Taking responsibility for future generations
People in regional, rural and remote areas need to make time to do something which enables survival and underpins their very existence. Whether it is gardening, consuming local foods, or generally reducing, recycling, or reusing for sustainable living, it should top of mind in the day to day activities of communities and the people who live there.
There are so many things everyone can do to improve sustainable living. Perhaps the community in conjunction with the media, should start by implementing a program to raise the consciousness of the issues and engage community members in active participation.
Transport and equipment are costly sustainable living choices in the regions.
- Rethinking transport means. Getting a bike as a means of transport is an effective way of sustaining the environment, increasing fitness and of course saving money and resources. Using a bike will help in reducing the number of cars on the road, which means it will reduce congestion and pollution of the environment.
- Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle. Electric and hybrid cars, as well as avoiding idling, excessive speed, unnecessary trips and maintaining them for a few extra years, are sustainable living choices. Keeping up with the ‘Jones’ is not.
- Carpooling. What a waste it is to see so many people going to the same places with only one person in the car. A motorbike or motor scooter could be a more enjoyable option for some.
- Walk more. Of course, there is always the option of walking. How many people in regional Australia still expect to find a park outside the business they want to visit?
- Sustainable equipment. Always consider buying equipment which will last It will last longer and be worth more when you have no further use for it.
Managing the way we live
- Create an energy efficient home. Making home energy efficient is simple when people know how. Depending on the house, make system changes to how energy is consumed or even develop better ways of improving the existing energy systems saving. There are many options for improving insulation, solar panels, stopping drafts, replacing light bulbs and replacing air filters.
- Build new homes to take advantage of the sun. Wherever possible face the main living areas to take full advantage of the sun.
- Support renewable energy. Even though renewable energy is clean, it is no match for the fossil fuel industry, firmly implanted in our lives and able to provide cheap base-load power. One of the ways of supporting renewable energy is by installing solar systems in homes and businesses. Switching to the use of renewable energy will go a long way to improving the environment, but it has a few years to go before it can replace fossil fuels.
- Become more of a minimalist. We need to stop filling our homes and our lives with unnecessary ‘stuff’.
- Start a vegetable garden. There is a lot of energy required to grow and ship food, mainly fresh produce which utilises much energy and increases the carbon footprint. You might even become a supplier to your neighbours, who also share their surpluses. How many times do people go to the shops just to get one commonly used, easy to grow herb.
- Establish a community garden. It is an option, along with parks and community spaces, where people are not in a position to start a garden. Gardens of all sorts will provide pollinators such as bees, ants, and butterflies for plants which will help sustain the ecosystem and promote biodiversity.
Control how we manage what we buy
- Reuse, recycle and repurpose. Support the community organisations who recycle goods donated by people who no longer need them. It reduces not only overall community consumption but also provides cheap products to the less fortunate in the community. Raising additional funds for the community sure beats dumping unused, unwanted ‘stuff’ in the bin.
- Avoid plastic bags. Plastic bags which are mostly single-use end up in landfills and also clog the waterways and oceans. Reduction of single-use plastic bags usage is an effectual method of cutting down on the quantity of plastic ending up in the water bodies and degrading our beautiful environment.
- Avoid single-use products. The modern lifestyle demands convenience, and thus, single-use items are everywhere. These items have proven to be costly to the community and with devastating impacts on the environments. Landfills are full of single-use items like diapers, plastics bottles, disposable cups and utensils along with many other single-use Use cloth towels and napkins as they can be reused instead of using paper towels and diapers.
- Own a water bottle. The single-use plastic item which clogs up landfills while polluting water bodies is the commercial water bottles. Buying a reusable water bottle will end up saving money and avoiding the disposal of plastics in the oceans and community landfills.
- Reduce junk mail. Most people are sick of all the junk mail they receive in their letterboxes and put it straight in the bin. Businesses in the community should find other ways to market their products and services.
- Change to paperless billing. Most businesses still send bills in the mail. Paperless billing is a great way of reducing the dependence on paper; paperless billing will save on time and energy.
Start people making sustainable choices
Educate the community about sustainable living choices. Learning more about the environment and how individuals impact it, will enable people to treasure what they have as their understanding to grows. Sharing the knowledge is also part of the process; creating awareness is one of the steps in reducing environmental degradation.
Increase volunteering to support environmental programs is an excellent way of helping people in making sustainable living choices they make every day. It can be planting trees, funding tree nurseries projects, and collecting litter in the streets. There are many meaningful ways of improving the balance in the community’s ecosystem.
Don’t take the crime in your community for granted. Loss and damage to property is a hidden cost, and unless it impacts a person directly, nothing much seems to happen. Think of the cost of replacing all the broken windows in the town.
Encourage the community members to enjoy nature. Do things such as hiking or nature walks because they help in connecting people with nature. It reminds them why it is essential to put time, effort and energy in giving back to nature.
What will your community look like when the sun comes up tomorrow.
The reason is people tend to want more stuff, clothes, better machines, and homes. People think buying the expensive and trendy stuff is what life should be. However, as absurd as it may sound to some people, purchasing smaller houses, staying with old clothes, and buying fewer devices is a step in the right direction. Buying less makes every day more sustainable living for everyone, even though there may be a little pain for the people as well as the businesses in the short-term.
Start with some less obvious sustainable choices
I love my beef, pork, chicken, fish and lamb. However, animal agriculture has a significant impact on the environment. The process involves feeding the animals, butchering and then transporting the meat to consumers. Dietary guidelines will support a reduction in meat consumption and an increase in vegetables and grains. Everyone can make a sustainable living choice and improve their health and well-being. They can either become a vegetarian or just reduce the amount of meat eaten.
“Create new conversations, which will lead to better relationships, better health and better businesses as well as nicer places in which to live”. Peter Sergeant
“Reducing our levels of consumption will not be a sacrifice but a bonus if we simply redefine the meaning of the word success”. David Wann