This page lists several ideas on how to make your lifestyle more sustainable while maintaining and even rising your standard of living. Many require simple habit changes, while others require some investment or larger lifestyle changes. The top one will depend on your current lifestyle.
- Re-evaluate your job - It makes little sense to do every other thing in this list but then go work 8 hours a day in a job that undoes it.
- Fly less - If you fly at least once a year, then flying probably makes up more than 50% of your carbon footprint. Give a chance to local destinations for holidays, favor overnight trains or buses over short distances, pay extra for shorter direct flights and compensate your emissions.
- Eat less meat -
- Insulation -
- Cycling -
Flying[edit | edit source]
While air travel represents just about 2% of global emissions, that's because only 4% of the world population flies regularly (at least once per year). But for those that do fly, it typically makes up more than 50% of their carbon footprint! So if you fly regularly, flying is almost certainly your top source of emissions and reducing flights will probably be your top opportunity to reduce them.
- Give a chance to local destinations for holidays
- Favor overnight trains or buses over short distances
- Think harder whether you really need to go to that conference
- Pay that extra for shorter direct flights (your time is valuable too!)
- Compensate your emissions
- Remember that happiness comes from within
Transportation[edit | edit source]
- Location - The cleanest form of transportation is the one you avoid. Chose your next home wisely, near work, friends and family. If not all are possible, go near the one you visit most often. You'll not only reduce your transportation emissions, but you'll save lots of time too.
- Cycling - Bikes are clean, cheap, durable, efficient, compact, nimble, fun, healthy, etc. For short (and not-so-short) distances they are often faster than any other means of transportation. They can avoid you traffic jams and stress. They require low maintenance and can often be fixed by yourself. Many accessories are available for all sorts of special needs. If you don't have a bike yet, get one now! It's definitely one of the best ways to start living green and you'll reap the benefits the rest of your life.
- Carpooling -
- Carsharing -
- Electric cars -
Heating[edit | edit source]
- Insulation - The cheapest and cleanest heat is the one you don't need to produce. Decent insulation can reduce your heating requirements by over 50%.
- Clothing - "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing!" says an old Norwegian saying, and it's more true than ever with the abundance and improvements in clothing materials and design. Good thermal underwear and clothes can be an easier, cheaper and more efficient way to warm yourself. There's no need to wear a T-shirt at home during winter.
- Thermal mass -
- Geothermal -
- Stoves - Stoves are much more efficient than chimneys.
Cooling[edit | edit source]
- Insulation - The cheapest and cleanest cooling is the one you don't need to produce.
- Water -
- Geothermal -
Lighting[edit | edit source]
- Orientation - No house should need any lights on during daytime. Next time you move, look for good orientation and big windows.
- Skylights - If you're not about to move, consider installing skylights. Natural light also feels better.
- Candles - While unfit for many activities, candles and dim or sparse warm lights can also charm an evening.
- LED bulbs - If you're not using LED bulbs yet, don't even wait for the old ones to break. LED bulbs are much more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, and last longer too.
Food conservation[edit | edit source]
- Fruit - Apples, kiwis, eggplants and most other fruit are designed by nature to keep fresh for considerable periods of time. There's no need to keep them in the fridge, and if well arranged, can be very decorative.
- Greens - Lettuce, parsley, arugula and other leaves can be kept fresh for many days if left in water rather than a fridge. They serve as decoration too!
- Tubers - Carrots, potatoes, ginger, garlic and other tubers can be kept fresh for weeks if left under sand. If the container is well chosen, it can serve as decoration too!
- Fridge - Most people keep many things in their fridge that don't need to be. When removed, a mini fridge is usually enough for most households. They are cheaper, require much less energy, and also free up an extra kitchen counter which is often valuable space.
- Solar dehydrating - Solar dehydrating is the most energy-efficient way to conserve food for long periods of time.
Cooking[edit | edit source]
- Raw food - The fastest, cleanest, cheapest and most energy-efficient way to cook is not at all! There're so many raw recipes to choose from, learn one today!
- Thermal cookers - Thermal cookers reduce heat loss enormously and keep water at high temperatures with no further energy input.
- Rocket stoves - Rocket stoves are the most efficient wood-burning stoves and are also easy to make.
- Solar cookers - Solar cookers are a great alternative to barbecues as a way to spend a day outside with family and friends.
- Stoves - If you're using a stove inside your house for heating during winter, why not use it for cooking too?
Dishwashing[edit | edit source]
- Basins - Filling a basin with water and another with water and soap is an efficient way to wash your dishes. The basins can even be pots you used during cooking.
- Soap first - Soap everything first and rinse later to save water, energy and time!
- Avoid fat - Eating food with little or no fat has the added advantage of easy cleaning.
Clothing[edit | edit source]
- Buy second hand - Most second hand clothes are as good as new. They will save you money and help reduce the demand for fast fashion.
- Buy natural fibers - Every time you wash synthetic clothes, millions of micro plastic threads wash out into the drain and end up in the ocean. So buy cotton (100%), linen, hemp, bamboo, etc.
- Washing -
- Drying clothes - Use the sun! If too rainy, cloudy or dark, maybe you have a source of heat inside (like a stove) so hang it next to it. Drying machines are energy-hungry, expensive and degrade your clothes faster. With minimal foresight, you should never need them.
Personal hygiene[edit | edit source]
- Solar hot water system - The sun provides more than enough heat for a pleasant shower (50°C to 60°C) even in winter.
- Solid soap, shampoo and conditioner - Avoids unnecessary plastic packaging.
- Dry toilet - While not for everyone, a good setup can be odorless, save water and produce usable compost.
Trash[edit | edit source]
- Compost - 40% or more of your trash is organic and can be turned into useful compost with minimal effort. This also keeps it away from dumpsters, gets rid of the smell of your other trash, and gives you a big first step into gardening.
- Reduce - The cleanest, cheapest and easiest trash to dispose of is the one you avoid!
- Buy in bulk stores - Look for the nearest bulk store and go with your own containers. You'll save money too!
- Select - Select products with biodegradable packages that you can compost or burn for useful heat, like paper, cardboard or wood.
- Favor aluminum and glass - Aluminum and glass are much more recyclable than plastic.
- Carry a plastic bag - Always carry a plastic bag folded in your wallet or purse. They weight nothing and will prevent you from accepting many bags. They are also useful for picking stuff in the street (like a ripe fruit tree), for protecting your stuff in case of rain, and many other uses!
- Recycle - Throwing stuff into a recycle bin is not exactly recycling: it's giving it to someone else to recycle. Only a few percent of the trash gets recycled. The best way to make sure is to do it yourself. The easiest and most effective way to recycle is to downcycle (transform it into something of lower value). For example, turn your old clothing into cushion filling.
- Repair - Learning how to repair stuff will not only save you trash and money, but will greatly increase your understanding of how the world works, with the associated pleasure that it conveys, as well as that of the repair itself.
Entertainment[edit | edit source]
When all else is said and done, some people want to do more, but most prefer to just enjoy the moment.
- Games - Board, card and parlor games