Jun 28, 2012

DIY & Sustainable Lifestyles

Nowadays, consumers are becoming more and more aware of what goes into the products they consume. With this knowledge there are many who refuse to be a part of a system that endorses sweatshops, child labor, chemical additives, GMOs, out-of-control pollution, etc. Knowledge is power and in the days of instant information just Google that chemical listed as an ingredient in the cereal you like or look up the production for that brand of clothes that's so hip right now.

Besides just the ethical comforts, there is a charm in going back to the way our grandparents and great grandparents used to consume. It seems like the world was completely different back then. There wasn't "fast food" and there were no more than a handful of multinational corporations.

Though it's also key to remember that shifting over to a more sustainable lifestyle won't necessarily save you money. That said, you will get more value from your money, both for yourself, your family and for the planet.

There are a few simple steps you can take to ease into a more sustainable lifestyle:

1. If you can't make it/fix it it yourself, support a locally run business that can, rather than a multinational chain.

2. Learn to pull yourself away from the TV/computer and get outside. It's easy to forget about the importance of the environment's health on the drive from home to work/school in the morning. It's  especially important for us city mice to see what trees, birds and fresh water actually are. Otherwise these things just seem like images from travel websites or nice desktop backgrounds. Take a day trip and hike around in a nature reserve. Breath in the fresh air and just appreciate nature!

3. Make your own health a priority. Once you start doing a little research, you'll find that there are basic habits that most of us have that are ultimately unhealthy - and we're including mental health here as well, because mind and body have to work together. I mean, how many times have you come down with a cold when you're under a lot of stress? The key is to understand what stands behind the strange words that make up the ingredient list of all of the foods that we eat, more or less processed. The movie Food Inc. is a great place to start.

4. Exercise! Jog, run, do yoga, lift weights, pilates, anything Just keep your body active. We are creatures that are meant originally to hunt for our food, not just push buttons and sit comfortably eating it...

5. Step out of your comfort-zone. If you really want to make a change in your lifestyle, it means that you're not only going to have to stop certain habits, but you'll also have to try out some new things that may be uncomfortable at first - it's called building character. Don't be afraid to visit groups, places, forums, anywhere where you don't know anyone, and be willing to do it alone. Your current group of friends and family may not yet be willing to take that step with you, but that's OK. This is your opportunity to meet some new people who can help you. In fact, if you show up at a grow-op on your own, you'll be surprised at the enthusiasm from complete strangers willing to teach and help you learn!

It's often fun to fantasize about living a more sustainable lifestyle. It would be so much fun to be able to re-use, re-purpose and even fix the broken and worn out items that surround us instead of throwing out an buying new.

These are just a few possible ways to move towards this type of lifestyle. It is not something that is possible to simply switch into right away. There are no magical shortcuts, however these are some basic steps and methods that can be used to move your life in a more positive direction. 

Shai & Andrea

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