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Sustainability & a green lifestyle

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Sustainability as well as environmental protection are current and important issues in society and politics. Individuals can also actively contribute to protecting the ecosystem and not further fuelling climate change through sustainable behaviour. What exactly does the term sustainability mean and what does a green lifestyle look like? You will learn about this in the following article and also which concrete approaches you can implement in everyday life.

Unpleasant but true

The ongoing climate change is slowly but surely becoming noticeable. The temperatures rise, there are more extreme summers, droughts, forest fires and water shortage. One heat record follows the next and the seven warmest years since the beginning of weather recording in 1882 all took place in the 21st century. As a result, there is a temporal change in the seasons. Spring and summer begin earlier, autumn stays longer and thus winter is shorter. In addition, global warming is causing sea levels to rise as water expands and glaciers melt. What most people don’t have in mind is that there are points of no return, i.e.  events which multiply each other. For example, glaciers melting due to global warming reflect less of the sun rays, which heat up the earth.

More facts you can find here: national geographic

The space to live on earth is diminishing, people lost their livelihood but we all have the ability to act. Politics and society are essential in guiding the fight against climate change, but each individual has a responsibility to contribute to the protection of our common planet through his or her behaviour.

What does sustainability mean?

Sustainability is on everyone’s lips. In everyday life the term most often is associated with products and mobility, but it’s more than that. Sustainability is an all-encompassing concept that focuses on human interaction with the natural resources of our planet

The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (United Nations on 17.10.2022)

Today, there are nearly 140 developing countries worldwide that are looking for ways to meet their development needs. However, with the increasing threat of climate change, concrete efforts must be made to ensure that today’s development is not at the expense of future generations.

What does a sustainable lifestyle look like?

Integrating sustainability into everyday life is not difficult, as there are many ways to do so. In general, a resource-saving lifestyle means that different aspects of sustainability are taken into account in behaviour as well as in action and purchase decisions. This first requires reflection on these processes, as we need to identify in which areas our behaviour may be detrimental to the environment and in which points we can expand our engagement.

There are different dimensions of living sustainability in which we collected some options for action for your everyday life. Nobody has to implement every single point. The main thing is to check where our way of life can be adapted in a sustainable way. This opens up the opportunity of entering the topic step by step.

Clothes & Cosmetics

  • Look for quality labels & certifications
  • Avoid disposable products
  • Buy ecological textiles
  • Buy natural cosmetics
  • Buy care products without plastic packaging
  • Avoid products with microplastics
  • Visit second-hand shops
  • Swap clothes with friends instead of throwing them away
  • Donate old clothes to aid organisations

Nutrition

  • Choose low packaging products
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Shop at local markets & farm shops
  • Try out unpackaged shops
  • Consume seasonal & regional products
  • Prefer organic products
  • Buy food with a fairtrade label
  • Eat vegetarian & vegan meals

Household

  • Avoid waste wherever possible
  • Separate the waste correctly
  • Avoid wasting food (e.g.: cooking or freezing leftovers)
  • Reusable products instead of disposable
  • Compost your own waste
  • Pay attention to the energy efficiency class of household appliances
  • Buy ecological cleaning products
  • Use organic fertilisers
  • Drink tap water
  • Make tap water sparkling at home instead of buying bottled water

Energy

  • Low washing temperatures in dishwasher & washing machine
  • Identify & switch off power guzzlers
  • Avoid stand-by mode
  • Use power strips with toggle switches
  • Do not preheat the oven
  • Switch off lights that are not needed
  • Improve thermal insulation

Mobility

  • Cover short distances on foot or by bike
  • Use public transport
  • Do several errands in one trip
  • Carpooling
  • Drive fuel-efficient
  • Avoid air travel, holidays are best planned by train

Workplace

  • Laptops instead of PCs due to lower power consumption
  • Avoid stand-by mode
  • Save paper (e.g. print double-sided)
  • Use recycled paper
  • Avoid colour printing
  • Avoid food waste in the office

We can all do something to protect our earth and thus the well-being of all living beings. It is not about doing everything perfectly, but about becoming aware of the finite resources of our planet and treating them with appreciation so that future generations will also have a secure livelihood.

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