How to Be More Sustainable: 5 Life Tips
Protecting the environment is quickly becoming something that people think about every day. The impact of our actions on the environment is being more clearly seen, and the internet makes it easier than ever to see how far-reaching that impact is.
“Sustainability is a term that focuses on limiting your environmental impact so you can take measures to protect that environment not just for yourself, but also for the next generation. With this added attention to protecting the environment in the current social climate, many people are looking to build sustainability into their lifestyles, both personally and professionally.” – Dr. Jessica MH Young, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Unity College
Here are some sustainable living tips that you can embrace to make a difference in your own life.
But First, What Is Sustainability?
Sustainable living is defined as “prioritizing the use of natural and renewable resources instead of creating excess waste and depleting resources for future generations.” Environmentally friendly actions are a major way you can learn to live sustainably. By learning to live and work in a more sustainable manner, you not only limit the number of resources you personally use, but you also protect the environment for the next generation, so those that come next can also enjoy a rich, beautiful world.
5 Easy Sustainable Living Tips for Everyday Life
Sustainability is a good goal, but sometimes figuring out how to embrace that goal is less obvious. Here are five examples of things you can do to be more sustainable:
1. Walk or Bike to Your Destination
Carbon emissions are having a negative impact on all parts of the world. Every time you drive, your car contributes emissions—even short trips contribute significantly. Instead of driving to the neighborhood store, consider walking or taking your bike. This can cut down your impact, and your gas bill, and allow you to save the car and its emissions for longer trips.
2. Limit Meat Consumption
Meat is a renewable resource, but the production processing of meat uses a lot of resources. The amount of water, food, and land required to raise animals for meat is astounding. And some animals even contribute to greenhouse gases through their own waste. When you consume less meat, you have a far more sustainable lifestyle. Limiting your meat consumption doesn’t mean you need to change to completely vegetarian eating, either. Try “meatless” dinners once or twice a week to make this change.
3. Skip the plastic
Plastic usually ends up in the landfill or impacting the environment negatively in other ways. Many types of plastic, especially plastic bags, end up in the oceans. While reusable plastic items are better than disposable, using other materials, like metal or bamboo, is even better because they can break down when you are finally finished with them. Skip plastic wherever you can.
4. Go Paperless
For your bills, especially recurring monthly costs, consider opting for paperless service. Pay bills online or focus on paperless options in other areas of your life. By going paperless, you will reduce clutter in your home while also lessening your environmental impact. Bonus: On point-of-sale purchases, have the shop email a receipt instead of printing one out.
5. Conserve Water
Stop wasteful water practices in your home. When you brush your teeth, turn off the water while you brush. When you wash dishes, fill the sink, then turn off the water while you scrub. Find areas where you are using water when you don’t need to and make changes to stop the waste.
Sustainability and Your Career
Going green in your life is a good goal, but what about in your professional life? Sustainable career paths allow you to focus your professional life on being environmentally smart. Many careers actually allow you to earn an income from your environmental efforts. If you are passionate about sustainability, these are some examples of career paths worth pursuing:
As companies find that it’s economically advantageous to pursue sustainability, they are going to need trained professionals to help them do just that. A sustainability specialist comes alongside a business to help them set sustainability goals and create strategies to attain those goals. The average salary for this career is $74,520 with a 10-year projected growth of 8.8%.
Alternative Energy Manager
Alternative energy managers use their environmental knowledge to help companies and organizations choose and pursue renewable energy sources. The average annual salary is $74,000 and the projected job growth is 8%.
Environmental consultants help businesses and individuals analyze how development projects might impact the local environment. They help contractors and developers plan ways to build that will not have a negative impact on the environment. The average annual salary in this field is $56,614.
An environmental engineer helps companies find and solve problems related to environmental pollution. They need to understand both environmental science and engineering to help design systems that will lessen pollution. The average pay for this field is $65,991 a year.
A policy analyst uses knowledge of ecosystem processes and human behavior to analyze policies and help companies create more sustainable policies. The average annual salary for this field is $65,000. It should see a 3% increase in job opportunities over the next 10 years.
Where to Begin? How to Build a Sustainable Career
Finding a career path like these that focuses on sustainability is the first step, but it is just a first step. In order to build your prospects for a sustainable career, you also need to find ways that you and your future company can prosper through sustainability.
Find a Sustainable Company
To find a sustainable company, look for one that is actively taking measures to reduce its carbon footprint. This is measurable in several ways. Looking at the amount of energy and water consumed by a company is one metric. Other metrics to consider are the emissions and waste generated by that organization. You can also look at the company’s core values and learn if there are any sustainability values they embrace.
Companies that are eco-friendly are going to proudly advertise this fact because it is a trend many people want to see. Some companies, like Biogen, will claim to be carbon-neutral, which means they are doing enough eco-friendly projects to offset the impact of their work that creates emissions and other waste. By looking at the values touted by the company, you will quickly find those that are trying to work sustainably.
In 2020, Forbes created a list of the top 100 most sustainable companies in the world. In the United States, Cisco Systems Inc., Autodesk Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., and American Water were among the top 20. Checking the list is a good place to start in the search for an environmentally friendly employer to focus your career.
Earn a Sustainable Education
After considering where you might work, you need to focus on what you might do in a career. This starts with the right education. Whether you pursue a degree in environmental studies or simply look for a company that will allow you to pursue more sustainable goals in your work, the right education is the foundation.
Unity College believes in training the next generation of professionals to create a sustainable future. As part of the college’s mission, every graduate will attain at least one sustainability learning outcome, and all research produced at the school focuses on sustainability. Students graduate from all Unity College programs with a passion for, and better understanding of, sustainability and its importance.
When students step foot on the campus of Unity College for the hybrid learning programs, they know they have found something different. The idea of sustainability is further promoted with the hybrid learning programs because students can move fluidly between online and in-person classes based on personal preference. Emissions, and the student’s carbon footprint are reduced daily by the online capability. And the flexibility of the eight start dates per year, condensed five-week terms, ability to step in and out of the program if needed, and affordable high-quality education also prevent financial and emotional burnout, which aids personal sustainability.
Not only does the college campus have inviting classrooms and the rest of the features of an institution of higher learning, but it also has a farm and an eco-tourism resort. These serve as living laboratories for students and outreach to the public. Students have a real-world place to practice the environmental processes they learn in the classroom. With all these practices, Unity College has reinvented the college experience in an sustainable, forward-thinking way.
Make Sustainable Career Changes
After completing your education and finding the right company to serve alongside, you are ready to start implementing what you have learned in your daily professional life. Take measures daily to reduce your own environmental impact while also supporting the environmentally friendly goals of your organization. By doing so, you can build a sustainable career that can last a lifetime.
Protecting the environment is a goal we should all embrace, and this happens in homes as well as in jobs. Unity College is here to help. If you are interested in learning more about Unity College’s hybrid learning programs, B.S. in Environmental Studies, B.S. in Environmental Science, or mission, contact us today.