Conscious Consumption & Sustainable Living
We live in an era where consumers are now more familiar with sustainable living, saying no to plastic, going vegan and making sure to save our environment however we all need to take a step and begin somewhere. If you’re one that’s looking to make a change in your lifestyle but aren’t sure where to begin, Connect with Nature, a programme that encourages youth to protect the environment has embarked on an initiative to conscious consumption.
It doesn’t cost you any extra or require any additional time out of your schedules, you can be in the comfort of your home, by your office desk, in a classroom, at the beach or even at the mall and make a difference. Our environmental enthusiasts bring to you top 10 tips on conscious consumption and how they choose to live a healthier and sustainable lifestyle.
You do not need to make a big transformation overnight or within a week, it takes time to get used to a change. Our future environmental ambassadors suggest starting with small alterations in your lifestyle and gradually making your way to bigger and better changes.
1. Reduce the Use of Single Use Plastic
As you may know, one of the main problems faced in the current generation is the use of plastic. In a realistic world, there’s no way we can completely banish out plastic overnight however, as mentioned earlier starting small can really make a big difference.
Doua Benhida, Founder of Zero Waste Collective said, “I have become 100% zero waste: from grocery shopping where I carry my own reusable items to saying no to the straw at restaurants & even carrying my containers when I’m out and about for any to go, or leftover food! I have become aware, more importantly – being aware about the problem, will help you in taking action to reduce your plastic consumption and simply live a more sustainable lifestyle”.
2. Cut Down on Meat Consumption
It might come as a surprise to some, but agriculture is known to be one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Consuming lesser meats can be another vital step to living a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
Nadia AlKhatib, Environmental Activist and Vegan Blogger suggests starting with what’s on your plate. “Choosing greens over meats and dairy can be a benefit not only to the environment but also for your body. A vegan diet is always recommended however, even starting by eliminating meats on a daily basis can be the first big step in saving our natural resources”.
3. Reduce Food Waste
We totally understand the agony of seeing something exciting on the menu but also having your favourite signature meal at a restaurant and not being able to decide whether you want to order both meals or one. Based on a recent research report released by the Dubai Industrial Park and The Economist Intelligence Unit, annual food waste in the UAE is estimated at 197 kg per person, compared with 95 to 115 kg in Europe and North America, making food wastage one of the major crisis in the UAE.
Every time you decide to order additional food in thoughts of it being insufficient, keep in mind that food waste eventually ends up at landfill sites making it decompose or rot and emit methane gas.
Doua Benhida, Founder of Zero Waste Collective states that she chose to do composting to reduce the food waste at home, and take better care of plants, additionally, it also helps in getting rid of plastic bags in the kitchen.
4. Support Fair Trade Products
Fairtrade has been shown to increase standards of living and reduce risk and vulnerability for farmers and workers. Environmental activist, Nadia AlKhatib said she chooses fair trade collections over fast fashion since it is good for the environment and supports sustainable farming practices which helps to minimise our environmental footprint.
5. Think Before You Purchase Sustainable Living
Consider what you really need instead of want. When buying products, it’s always important to make sure you consider how long the item would last, would you be able to recycle, and reuse the product once you’ve decided to buy it.
By consuming less, you dispose a less amount of waste. Amruta Kshemkalyani, Environmental Activist and supporter of Zero waste, encourages individuals to go for quality versus quantity products since long lasting products contribute to lesser disposal on landfills.
6. Use Public Transportation Sustainable Living
Ditch your cars and consider making use of public transportation, whether it means catching a train, boarding a bus or even walking to your destination whenever possible. By using gas powered cars, you tend to increase greenhouse gas emissions which are damaging our planet.
Rasha Saleh, Environmental Conservationist at Connect with Nature, highly recommends ditching cars and instead walking to your destination or using public transportation whenever required.
7. Make a Present Even More Memorable Sustainable Living
Stressing on what to gift someone whilst keeping in mind sustainability? Environmental Expert, Arabella Willing from Connect with Nature, suggests gifting memorable experiences rather than physical products.
It’s always exciting to receive a spa voucher or even a ticket to a theme park as memories do last forever.
8. Adopt Don’t Shop Sustainable Living
Looking to get a new companion? Say no to shopping for a pet and instead adopt, this does not only make you an eco-friendly pet owner but also helps massively in protecting stray animals that need your support and helps save animals being used for breeding purposes.
9. Reduce Electricity Consumption Sustainable Living
In the Middle East, living without an Air Conditioner seems impossible. However, Rasha Saleh, Environment Conservationist at Connect with Nature, encourages everyone to make a difference in their daily lives by switching off all devices and unplugging wires which aren’t being used.
Electricity Consumption in the Middle East results to 47% of energy consumption. This can be reduced by turning off lights when not required and using power strips to reduce plug loads.
10. Practice the 5 R’s Sustainable Living
The more you practice the 5 R’s of waste management: reducing, reusing, recycling, repurposing and refusing, the closer you are to living a sustainable lifestyle.
Raha Moharrak, Lifestyle blogger and Adventure enthusiast says “I believe in being the change you want to be in the world so I recycle as much as I can and I’m aware of my plastic usage, I refuse to use straws and I reduce my shower time to a responsible duration, I always close the tap when I’m brushing my teeth, I use energy saving bulbs and I’m careful not to buy inhumanity sourced products. We can get overwhelmed with all the problems in the world but trust me your effort makes a difference, it’s the small things that are done with big love that matter”.