Four Simple, Sustainable Switches

It’s a new year and a perfect time to take on some new habits. Habits that help us live more sustainably don’t just help us, in the long run, they help everybody. A complete overhaul of your lifestyle isn’t easy- and usually isn’t lasting. Taking a few key steps towards sustainability, however, can lay a great foundation for living in tune with God’s creation.

In warm climates, tomatoes are good starter veggies because of their resilience.
In warm climates, tomatoes are good starter veggies because of their resilience.

Grow a new crop

Here’s something you can do whether you’re an experienced farmer, or totally new to the world of plants and soil: grow a new fruit or vegetable where you live. If you’re a pretty avid gardener, consider further diversifying your garden and adding one new plant. If you’ve never grown anything, give it a shot! Some vegetables like tomato and bell pepper can be great ones for getting started.

Seeing a homegrown fruit or vegetable mature and ripen is exciting, encouraging, and empowering. Plus, you can usually expect some robust, organic flavors. Getting your hands dirty to participate in the process of growing food is a great way to stay in tune with the processes of nature. This practice can also inspire a lot of wonder towards creation.

Note: I know I’m writing this from California, where it’s easy to talk about growing crops in January. Depending on where you live, you may need to wait a while. That’s okay, you can use the colder months to plan and research what space of your house is most ideal and what food you want to start with. Factor in the location of sunlight and the climate of where you live.

Composting can be practiced at small or large scale.
Composting can be practiced at small or large scale.

Start composting

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous suggestion. Composting is a fairly easy habit to start, and there are lots of great resources available online and elsewhere to help you learn how to make organic materials that serve your garden well. Composting can also drastically help cut down on your waste, as the nutrients in things like fruit peels and rinds can be repurposed for growing new foods.

It’s worth noting, however, that this habit can get messy and smelly. After all, it involves the literal process of decomposition. But check to see if you have the space for it. There are relatively inexpensive compost bins available online, plus plenty of tutorials on YouTube to help you get started if you’re a total beginner.

Bamboo toothbrushes can reduce plastic use
Bamboo toothbrushes can reduce plastic use

Replace your toothbrush for good

First off, replace your toothbrush. You need to do this every three-to-four months, as the American Dental Association recommends, but many people don’t replace their brushes nearly as often as they should. Replacing your toothbrush more frequently is a good hygienic move.

Wait… what does this have to do with sustainability? Well, if you’re simply cycling through plastic toothbrushes at a faster rate, then that’s probably not a good thing. But there are plenty of bamboo and wood toothbrushes that can be bought in a multipack at a low price online or at natural food stores. These break down more naturally, and take less energy to produce. It’s a simple switch, but those are the ones that last.

Eating produce that is still good, but less visually attractive, reduces food waste
Eating produce that is still good, but less visually attractive, reduces food waste

Say no to food waste

Reducing food waste is one of the most impactful ways that people can reduce their ecological footprint. The production and distribution of unconsumed food currently accounts for about 70.5 gigatons of carbon in the world. How much is that? So much that reducing food waste is considered to be the #3 most effective way to reverse environmental crises.

There are a number of simple ways to reduce food waste. You can look up creative recipes and cooking techniques to repurpose old veggies on sources like the Plant With Purpose blog. You can make a better effort to clean your fridge so that leftover lasagna doesn’t get forgotten in the back row. You can commit to being a more strategic grocery shopper, rather than buying without a plan.

Also, if Imperfect Produce is available where you live, it’s a service that buys “imperfect” fruits and veggies from supermarkets that are just shy of the high standards for shelf displays. You can subscribe to a weekly or biweekly subscription of these fruits and veggies. We aren’t sponsored by them or anything, just big fans.

Want even more sustainability tips? Check out the official Plant With Purpose Guide: 88 Ideas for Living Sustainably. Happy New Year!

Philippe Lazaro

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