showers, avoid taking baths, cover more and heat the house less, switch off the lights and all sorts of electronic devices when you don’t need them (standby is no good), and hang your clothes to dry instead of using a drying machine. Minute after minute, liter after liter, you will make a huge difference by the end of the year.
Be a conscious and sustainable buyer
In the age of consumerism, we are what we buy and we can make our voice heard through it. This is why one very important aspect of living a sustainable life is to choose with extreme care the products we decide to purchase, from the most basic needs like food to the most trivial ones like gadgets.
It is absolutely vital that we understand where a product comes from, how it was produced and transported to your door or local shop, what impact it's going to have on the Planet once you dispose of it and so on. Also, ask yourself if you really need to purchase that specific item. Indeed, the first step to being a sustainable and conscious buyer is to not purchase what you don’t actually need.
This way, you will stop being a consumer and you will start to be a human being who buys what's needed and always chooses the best and most sustainable option among many. Always remember: things get sold because people ask for them. If you stop the demand, you will stop the production.
Of course, this is true also for outdoors gear: not all materials and not all products are produced and treated in the same way. Some brands don’t take into account the impact they have on that same environment they make products to explore and enjoy. When choosing an item for your adventures, always pick the most sustainable one, even if it means you will have to spend a bit more. In the long run, you will cost much less to the Planet.
Cut single-use plastic
This is probably one of the most urgent things to do in order to save the planet. Plastic is suffocating the environment like never before. Single-use plastic is one of the most toxic and dangerous things there are. To eliminate this kind of items is one big step towards sustainability.
Shopping bags, plastic bottles, take away packages and wraps, toothbrushes, straws, and the list could be much much longer. Single-use plastic is everywhere, to the point we don’t even notice it anymore. To recycle and reuse is not enough anymore. It is necessary to stop it.
Once you will pledge not to use single-use plastic anymore, you will suddenly realize how much of it was actually present in your daily life. This will help you to raise awareness about it and make choices that will allow you to stop being part of the industry. Solutions are many and they all aim at eliminating as much plastic as possible from our lives.
Involve and inspire other people
As we said earlier, we are all connected to each other and we can all have a great impact through our actions and words. This is true especially when we use our actions and words to inspire instead of judging others.
If you want to spread the difference that you are trying to make, use your best skills to involve other people to do the same. Talk about it when you are with your friends, explain the reason of your choices without making others feel guilty for still behaving in a less sustainable way, but rather empower them to make changes. Use your social media to share useful content and information about sustainability, pollution and excessive consumption. If you are a skilled writer, start a blog. If you know how to make videos, do so. Whichever your art, use it to spread the word.
If you have children, or if you are a teacher, encourage your school to start programs that will help kids to become greener and more sustainable, and that will educate them to make conscious choices.
Other people might be more inspired and empowered by your actions and words than you might think, so use them wisely, especially when you come in contact with many people every day!
Mind what you eat and drink
Starting from the premise that we are what we buy, we also are what we eat and drink. Not just because of the ingredients we introduce in our body, which could either fuel it in a healthy way or just poison it, but also because of the way those ingredients have been produced, or what package they come with, or what brand they advertise.
The difference you can make with food is incredible. Start by shopping local: avoid supermarkets and big chains, opt for local small brands instead of mass and global productions, make sure to know where the food or the drink you are buying comes from and how it has been treated before ending on your table.
Also, always keep in mind the value of both water and food. Increasingly more people on the Planet don’t have access to them. They are precious, more than money and gold, so don’t waste them and don’t give them for granted. As for water, if you can avoid buying bottled water, do so. When you eat at a restaurant, if you don’t finish what you ordered, then ask for a box (possibly not a plastic one, so it is even better if you carry your own directly from home) to take away your leftovers.
Mind what you eat and what you drink and always know that you can really make a difference through it.
Grow your own
When it comes to food, one of the best things you can do is to grow your own. This way you can make sure to eat healthy products and to not use components that are toxic to the environment in order to grow your greens.
If you don’t have enough space, time or money to grow something on your own, then create a network with people that can help you. Maybe a friend of yours or one of your neighbors has the space but doesn’t have the time, which you do, and then someone else has the money. By joining forces you can end up having a nice and healthy crop to split between the three of you.
By growing your own food you will also develop consciousness in regard to how much work is needed to have healthy products, and you will be willing to spend more money on other items that are produced in the same way. You will also be more aware of what you eat and what you don’t want your food to contain, so that you will pay much more attention to all the rest of the ingredients on your table too.
Be active in your community
This probably encompasses all the previous points. Indeed, being active and helpful in your community is one of the best ways to encourage and create sustainability.
Collaboration, help, share and everything that sees people coming together to create a better environment will surely lead to less consumes, fewer purchases, more education, more kindness and more inspiration.
You can initiate a clean-up day on your street, or you can start an exchange market for things people don’t use anymore and can give to their neighbors in exchange for something else. Decide to share with more than one person in your community the purchase of something you all need, like gardening stuff, or a ladder, or a book.
If there’s a local coffee shop of a local bookstore, start a night per week where you invite people to talk about important issues, such as climate change, or pollution, or social care, and exchange ideas to make lives more sustainable.
You might pick one hour per month when the whole neighborhood switches off the lights, or doesn’t use water. You can decide to help each other to collect rainwater to water the gardens when it doesn’t rain. There are all sorts of things you can do with your community that can help all of you to live a more sustainable life.
Cooperate with people around you because together we can make a difference and create a better world.