sustainable lifestyle

A GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES

A sustainable lifestyle offers a natural reason to use attractive high quality things, an in general a stimulation to look for extra qualities in ones life. Less focus on consuming new things makes it possible to gain more control over one’s time, to acquire more and broader knowledge and develop one’s creativity, and to have more time for friends and family. Maybe there are other things than the using up of resources that can grow – maybe ourselves. As a bonus we get a better consciousness about the future.

In every aspect of life, there are things to do that contribute to a sustainable future. Consider this a skeleton to expand and build on and add concrete examples. If a sustainable future will be a reality, it must include changes both in how we act privately in different situations, and changes within companies and public institutions. Many changes will be much easier in a different societal structure, something we have to build together. Take this as a list ”you may want to try”.

 

A. WHAT YOU CAN DO AS PERSONAL EVERYDAY BEHAVIOR

When you think about getting a thing you don’t have

BEST ALTERNATIVE: DON’T BUY A NEW but

* think once more, maybe you can live without it
* use something else that you have that can do the job.
* change an old thing, repair, adorn, transform it so it can do the job
* make a new from materials you have
* propose to share somebody else’s with her
* borrow one
* exchange something you got for it
* rent it
* keep your eyes open, you might find one
* buy it second hand

SECOND BEST ALTERNATIVE: when you buy a new – BUY WITH CARE

* buy durable things, lasting, timeless
* buy understandable things, that you can handle and care for
* buy repairable things
* buy upgradable things
* buy multi-usage things
* buy things can be used together with things you have
* buy things that don’t threaten the environment when you use them
* buy things that are produced environmentally friendly , with machines that live up to the features above
* buy poison free things
* buy recyclable things — with separable materials.
* buy biodegradable things
* buy reusable things, – not one-time things
* don’t buy things that use up unnecessary energy
* buy things that are produced near you, and minimize the effect of your own transportations
* buy unpackaged things (that’s the best) or buy wisely packaged things – that is: buy the packaging with care, too (see above).
* buy with someone else, share it, start a pool

While using it

* think about energy consumption, including kind of energy
* think about waste, pollution and other environmental effects from it
* get to know it well, care for it, look after it, adjust it to circumstances,
repair it early when it starts to break
* don’t misuse it so it wears out earlier, but find other good ways to use it
* if possible – share it
* be there, be conscious — especially of limitations, your own and that of the thing in question, don’t press it

When you want to get rid of something

BEST ALTERNATIVE: DON’T THROW AWAY but

* think once more, what is it you want to get rid of

If it doesn’t work:

* repair it
* change it- adapt it
* reuse it for something else— the whole or parts
* let someone else repair it

If it works:

* start sharing it with someone else
* lend it out
* let it out
* exchange it for something you need
* give it away, to a person or a recycling store
* sell it

SECOND BEST ALTERNATIVE: when it’s finally time, THROW ”AWAY ” WITH CARE

* Sort its parts, if possible, and give away for, recycling
* compost organic materials

When you eat

* see to it that you eat the food you got
* eat ecologically grown/raised
* eat things produced near you , sustainably transported
* eat vegan or vegetarian
* at least eat more greens and fruit and less meat
* at least eat more climate friendly meat (wild animals and fish, birds..)
* eat poison free food

When you travel

* travel in your fantasies, on the net, in media, in each others stories …
* travel less, don’t commute if possible
* use your feet, walk
* use human driven vehicles (bike, skateboard etc)
* (odd: use animals: ride let your dog pull you
* use public transportation
* use energy efficient transportation
* use non polluting or climate friendly transportation

When you are in your home

* use renewable energy
* shower and shower reasonably long
* turn off lights and equipments you don’t use
* have a reasonable temperature indoors
* keep your stuff in order

B. BIGDAYS BEHAVIOR — WHEN IMPORTANT CHANGES ARE MADE

When you get or change a home

* get a home with sustainable materials, see above
* get a non—polluting and non—resource—wasting home
* get an energy-efficient home
* get a reasonably sized home for your sustainable needs
* get a home near the job
* move in with people you like

When your get or change a job

* get a job that doesn’t imply using up natural resources unsustainably or in other ways harm the environment in the process
* get a job making environmentally good things – see above
* get a job close to your home or that you can do to some extent in your home
* get a job where you have influence over what you do and when you do it, so you can keep an eye on the above
* dare to judge the necessity of what you are expected to do at your job in a bigger perspective

C. AND APART FROM THAT

* talk and think about these things with others
* think about, search in yourself and talk about values that support these behaviours (social values like local and global community and self-reliance and personal values as creativitiy, thoughtfulness, broadened perspective and aquaintance with the whole)
* keep up to date with science and the sustainability debate, study and tell others what you found
* lobby people in power, vote and organize
* you may want to think about what the best moments in life are about, they may be rather sustainable
* look out for opportunities to contribute and make a difference

D. WHAT YOU CAN DO WHEN YOU RUN A COMPANY

Act as sustainably as possible

* make good things — make it possible and easy to follow the advice above (repairable, upgradable, recyclable, energy efficient, non-toxic etc)
* Improve the weakest points, where the thing usually breaks first
* try to make your products understandable and easy to handle for everyone and make good manuals and instructions
* inform of all essential qualities of the products following them and in advertising, including materials, energy consumption, social and ecological consequences of production and use
* use machines and processes that live up to the qualities mentioned above
* deliver services on the same conditions
* let your employees take part in the decisions – promote responsibility and cooperation, it breeds quality
* engage in your local problems and possibilities, be a resident in your community
* if you’re too big for regional adaption and real influence of your people — split up the company
* really listen to your customers, don’t try to persuade them
* see yourself as a global citizen, taking part in your local society

Abstain from questionable behaviours as the following

(if you don’t do such things, don’t read this 🙂
* Release your inventions one at a time, so people first buy the small/simple version and the upgrade
* Establish yourself on new markets using the same pattern there also
* Plan so the products age and break after a suitable number of years
* Try to introduce year models and fashion thinking that make things ”obsolete” before they stop functionning
* Sell bundles of things, that force people to buy more than they need
* Invent unnecessary “special tools” that do what existing tool already can do
* Play on our lowest instincts to sell your things
* Treat your people as abstract, anonymous “labour force”
* Provoke with big differences in wages and salaries, that lead to amenity, shortsightedness and ego fixation

E. WHAT YOU WITH POLITICAL POWER CAN DO

* make laws and regulations
* issue taxes and fees
* give subsidies and support

* abolish laws and regulations
* abolish taxes and fees
* abolish subsidies and support

… to promote sustainable behavior by individuals and companies

* Promote sustainable practices in public businesses and organizations
* behave sustainably and righteously in your own administration, let your people be good examples, especially publicly visual people

 

GOOD LUCK!

This should be a book, and maybe a special website with concrete tips, if you want to support such a project, contact me.

Anders Erkéus
anders@erkeus.se
+46 700222198
+46 86434241