Sustainability often conjures images of recycling, bicycling for transportation, and other methods of conserving our planet’s resources. While the definition of sustainability is to prevent natural resource depletion and to maintain long-term ecological balance, sustainability plays a larger role than just that of environmental impact. It is a necessary part of a healthy world, which includes the health of animals and people. Sustainability is vital to a healthy and frugal lifestyle.
Authenticity Over Consumerism
One of the key elements of being sustainable is to waste less. Consumerism is an expensive lifestyle; material items are expensive, and consumerism leaves an empty feeling that is only filled by shopping. It also leaves us looking to our peers to compare what we have with what they have. Consumerism is a cycle that leads to debt and misery because we are always chasing the next big thing instead of enjoying what we have and the people and nature around us. On the other hand, minimalism supports sustainability. Having fewer material items means less packaging waste, less space needed to store the items, and less money spent. Without material items to define yourself, you must define yourself by who you are. This allows for deeper, more meaningful relationships in your life. In the end, it’s the love and experiences that are important, not the amount of items we can acquire. When we move away from consumerism and toward sustainability, we can also build our relationship with the earth that sustains us all.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Planet
There is a connection between the body and the mind, and a healthy body nurtures a healthy mind. By eating whole foods and exercising, your body will be healthier. You’ll have a better immune system to avoid sickness or to allow your body to fight off sickness much quicker. You’ll also have a better outlook on life. Exercise and eating right is good for mental health. There is also research that spending time in nature is good for our mental health. This study talks about how something as simple as a walk in the forest is beneficial. And while eating healthy is better for your body, it’s also better for the planet. Processed foods are often highly packaged, which leads to a great deal of waste. Whole foods are just that: whole. They have little to no packaging, and usually if they have any packaging, it’s recyclable or compostable. When we live a healthy lifestyle, it impacts more than just our own lives.
Sustainability Benefits Us All
Maintaining life on earth requires that the earth has the resources to support that life. If we deplete those resources, life on earth will suffer. These things may seem obvious, but it’s difficult to believe one person can have an impact in a problem that is huge. However, reducing our waste, even a small amount, has an impact. With the average American producing 4.3 pounds of waste per day, reducing our waste is imperative to the continued health of people and the planet. Landfills release toxic chemicals, most notably methane, into the air, and leach dangerous chemicals into the groundwater. These chemicals endanger all life on the planet. It is in our best interest to live more sustainably by choosing to reduce how much we buy and to recycle and compost when possible.
While sustainability is about maintaining and preventing the loss of the earth’s resources, it is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle. The more sustainable we are, the better we feel mentally, and the healthier we are likely to eat and live. While the problems of maintaining the earth’s resources are huge, little steps add up fast. Each person makes an impact on the earth’s resources. It’s up to you to make that impact a positive one.
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