What is Green Living? 

Green living means adopting a lifestyle where we are more environmentally conscious about our patterns of consumption and we actively try to minimize the negative impacts we leave on this planet. 

Green living is an all-encompassing term, it includes changes we make to our eating habits, travel habits, spending habits, how we consume energy, how and what regular items we use among many more. 

This article will gloss over the main tenets of green living, what it means to live green and how we can all slowly adopt green living principles to improve our planet. 

What is Green Living?

It is above all a lifestyle, to live green is to make sure you,

  • are mindful of the waste you produce in your day to day life
  • do not waste more water than necessary
  • save energy or source it from renewable sources
  • actively reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle all your items
  • choose more sustainable options in your day to day commutes or traveling
  • source your food from local farmers and cut foods that are bad for the environment

The above list is the core of green/ sustainable living. Making sure every decision you make in life is the least harmful to the environment and actively trying to improve the system to make it more environmentally friendly is at the heart of green living. 

Remember, just like a healthy diet, green living takes a while to get used to, so gradually making small changes is more helpful than making several big changes all at once. The latter often results in feeling overwhelmed, and consequently, none of the changes stick. This is why it’s best to take it slow.

There’s a lot of stigma and misconceptions surrounding green living, there’s a public opinion that green living is expensive, often unrealistic, and is socially isolating for people who adopt this way of life. 

In reality, green living doesn’t have to be any of those things. Yes, environmentally sustainable products can often be more expensive than their generic counterparts, and there are cases when some folks feel socially isolated due to the eco-friendly lifestyles they adopt, but those are fringe cases. 

What green living entails: 

Green living, in its essence, is living an environmentally sustainable life without decreasing the quality of life. 

The definition of green living will always vary based on where you live.

It also depends on your socio-economic background. When making the switch it is very important to remember these aspects. 

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has released a framework for sustainable living which takes into account the people in the developing world and what we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint. 

The document highlights that people’s behavior is influenced by society and their consumer habits are limited by their socioeconomic backgrounds. It states 5 primary areas where sustainable or green living can be applied.

These areas are,

  • Food- to simplify it, keep in mind how your food has been farmed. We all know that excessive meat and dairy farming is a major cause of global warming. So in a sustainable lifestyle, you may reduce your meat and dairy consumption, or eliminate them.

    The source of the food is also important, it is often better to eat local and seasonal foods since transporting and storing foods is very costly in terms of energy.

    It is important to not always be swayed by fads and social movements, for example, avocados and quinoa are both extremely popular among the vegan community. What is less known is that thousands of acres of forests are cut down in South America to farm these products.

    Awareness is key. Where our food is coming from, what processes are involved in making these foods, how energy-efficient these processes are are key to making more sustainable food choices.
  • Household- How our homes are built is of serious environmental concern. The building sector contributes up to 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. What we build our homes with, and where we build them have severe implications on the environment. Procuring raw materials for buildings like wood, sand, and metal all release GHGs into the environment.

    In an environmentally sustainable approach, all things need to be taken into consideration, and in the future, better recycling systems for building waste have to be developed to minimize waste.

    The heat, energy, and water used in households are also of concern. Building homes with better insulation reduces the energy expenditure of maintaining room temperature in the house.

    Changing the lightbulbs to energy-saving lamps help reduce energy consumption. Using home appliances that consume less energy, and water is a start.

    As for water, it is a precious resource and we need to ensure we preserve it. Not leaving taps running while washing the dishes, taking shorter showers, and not wasting water while gardening are all ways we can minimize water waste.

  • Mobility- Mobility or travel is a major contributor to GHG emissions. The best approach is to push for the development of better and more sustainable fuels.
    In our daily lives, we can reduce our carbon footprint by taking public transport when possible, riding a bike, or simply walking shorter distances. 
  • Consumer goods- These include almost all materials we use on a day-to-day basis. This includes clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils, toiletries, etc. Not all consumer goods are made sustainably. It is up to us to do our research and invest in products that last longer and are made with more sustainable materials. Most importantly, we need to make sure we minimize the amount of stuff we send to landfills.
  • Leisure- this is perhaps the broadest category. Leisure implies the way we spend our leisure time. It could mean reading a book, going to a coffee shop, staying home on our day off, a holiday in an exotic land, anything.

    And how we spend our leisure time does influence our carbon footprint. Air travel is a major contributor to GHG emissions, whereas reading a book in the library is a much more harmless way to spend our time.

    Being more attentive toward which activities are more detrimental to the environment and what aren’t is a part of green living. 

These are the overarching areas where we need to make improvements. However, in our daily lives, it helps to have more straightforward and detailed guidelines on how we can live greener.

There are tons of articles online about how to actively live a green lifestyle without compromising on your quality of life. While you’re reading just remember one thing, your lifestyle will never fully match another person, it is up to you to cleverly incorporate green hacks into your daily routine. 

Conclusion: 

Green living is an all-encompassing term, it includes changes we make to our eating habits, travel habits, spending habits, how we consume energy, how and what regular items we use among many more. 

This article glossed over the main tenets of green living, what it means to live green and how we can all slowly adopt green living principles to improve our planet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is green living?

What does green living mean? 

Green living means adopting a lifestyle where we are more environmentally conscious about our patterns of consumption and we actively try to minimize the negative impacts we leave on this planet. 

What is the goal of green living? 

The goal of green living is to minimize our carbon footprint and our contribution to air, land, and water pollution. Moreover, to preserve natural resources.

How do you do green living? 

You adopt certain lifestyle changes. To simplify, you use less water and energy. You reduce your plastic waste, you recycle, reuse, and repurpose your old items. You make sure to compost what is compostable.

What are some examples of green living? 

To name a few, 

  • Use reusable water bottles, shopping bags, and cutlery. 
  • Use bars instead of bottled shampoos, conditioners, body wash, and dishwashing detergents. 
  • Use reusable cloths to remove makeup instead of cotton discs
  • Take public transport instead of your car

Why do we need green living? 

Earth’s precious resources are finite, moreover, a rampant, capitalist culture has done immeasurable harm to the environment. By living a green lifestyle, we can offset some of these impacts from harming the Earth further. 

References: 

  1. Living green – what is it? | Global Ecolabelling Network. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://globalecolabelling.net/green-initiatives-and-news/what-is-living-green/
  2. Green living – Appropedia: The sustainability wiki. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://www.appropedia.org/Green_living
  3. Definition Of Green Living – Green Home Adviser. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from http://greenhomeadviser.com/definition-of-green-living/
  4. The Definition of Green Living — Sustainable Baby Steps. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/definition-of-green-living
  5. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://www.greenmountainenergy.com/customer-service-center/green-living-tips/
  6. What is “green living” and what are some examples?. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://www.quora.com/What-is-green-living-and-what-are-some-examples
  7. Green Living Around America. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living
  8. The Importance of Green Living in Our Life and Environment | Green Journal. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://www.greenjournal.co.uk/2019/12/the-importance-of-green-living-in-our-life-and-environment/
  9. What Does “Green Living” Really Mean, and Why Should I Know About It? | Schneider Estates. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://schneiderestates.com/what-does-green-living-really-mean-and-why-should-i-know-about-it/
  10.  50 simple ways to make your life greener. (2022). Retrieved 3 January 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/29/50-ways-to-green-up-your-life-save-the-planet

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