Navigating The Overwhelming World of Sustainability

Now, more than ever, we are overwhelmed with information of all kinds being thrown at us left, right, and centre. Over the years, the topic of sustainability has been dominant throughout social media. With everything going on in the world right now, it’s easy for this issue to be put in the background as we turn our attention to the endless amount of circulating news stories.  

As a society, we have been diligently told thousands of times how to live a more sustainable life. Now, there are obvious changes we know we can make and perhaps already have. I (as well as many other influencers) can remind you of these things over and over again, but it’s not going to resonate with you. 

Switch to reusable water bottles, coffee cups, cutlery, straws, and grocery bags. Turn off the lights, don’t let the water run for too long when brushing your teeth or doing the dishes - the list goes on and on. These are all very significant lifestyle implementations, but there are a lot more sustainable actions that are often overlooked. 

Practicing making an effort to live a more sustainable life is very important, but you don’t have to do everything at once. Here are some relevant environmentally-friendly suggestions that you can aim to practice in your life. And remember, you don’t have to do them all, just start small. Don’t stress on being perfect. A sustainable lifestyle should most importantly be enjoyable! 

  1. 1. Eco-Friendly Beauty Products

    When we really start to think about our morning and nighttime routines, the majority of products we use can be extremely harmful to the environment. Whether it’s a single-use product, covered in plastic, or a mainstream brand, you could consider switching some of your current products to more eco-friendly options. Here are some impactful alternatives to be mindful of: limit single-use razors, switch to bars of soap, shampoo, and conditioner, remove plastic toothbrushes, switch to a menstrual cup, and consider investing in more eco-friendly makeup products or brands. And of course, buy some cute reusable masks! 

  2. 2. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

    During these times we are constantly at home with much more time on our hands to clean. Hanging out with friends has been replaced by wiping down tables or countertops in our spare time. Consider switching toxic cleaning chemicals to eco-friendly products. There are several affordable ones on the market right now. Even though some of these products may be in plastic containers, don’t stress. Again, we can’t all be perfect.

  3. 3. Eat Seasonal and Support Local

    Go to a farmer’s market! Eating seasonal foods and locally helps drive our community rather than supporting the global food system that affects the climate in so many negative ways. Not only do you receive healthier nutrients from local foods, but you better the economy as well. Be mindful of where your food comes from, even when shopping in major grocery stores. It’s now more important than ever to support our local farmers and businesses. They have faced a negative impact due to the pandemic, and it’s easy for us to support them while helping the planet along the way. 

  4. 4. Reduce Textbooks 

    Our new online learning platform has made this sustainable lifestyle swap much easier. As students, it’s important to try and reduce the amount of textbooks and hard copies of books that we use during school. Consciously switching to electronic versions of any type of reading material is very beneficial towards the planet as we move forward in our studies.

  5. 5. The Plastic Problem

    Plastics will always be a pressing issue in our society. I’m sure that you know of the devastating plastic pollution facts that have been circulating the internet for years. We are dealing with so many other climate issues that plastics have been pushed to the background even though their negative impact on the planet is becoming increasingly worse. Be mindful of the products you buy that contain plastic and avoid single-use plastics at all costs. Consider educating yourself on this worldwide issue. Let’s all work together to try and avoid the plastics humans have produced that are slowly replacing the fish in our oceans. 

  6. 6. Recycle and Compost

    These two actions are especially undervalued. Many people lack the information on how to recycle and compost correctly and the majority of society doesn’t make the time to actually do these things. If properly organized, these two practices can make a huge difference in your life and in the world. If there are two easy and cheap ways to live more sustainably, they would be to properly start recycling and composting. 

  7. 7. Minimize Consumption and Support Ethical and Sustainable Brands

    It’s important to slowly start adapting to this mindset of finding a balance between minimizing our consumption and supporting brands that we believe in. Spending your money is like a voting system - every choice you make can either be a step in the right direction, or a step in the wrong direction. The less we demand of an item (e.g. plastic), the bigger the trickle-down effect it creates. 

    It’s easy to get caught up in the materialistic world. For starters, when purchasing a product try to adapt the mindset of: “Do I really need this item? Is there a more sustainable option?”.

There is so much pressure to live a perfectly sustainable life. So much so that it's actually become less appealing to make an effort to do it. We are all hypocrites. We all splurge and get takeaway coffees every once in a while, we still buy things in plastic, we don’t compost because it takes up too much of our day, and we take long, hot showers in the depths of winter. And that’s okay. You can’t completely change your life in the blink of an eye. Just remember that no one is perfect. Not even Greta Thunberg. 

The most beneficial thing to practice, when it comes to sustainability, is mindfulness. Start with one simple thing, slow down, and find what works for you. And if you think one small change won’t make a difference? Know that it will.