UNPLUG, LIVE SLOW Series
It was when I was first trying to put my “Unplug, Live Slow” ideas into words that I started to see a connection between good living, old-fashioned practices, and sustainability. For me at least, my obsession with antiquity and ‘time before electronics’ led to slower living, and I found that slower living overlapped very easily, yet not intentionally, with my commitment to sustainability.
Eco-living does not have to be hard, and we don’t have to give up all modern comforts to do so. There is often a doom and gloom side of sustainability that turns many of us off from even trying - but there are ways to live a happy life, mindfully unplug from technology when appropriate, and still live in harmony with nature.
If it feels like nothing you do makes a difference, then what’s the point? My goal is to help encourage all individuals to take some kind of action, no matter how small - to show that everything you do does make a difference. Even a pebble cast into a pond creates ripples. Not only can taking small actions toward eco-friendly living help the world, but it can also significantly improve your life on a day-to-day basis, helping you get happier and healthier with each action
Here are five ideas and seven benefits to a happier, healthier, you. Oh, and of course, a happier, healthier planet, too. 😉
5 IDEAS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY LIVING
1. Self-propelled transportation
Consider self-propelled transportation to get around to run errands or even for social or business meetings. Can’t meet them in person but chat with folks regularly over the phone? Turn it into a walking chat.
Walking and bike riding is more eco-friendly than even electric cars. Plus, you’re building exercise into your day and making it fun rather than a chore.
2. Fast isn’t always better - try the slow version
Sometimes we rush through life just to find ourselves sitting at electronics that we find don’t bring us as much joy as we thought they would. There can be satisfaction in doing the slow version of things, in addition to having Earth-friendly benefits.
For example, try hang-drying clothes, chopping and slow cooking by hand, or finding other “slow versions” or inconvenient ways of doing something you take for granted. Use the time to connect with family, enjoy the process and meditate while you do so saving cost and energy in the meantime.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Upcycle
Only a small portion of all items that you’ve put into the recycling bin has actually been turned into something new. Much of it, especially plastic, ends up in a landfill. Instead of relying on recycling, we can start by reducing what we buy, reusing what we already own, repairing what still has life left, and upcycling by giving items a new life and new purpose. For example, take a rainboot with a hole in it and turn it into something else, maybe a costume, or even a planter! This can activate our creative minds and allow us to work with our hands to build something new and fun.
Consider unplugging from your electronics for an hour, a day, or even a weekend. You’ll save electricity but you’ll also open yourself up to other activities that can be fun, restorative, and relaxing.
5. Eat Local
Eating local produce is not only good for your body and social connections (visiting a local farmer or market), but it’s also great for the planet. The food travels less far, there’s less waste, fewer pesticides used, and you're supporting the local economy. You can also consider growing some of your own food, planting native vegetation in your yard, and composting food scraps either at home or encouraging your local municipality to start a drop-off or pick-up program.
7 BENEFITS OF THESE ECO-FRIENDLY IDEAS
These seven, simple ideas for eco-living not only help the planet, but they will also help you feel happier and healthier by incorporating eco-friendly, and often low-tech activities into your daily life. By adding mindfulness, exercise, and access to healthy activities and environments into your day you’ll:
(1) reduce stress and anxiety (2) create greater connections with loved ones (3) increase mindfulness and satisfaction, (4) decrease loneliness, and (5) generally improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. You’ll also find that by (6) slowing down, time slows down too, allowing you to fully enjoy each moment. And finally, something that everyone could use, especially now, these eco-friendly habits and strategies will actually even help you
(7) save money.
Consider these journal prompts
In what ways am I already happy, healthy, and eco-friendly?
What are some unplugging and eco-friendly activities I’d like to do more of or start doing?
How will these new activities contribute to a “happy, healthy, eco-friendly” or “slow-living” lifestyle?
How can I make them workable for me?
WANT SOME MORE ECO-FRIENDLY TIPS? ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE IN EACH OF THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL AREAS:
Review your home’s energy source - either locally (like getting solar panels) or see if your energy provider has a green option. Some communities also have community solar if you aren’t able to get them installed at your location.
Using good tech (like planting trees with every search with ecocia.org)!
Voting with consumer dollars by buying sustainable products from responsible companies. Also telling your favorite brands what you expect of them.
Contacting your local and state representatives to tell them which green initiatives are important to you.
Amplify the voice of others already working in sustainability. (You can help me plant trees and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by visiting ecology.com/lanakitcher)
Check out amazing books about sustainability and slow living. I have some recommendations on my bookshop.org page here.
Need a productivity specialist? Lana Kitcher is amazing at getting you professionally organized. From technology to time management, her advice is priceless. Implementing updated systems will streamline your day to day and ultimately save you lots of time and energy. That's invaluable.