Sustainable Living – Eating Habits To Sustain You And Our Planet

There have been numerous talks about sustainable living over the past decade and a half. The fast-depleting natural resources and the ever increasing burden on planet Earth are urging people to alter their lifestyles. The economists believe that if we continue living the way we are living at present, planet Earth will become unliveable in around 100 years.

A lot has been said and written about sustainable living, but there’s little to no attention paid to sustainable eating. Today, we are well aware of the lifestyle changes that we need to make to honour the sustainability of our planet but, what is sustainable eating?

What is Sustainable Eating?

Wikipedia defines sustainable eating or sustainable diet as “Eating habits with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutritional security and healthy lives for the present and future generations.

 Sustainable diets are known to be respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems. They are affordable, are nutritionally adequate, safe, and healthy.

While the concept of sustainable living focuses on reducing the impact of human lifestyle on the environment by adopting eco-friendly ways of living; the idea of sustainable eating focuses on the agricultural aspect of living. It includes the production and consumption of food along with the farming techniques and practices that help in conserving the natural resources thereby reducing the impact on the environment. It is about choosing foods that are healthy not only for our bodies but also the environment.

According to the EAT-Lancet commission (2019), if we want to feed the world’s growing population, there needs to be a global shift towards more plant-based foods than animal-based foods. The livestock production is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases accounting to 18% of total anthropogenic emissions which is 5% more than the transportation sector.

5 Simple Sustainable Eating Habits to Adopt

As established above, the impact of our dietary choices on the environment cannot be undermined. Adopting sustainable eating habits will not only help in saving the planet but also improving our overall health. Here are five simple and easy to adopt sustainable eating habits:

  1. Eat less and better quality meat

Animal-based food is the most significant contributor to the total environmental emissions especially red meat and dairy products. They are the most energy-intensive manufacturing processes that release harmful greenhouse gases. Reducing the consumption of animal-based foods on a routine basis can prove to make a huge impact on decreasing the carbon footprint. You don’t need to give up on meat completely. Practice flexitarian dietary habits, and you can contribute hugely to this cause.

  1. Curb Food Wastage

Food wastage is a global issue that needs our immediate attention. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) – 1.3 billion tonnes of food, which is one-third of the food produced for human consumption, gets wasted or lost per year. As per FAO estimations, 40% of the food produced in India gets wasted or lost per year. This loss costs a whopping 1000 crores every year. Food wastage can be curbed through simple buying and eating habits. Buy only as much food as required for consumption. Instead of throwing away the leftovers, consume them the next day or serve it to the needy. If every household consciously decides to contribute to this cause, the food wastage percentage can be brought down remarkably.

  1. Try Organic Farming and Eating

Farming and agricultural has resorted to unhealthy practices for producing food to meet the growing consumption demands. The use of synthetic fertilisers is deteriorating the soil quality thereby upsetting the marine eco-balance and human health. Organic farming prohibits the use of harmful chemicals and artificial fertilisers for the production of food. By adopting organic farming practices, one can add to the cause. Moreover, you can support this by buying organically produced food products.

  1. Eat Seasonal Produce

In today’s time, it is difficult to establish seasonal foods/fruits as everything is available around the year. Ever wondered how did this become possible? The year-round availability of foods and fruits is a result of unethical farming practices that meddle with the climatic conditions for production. Eating unseasonal produce is harmful to both human health and the environment. You can contribute to this cause by avoiding the purchase of unseasonal fruits and vegetables.

  1. Shop Locally

Shopping locally is one of the simplest and best ways to promote sustainable living. The local produce doesn’t require transportation which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. By consuming locally produced food products, you not only help in saving the environment but your money also.

To make this planet liveable for the coming generations, we need to do our bit. Every individual effort counts in bringing this change. Adopt sustainable eating habits and urge your family and friends too to be a part of this cause.

 

Let’s Talk About Sustainable Packaging

In our efforts to be more conscious about the way we consume, we may choose to buy “natural” or “organic” products, thinking that once you’ve made the purchase, the work is done. But, have you ever stopped to consider the environmental impact of the packaging of your product? To put our choices into perspective, here is something to consider: There is a patch of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean which has been measured by satellite imagery, this patch of garbage is mostly comprised of plastic and spans across 1.6 million square kilometers. A lot of this garbage is plastic and has a catastrophic effect on biodiversity and even human health. These microplastics disintegrate when subjected to heat and are consumed by the fish, making their way to the very top of the food chain, so yes, this devastating effect trickles down to you too.

Now, there are garbage patches like this all over the world’s oceans, including our Indian ocean. And each of these patches has an estimated amount of 80,000 metric tons of plastic. Such is the terrible effect of packaging on our planet. After reading these numbers, doesn’t the ban on plastic in the state of Maharashtra make more sense to you? There are plenty of sustainable materials which can serve the same purpose, in fact, many countries are even banning the production and use of single-use plastic.

So what is sustainable packaging?

Simply put, it is packaging which has a longer life cycle and reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint. It takes into consideration the entire life cycle – from the whole supply chain, from production to the end of its life, everything is taken into consideration.

What can we gain from sustainable packaging?

The long-term goal is to improve the quality of the ecosystems, without compromising on the functionality for the consumer. It’s the brainchild of economics and functionally so that the environment and the future generations do not have to pay the price for our consumerism.

Why is sustainable packaging the need of the hour?

Because we need packaging that’s biodegradable, we need options which allow conscious citizens to recycle or reuse plastic, we need to provide solutions which are long term, and we must take into consideration the ramifications of our actions. There is nothing that’s more important than conserving our natural resources, and sustainable packaging is a huge part of this.

What are the products that you need to be wary of?

There are some products which are used every day and have very short product lifecycles. Such products are single use and are usually discarded within a few hours of using the product. Such products include daily grocery staples such as butter, milk, grains, toothbrushes, earbuds, and razor blades. A lot of this plastic is single use, which means that even if you send it to a recycling facility, there’s not much that they will be able to do with it. As a result, all of this plastic waste gets dumped into rivers and water bodies which ultimately empty out into the oceans.

This vicious cycle continues because simple items like milk delivered in plastic bag are something that we consume every day. So when you think about doorstep delivered milk, for example, not only is the product itself could be adulterated which the packaging can do nothing to prevent, but the packaging is also a major pollutant. What’s more is that you consume milk every day, so you end up being a huge contributor to waste which upsets the ecological frameworks of the planet. Feeling distressed? It doesn’t have to be that way! Tetra packs come with tamper proof sealants and are made with biodegradable materials. These materials are selected based on the supply chain of the materials, important questions such as the greenhouse gases produced in the making of the packaging, the processes involved, and the even the resources spent on sourcing the raw materials required to assemble the packaging are considered. So when it comes to packaging, remember that as a consumer, you have a choice, choose for the planet, and choose sustainability!

 

15 Simple Ways To Embrace Sustainable Living

The ever-increasing human population and our untenable lifestyles have burdened the environment with a pressing need to switch to sustainable lifestyles. Our dependency on technology and non-renewable resources and non-recyclable products has added to the environmental woes.

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that helps people in reducing their dependence on non-renewable energy and non-recyclable products thereby diminishing the ever increasing burden on the environment. Sustainable living is all about choosing the products that felicitate sustainability of the environment. It can be done by bringing in some simple changes in your current lifestyles.

The depleting ozone layer has been a grave concern since last three decades now. The ozone layer has thinned substantially since the 1980s and the way we are headed, there seems a bleak hope of any respite. The ozone layer absorbs around 97-98% of the harmful UVB rays which, if reach the earth, can cause severe damage not only to the humans but also to the flora and fauna thereby making life impossible on the planet.

Simple Ways to Embrace Sustainable Living

By adopting sustainable living one can help in reducing their carbon footprint and other environmental impact. Start with bringing these simple changes in your routine:

  1. Plan Your Meals to Avoid Wastage of Food

The easiest and simplest way to avoid wastage of food is to properly plan your meals. The food waste dumped in the landfills becomes a source of production of methane which is far more harmful than carbon dioxide for the environment. Cook in small quantities and if you still can’t avoid or reduce food waste, compost it in your house rather than throwing it out in the trash bins.

  1. Conserve Energy by Saving Electricity

The most commonly said thing when talking about sustainable living is to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption. More often than not, the argument is made that how can one live without electricity in today’s time. No, we are not asking you to give up using it altogether. Use it wisely is all we say. Turn off the lights, fans, TV and other electronic items when not in use. Use natural light during daytime. Buy electronics with 5-star rating for energy conservation. Set your AC temperature at 24 degree Celsius and above.

  1. Replace Old Lights with Energy Efficient Lights

Replace the old bulbs with CFL or LED lights. They are long-lasting and lighter on power consumption. The traditional bulbs consume more power and don’t last long hence creating electronic waste in the landfills.

  1. Give up on Disposable Cutlery

Buying takeaways add to the ever-increasing problem of plastic waste. If you are headed home then avoid taking disposable cutlery from the food joint. You can completely give up on disposable cutlery by getting into the habit of carrying a steel fork and spoon in your bag every day.

  1. Give up on One-Time Use Plastic

The recent plastic ban in Maharashtra state created a ruckus in the market. The non-decomposable plastic has created major environmental issues in the recent times. The sewages are choked and rainwater doesn’t recede thereby causing flood-like situations in cities. The soil is becoming infertile too. Say no to one-time use plastic like shower caps, poor quality polythene bags, packaging material etc.

  1. Use Public Transport or Carpool

Stop commuting to your office in your vehicle every day. Carpool with a few other colleagues or opt for public transport as much as you can. This will not only help you in saving on your fuel costs but will also help the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

 

  1. Cycling or Walking for Short Distances

You don’t need to take out your bike every time you go to the neighbourhood grocery store. Either choose to cycle or walk when it is a short distance.

  1. Use Natural Light

Build homes and create spaces that allow sunlight in your house and office. Using natural light will cut down on the usage of electricity. Unwind those blinds and curtains during the daytime. Built ecological and environment-friendly spaces.

  1. Use Water Wisely for Household Chores

In most of the houses, the household chores are taken care of by the domestic helpers. You need to educate them about the need and importance of using water wisely. Train them to use water efficiently while carrying out the mundane household chores like washing dishes and clothes, cleaning floors and cars etc.

  1. Buy Energy-Efficient Electronics

Nowadays, electronic products have ratings in the form of stars with 1 being the least and 5 being the highest. These star ratings are based upon the electronic product’s energy efficiency. Buying electronics with higher star rating help in cutting down the consumption of electricity. It is advisable to opt for 5-star rated electronic products.

  1. Reuse Polythene Bags and Other Plastic Products

If you cannot avoid using plastic products entirely then it is a good idea to reuse them instead of dumping them in the trash bin. Polythene bags can be reused for a very long period of time along with other plastic products like bottles and boxes. These bottles can be water bottles, cold-drink bottles, or your shampoos and conditioners. Reuse the packaging boxes after consuming the product.

  1. Give up on Paper Products

The increasing dependency on paper products is directly proportional to the decreasing number of trees. Giving up paper products like paper cups, plates, tissues etc. can help a lot in creating a greener and healthier environment.

  1. Create Community Gardens & Parks

Create green spaces in and around your locality. Rope in people who might be interested in the cause. Educate people about the need and importance of planting trees in open and unused spaces. Greener planet is one way of rescuing it from the adverse effects of our lifestyles.

  1. Reuse and Recycle

The best way to adopt a sustainable lifestyle is to practice the habit of reusing and recycling products. Think twice before dumping something into the trash can. Try and think of alternate uses for non-decomposable and non-recyclable products.

 

 

  1. Adopt Minimalist Lifestyle

Choose a minimalist lifestyle to help save the environment. At first, a minimalist lifestyle may seem impractical and impossible, but all it takes to practice this lifestyle is to live wisely. Choose products that don’t have a harsh implication on the environment. Buy things like cars and electronics only if you need them.

Sustainable living is the need of the hour. If we don’t adopt a sustainable lifestyle, in the coming years, we would be forced to live in a miserable environment. The environmental woes cannot be neglected any further. Scientific researches show that in the coming century, Earth will become unliveable with the rate at which the natural resources are depleting. So start small, but start now!