How to Live More Sustainably (on Earth Day and Every Day)
Earth Day is coming up this weekend, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on how the ways we live our everyday lives impact the Earth.
There are changes everyone can make in their lives to live more sustainably and reduce their impact on the environment. These changes may not seem like much in isolation, but a series of small changes can make a big difference.
We’ve rounded up some tips on how families can live more sustainably, including some advice from Jaclyn Roster, co-founder of A Sustainable Village, zero waste shop and refillery in Manhattan.
Psst… Check out these Earth Day Events and Activities 2023!
Get Your Kids Involved with Sustainable Living
If you’re looking to make changes to live more sustainably at home, be sure to include your kids in the process.
“Children are at the forefront of the sustainability movement,” Roster says. “They just get it!”
Teaching your kids about living sustainably helps them learn about how our actions impact the world around us.
“Our children are watching how we interact with the Earth,” Roster says. “Being sustainable not only teaches your children how to live healthier and be better stewards of the environment, but also provides them with an understanding of the interconnectedness we all share.”
There are plenty of ways to teach kids about sustainable living. Some ideas include reading stories about climate change, spending more time in nature as a family, visiting sustainable farms and practicing recycling at home.
Start Composting at Home
Composting is a way to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. While composting in the city may seem like a challenge, there are ways to make composting work with an urban lifestyle.
Organizations like Hudson River Park offer community composting programs. Other ways you can get involved with composting from home include backyard composting, indoor vermicomposting or signing up for a food scraps collection service.
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to make composting work in New York City, check out A Sustainable Village’s Instagram, where one of their team members shows how she composts in her apartment.
Look For Places to Make Sustainable Swaps
Make your life more sustainable by swapping everyday items for lower waste alternatives. Some of these swaps can include wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, shampoo and conditioner bars instead of bottles, and reusable shopping and produce bags.
You may find that these swaps can help improve your life in ways beyond just reducing waste. That was Roster’s experience when she made an effort to cut back on paper towels.
“I have a daughter, two dogs and two cats, so rolls and rolls of paper towels were simply part of my life,” Roser says. “Once I switched to a combination of Swedish dish towels and reusable paper towels, my trash can is no longer filled to the brim and I’ve saved money.”
Sustainable Living Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
One of the largest misconceptions is that living sustainably is expensive. But that’s often not the case in reality.
“Sustainability does not have to be expensive,” Roster says. “In fact, we specialize in curating quality reusable products that last a very long time, thus saving money in the long run.”
Your version of sustainable living doesn’t have to be picture-perfect, either. Making small steps can make a big difference, even if they don’t look Pinterest-worthy.
“Our unofficial motto at A Sustainable Village is ‘progress not perfection,’” Roster says. “We believe any step, no matter how small, is a move in the right direction.”