What is sustainable living?
We most often think of sustainability in terms of protecting rather than depleting our natural resources. Reducing our trash and avoiding plastic are positive steps towards living a more sustainable life. Eating local foods, driving less and choosing responsibly sourced clothing and household products are key as well.
Yet sustainable living is also about reducing the stresses and demands that deplete your energy and vitality. It requires balance in your personal resources, your personal time, energy, creativity and passion. Having respect for your spaces, your home and work environments are all part of it as well. It’s about creating the systems that work for you in living the life you want.
We live in a consumer economy, so that we generally have to buy everything we use. Yet as a culture, we have taken this behavior far beyond our basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. Much of our time and space are taken up doing and acquiring things that are beyond our needs. Consequently, we feel we never have enough time in the day and our surroundings are cluttered and chaotic.
Sustainable simplicity means having everything you need for your safety, comfort and well being without all the excess. When we’re willing to pay attention, we can make choices that enhance rather than deplete our quality of life. Local food, responsibly sourced clothing and carefully chosen home and lifestyle products can shift our lives towards sustainable simplicity. When we’re willing to honestly observe our own consumer decisions, we can see where change is necessary. Sustainable living has to do with making conscious choices every day.
A Sustainable Earth Home
As for this earth we all share, sustainable living means waking up to the impact of our human behavior.
A healthy, balanced life necessarily includes some degree of cleanliness, order and respect for where we live. Most of us don’t dump nasty things in our living room or poison our own wells. Nor do we burn things that create bad air in the house, drop trash wherever or destroy things that happen to be in our way.
Yet that’s exactly the way humans have behaved on the planet.
A Way of Life
Sustainable living was once a way of life for our ancestors. It was the way of survival. Yet somewhere along the line, we began to think, act and live as if we are separate from nature. As the dominant species, we have behaved as if it all exists for our own use and benefit, that resources were there to be used up for our immediate gratification and that it doesn’t matter what mess we leave behind.
I like to take a hopeful view of this. Perhaps humanity is moving closer to a tipping point when our unconscious behavior is no longer the norm. We’ve all seen pictures of the plastic waste island the size of Texas. Or, heard the news that Cape Town is out of water. And, we’ve all had friends or family taken way too soon from some cancer that was once rare, but has increased exponentially.
Real Food Doesn't Come from a Box
Maybe more of us are teaching our children that real food doesn’t come from a box and that single use plastic is not a sustainable option. Maybe we’re all learning to get our hands in the dirt more and sometimes walk barefoot, look at the sky instead of our phones, consider what we put in and on our bodies actually does make a difference.
We created Lady Farmer to demonstrate, educate and inspire you in your personal expression of sustainable simplicity. We also offer sustainable choices in clothing and lifestyle products. Please visit our website for a wealth of resources and information, and our online shop for sustainable shopping! While you’re there, sign up for our newsletter so you can stay updated on all of our latest news and offerings, including the print edition of our book, The Lady Farmer Guide to Slow Living.