Let’s finally get round to talking about sustainability. If you’re here, you’re more than likely interested in cultivating a greener footprint and more sustainable rhythms on this blessed Earth. Like almost any change, the process of leading a completely sustainable life is not a quick process, and it will take full investment in your everyday habits.
Since we are in the season of summer at the moment, I wanted to focus on how you can make your summer more sustainable, and planet-friendly. We live in a world where living more sustainably means spending more than we might like. I wanted to explore some more affordable ways of cultivating greener rhythms in the summer and creating more intentional purchases through the warmest season of the year.
The phrase ‘summer holiday’ is a common one, and the season of summer is used as a worldwide opportunity to travel abroad. Unfortunately, travelling abroad, especially by airplane, is an extremely unsustainable process. Binge-flying, holiday resorts, and all-inclusive packages, are becoming an increasingly abundant part of summer holiday travel. Something that is not talked about enough, is sustainable travel.
Sustainable travel is about taking the environment into consideration and valuing our natural resources. It means becoming more aware of how much pollution travelling actually causes, and how much your holiday will affect the environment and the planet.
Here are a few ways to make your travel more sustainable:
- Consider the most sustainable form of transport to get to your destination – do you really need to fly?
- If you do, fly economy, and take a direct flight where possible.
- Instead of hiring a car or grabbing a taxi, think about hiking from place to place – see the sights! Alternatively, you could hire a bicycle, or take the train.
- Travel slowly and pack light – take a more minimalist approach.
- Stay in locally-owned accommodation.
- Eat local cuisine and buy at local markets.
- Invest in local, wildlife responsible tourism.
- Learn to love sustainable activities e.g. hiking, cycling, swimming.
Creating a more sustainable environment for yourself isn’t an overnight process either. The key thing is to make small, incremental changes. It’s more sustainable for YOU to take things at your own pace and make changes that you think are going to benefit you the most. As well as implementing more sustainable lifestyles, we at Rhythm and Green, are raising awareness towards more gentle and slow ways of living, and that includes being gentle and loving to yourself when it comes to transitions such as these. For this reason, I have compiled a short list of everyday household object swaps to make the transition to a sustainable household easier for you:
- Swap from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo toothbrush
- Buy beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm
- Buy loose-leaf tea instead of individual tea bags
- Make sure your sunscreen is environmentally friendly
- Turn off the lights in your house and open the curtains
- Invest in a reusable water bottle and coffee cup
These are simple and mostly affordable swaps that you can make in order to make your household a more sustainable one. If you have already made all of these swaps, however, then here are a few more swaps you can make:
- Glass jars and Tupperware instead of plastic
- Reusable fabric/tote/net bags for your groceries
- French-press coffee instead of filter bags or coffee pods
- Reusable stainless steel straws instead of plastic
- Shampoo and soap bars instead of bottles
- Energy efficient air conditioning
- Solar panels or connecting to a renewable energy provider
Let’s have a think about our everyday rhythms and chores. How can we make them more sustainable?
For starters, think about going grocery shopping only once a week, instead of multiple times. This can save you time and money. Buying in bulk is a very sustainable way of shopping. Write yourself a shopping list, check what you have in the pantry, and buy only what you know you’re going to need and use. Conscious consumerism is as equally important.
Instead of going to the supermarket, consider making your way down to a local farmer’s market instead. Farmer’s markets are a way to ensure that you’re buying seasonal, fresh, and local produce. You could alternative try growing your own food – this can save you a lot of money and a lot of trips to the supermarket for fresh fruits and veg, as they’ll already be waiting for you in your garden.
Spend more time outside. The summer sun is warm and regenerating (make sure to wear a green sunscreen) and there’s lots to make the most of. If you can, hang your laundry to dry outside, making the most of the summer sun and wind – this will also save on your energy bill. Leading on from this, think about how often you really need to wash your clothes, and what kind of detergent you’re using. Try doing the laundry less and make a switch to an eco-friendly detergent.
The same goes for showering. If you’re like me, and sometimes catch yourself spending too much time singing in the shower and pretending the bar of soap is a microphone, then it might be a good idea to start setting a timer for your showers. Most people don’t NEED to spend more than 10 minutes in the shower. Another way to reduce your amount of shower time is to think about how often you need to wash your hair. The less you wash your hair, the less it will need to be washed (I know this doesn’t sound fun, and I hate having greasy hair as much as the next person, but your body soon adjusts and your hair simply doesn’t need washing as often).
Finally, take the time to think about what you’re consuming. Good habits to get into around food and eating include going vegan, buying package-free produce, bringing your own containers to refill stores, and switching to zero-waste methods of cooking and preparation e.g. I use a cafetiere/French-press to make my coffee instead of a machine or filter paper – this greatly reduces the days waste, just from one simple switch.
I hope that this article has given you some inspiration on how to make your household and your habit more sustainable over the summer. Let me know what you think and what you’ll take from this! As always, I’m open to any questions and suggestions! I look forward to hearing from you soon, and I hope you have a safe and blessed summer!