What is Sustainable Living?

The phrase sustainable living has gotten quite popular these days. Whether it is advocating for a healthier diet or lifestyle, the term sustainable living carries a significant weight that encompasses food, fashion, and meaningful community choices. More than just a trendy buzzword, sustainable living can be a principle you can live by to be healthier and freer that benefits you and the entire world. 


Does it sound like a pretty intense concept? It could be. But the most beautiful part about learning more about sustainable living is how it often involves small, almost minute, life choices that, once summed up, could create a positive and significant impact on the world. 


Discover all you need to know about sustainable living and how you can apply it in your daily living by reading on.


Defining Sustainable Living

The first recorded use of the term could be traced to the Brundtland Report in 1987, aiming to provide a development plan that addresses multi-disciplinary issues and challenges. The report opens the world’s eyes to interconnected environmental problems that, if left unattended, could compromise our collective future. From there, the report suggested a development plan to prevent these problems from growing.


The United Nations had used the tenets raised by the Brundtland Report to build what we know now as the 17 point sustainable development goals. These goals touch upon different aspects of living - from socio-economic to environmental aspects. 


In a nutshell, sustainable living is a principle that guides individuals to live and consume within their means. Through our individual choices of keeping to ourselves, we help reduce environmental and societal wastes that could harm our communities and ecosystems.


This might sound like something bigger than ourselves — and it could be. But the core principle of sustainability is the interconnectedness of one element of the world to its sum. Meaning, your individual choices can affect how storms hit the coast of Brazil or thawing ice caps in the North pole. Our choices today could build up and affect the tomorrow of our friends from other parts of the world.


We have a finite amount of resources in this world. With the way humans are spending and consuming, there will be a point when our environment might not be able to keep up with our needs and wants. Sustainable living advocates for living within your means, not just financially, but in all aspects of your life. Do you need to upsize your cola? That cute sweater you saw last night — is that a need or a want?


Sustainable living could vary from person to person. Your definition might be different from another person who comes from another socio-economic class. But what grounds us all together is the collective effort to minimize the adverse effects of living excessively. What might be a small choice can be echoed and grow exponentially when done collectively.



How to Start Your Sustainable Living Journey?

The future might be daunting, but it is also full of hope and potential. Recognizing the challenges we are currently facing is just the first step of many. From the Brundtland Report, they even mention how sustainability is not a perfect state of harmony. Instead, it’s a continuous process of finding out how to grow with the world while achieving balance for everyone.


  1. Reduce Your Consumption

The World Wide Fund for Nature of WWF reports that the rate we consume resources is unsustainable. This uncontrollable consumption rate is the most significant source of environmental degradation.


What are the things we consume from the environment? It could be energy, water, food, or even clothing. Consumption spans a variety of things, and making an effort to consume less helps a lot.


Turning off the lights and other switches when they are not in use helps reduce our energy consumption. You could even try to check if there are any energy-saving alternatives available for your homes, like LED bulbs. These things could help you save not just money but also help cut back on energy consumption.


  1. Shop Organic and Locally

Part of the sustainability plan is to give back to communities in need. Your local stores probably carry better made and more affordable alternatives of fashion accessories or clothes that you could buy from the mall. On to the food front, your local farmers could be offering fresh produce that is organically grown for less than half the price of what you could buy from the supermarket.


Sustainable living inspires us to consider our choices very well. Instead of buying imported things sourced from elsewhere globally, meaning their carbon footprint is beyond imagination, why not check your local stores? Keep your environmental impact at a minimum.


Consuming organically is not limited to food. This concept applies to fashion as well. Fast fashion is one of the worst and most damaging things to happen to our environment. The fashion industry alone produces more than 10 percent of the greenhouse gases in the world.


So the next time you buy shirts, make sure you are buying from an organic brand. Ditch plastic accessories and try organic alternatives like wood wear. Not only do they look chic and fashionable, but they are also sustainable choices with less environmental impact.


  1. Keep the Conversation Going

Sustainable living works best when done with a community. There are so many people out there who have begun the lifestyle switch. Talking with them and keeping the conversation going is what helps and grows the movement. When we share what we know with other people, we invite more people to join our cause. The more people are mindful of their sustainable choices, the more significant the impact on our environment.


Creating a healthy community of people mindful of our sustainable choices echoes the interconnectedness of nature to each other. One small flap of a butterfly’s wings can bring about a gust of wind to another part of the world. One small talk with a friend can reach millions of people. Together, we can create a positive collective impact on our planet.




Sustainable living is a conscious and continuous process of being mindful of our choices and how they could affect our environment. From choosing to save energy to our fashion choices, sustainable living is a lifestyle that puts significance in living within our means. We might be a few individuals cutting down on what we are consuming from the environment, but our collective efforts make a difference. 

Learn more about how you could adapt to sustainable living in your current lifestyle. Please read our article on the ten tips you need to know to achieve sustainable living.