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What Will a Sustainable Life Cost Us??

  • finance
  • happiness
  • sustainability
  • together
  • wellbeing

This is a question that perhaps is one we look to avoid at times. Rushing around in day to day life, the thought of looking at making changes to positively impact the environment can seem completely out of reach and the concept of burying your head in the sand can feel much more appealing than facing up to some of the scary stats that we are presented with on a daily basis.

 

We are all aware that a change in lifestyle has to happen. It has been slowly occurring before our eyes. A trend to larger groups going vegan and beginning to invest in the ideas of sustainable eating. A more conscious effort to tax use of non-recyclable bags and highly increased accessibility of tote bags and ‘bags for life’ has been happening for really quite a while.

 

Fashion has even been very slowly but surely jumping on board, with a trend towards using Depop, Vinted and general use of Thrift shopping and selling pre-loved clothes. Companies are becoming more switched on to the changes in behaviour from the average consumer and even with a cynical hat on, companies have become very much aware that the ‘need’ to appear to be making a greener future. Endless promises about cars and houses using more renewable sources and lowering emissions whilst incredible, timeless speeches and moments from people like Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough all point towards an undeniable fact; our planet is changing and companies, scientists and a growing generation are worried about the impact of that change.

 

 

Growing up and a change in perception

Growing up, the main topic of conversation related to this was a decrease in species and global warming but if I’m being brutally honest, I was more concerned about the Olympics, the Premier League Table and not once did I really think about how my actions could impact everybody else on the planet. Academically, it was focused on achievement and being industrious.

 

The main focus moving into adulthood was built on the same foundations as years and years before me… “Be a good worker”, “Get a good job”, “Work hard and you’ll get x, y, z”. The fears came from far away and focus on extremist societies and organisations rather than the day to day actions.

 

I have seen that change. The term eco-anxiety is now prevalent and understanding the amount of food that is heavily processed and leading to an unhealthy life, not only for me but for everyone, it really has highlighted that perhaps there’s a learned behaviour we all have and perhaps need to shake off a little.

 

Socially connected or socially conditioned?

 

 

Don’t mistake comfort and convenience for helplessness

It’s the end of a day and you’ve had another long one. You’re still surrounded by a society that drives the message of ‘a working day is never long enough’. You’re shattered and just trying to enjoy the relationships and simple things you have. You will sit with a glass of wine, maybe ordered a takeout and tell yourself you deserve it or need it to cope with the ups and downs of life. It becomes a habit that is impossible to shake off.

 

We’re built to drive a more and more positive economy without the ability to enjoy the freedom to spend it in truth. Rather than instil a balance, purchasing has just become more and more convenient. You can click and BOOOOOOM!!!!, you have a ‘pain reliever’ delivered to your door rather than spend time embracing nature and the relationships you have. We even justify our purchases from the price, from the convenience, from the apparent need.

 

Now I’m a believer in moderation. You want a treat, you go have it. Living a perfectly healthy and moral life isn’t necessarily realistic in our current parameters but realising that you can make some changes is and this is where we actually understand what the cost of a sustainable lifestyle is.

 

What is the cost of sustainable living then???

When we look at a problem and it feels absolutely out of reach, we can choose what options we take. We can go on some sort of escapade or even pilgrimage, battling and believing we’re responsible for taking on every single negative action that’s affecting our planet. We can firmly lodge our head in the sand and ostrich the life out of this, pretending the problem doesn’t exist or doesn’t concern us. We can look at any action we’re taking and state that ‘it’s enough’; in fairness nobody wants to feel guilty or in any way to blame for the negativity that we’re fed on a daily basis.

 

A financial cost to solving sustainable living doesn’t really exist. We can estimate from the actions of larger organisations but it’s not reflective of our choices. We can collectively influence legislation and company procedures by supporting those that genuinely appear to have green ethics. We can also individually make some simple changes!!!

  • Recycle and Upcycle – it’s great fun and great for the environment and can make you money.
  • Learn a bit more about your food and do a small bit of meal prep – it saves the average household £500 a year. The simple swaps that help you look great and save the planet
  • Keep your work and travel choices low where you can. Public transport and walking a bit more makes a big difference to your health and the planet.
  • Budget your treats – we’re all human. We all just think F*** it sometimes but by building that in as part of your life, it’s less of a restricted behaviour and we’re less likely to over consume.
  • Get to know your local area. You’d be surprised how much less energy and consumption you need to have when you know what’s around you to be enjoyed.
  • Talk, learn and get involved together!!! Having a sustainable life feels a lot more exciting and achievable when you’re not the only one doing it.
  • Remember you’re not responsible for how a government responds! If you want a better community for yourself, start with your home, move out to your family, your friends, your street, your community. Before you know it, the small changes add up and impact the top-down decisions!

 

Why live sustainably?

When asking about the cost, it’s important to think about this from a selfish point of view. Thinking about the economy from a broad perspective is asking a lot, but thinking about how healthy you feel, what your bank balance looks like, what your work-life balance is like, thinking about what life is like in your community…

 

If you feel like you’re breathing in fresh air. If you feel happy and healthy because you’re mobile and eating clean foods, you’re already part way there. If you’re able to see a healthy bank balance, you’re probably spending less unnecessarily and even better, you’ll be saving money with your food and clothes – maybe even contributing towards a second hand and circular economy just as part of your life. If you need to recycle less, then you’re wasting less.

 

Living a happy, healthy, sustainable life doesn’t mean changing the whole world on your own. It really means slowly shifting your world so that your habits use a little less. If we all did that, we suddenly have a much more sustainable place to live.

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