Living a sustainable life is something that Western Society is becoming increasingly aware of. The word sustainability has been sprinkled almost everywhere in the consumer market from the grocery stores to housing. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines sustainability as “an economic, social, and environmental concept that involves meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
As a writer for tea and coffee magazines, sustainability in both packaging and product has become a normal part of my daily conversation. Consumers are looking for more sustainable products and companies are providing customers exactly what they are looking for. But is going to become another fading trend?
A Path that is Here to Stay
Part of living a sustainable life is recognizing the value in our resources: whether its local food or water. This practice of identifying the source of a product is the beginning of a path towards living a sustainable life. The local movement has helped make consumers conscious of their food, where it came from and in some cases how it was made. In a way, this movement has helped pave the way to leading a more sustainable life. Customers are becoming conscious not only about what they eat but where it is coming from. Consumers are also now taking the time to find out where products where made and choosing local resources and products.
Sustainability has been a part of a yogi’s life for decades. The yogi acknowledges the natural energy and power in our body. In fact, our body, breath and the world around us is what sustains us. Sustain: the core word in sustainability is really what this practice should always be about.
What do we need in our life to sustain both our own and our family’s well being? Take a moment to contemplate this. For each of us the answer will be slightly different but all of us will include Air, Food and Water.
Living a fully sustained life should combine the physical, emotional, spiritual and social. Each of us will have a slightly different balance of what allows to live a fully sustained life. It is not about living with the bare minimum, but about using what we invest in and recycling/reusing products when possible.
Being conscious and present are integral features for success in yoga and living a sustainable life. Sustainability involves taking a moment to evaluate your daily life and how can you make steps to living consciously and as a result decrease your own environmental footprint.
Tips to leading a sustainable life:
1) Be a Conscious Shopper: What are you buying? Why are you buying it? And will you be using the purchase efficiently?
2) Make a shopping list and menu and stick to it. The National Resource Defense Council reported that the average American wastes 209 to 254 lbs of edible food a year. 40% of the food purchased goes uneaten each month in the United States. As I took a quick scan of my fridge, I realized that I sadly played into this number.
3) Be packaging conscious. Choose items with limited packaging and reuse/recycle packaging as much as possible.
4) Group errands to limit the amount of driving time. Even better choose a more ecological form of transportation (walking, riding a bike or taking a bus).
5) Know what you have. Sometimes I find that my life becomes so overwhelmed with stuff that I end up buying products (like umbrellas) that I already have. By taking some time to organize your items you will limit purchasing unnecessary products.
6) Look at the life of the product before purchasing. Choose products that both last longer and can be easily cleaned versus disposable items.
Like yoga, living a sustainable life requires a slight shift in your awareness. I hope that you enjoy this process as much as I am.