Modern*Simplicity

Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Why Simple Living is Eco-Friendly

Why Simple Living is Eco-FriendlyI don’t remember exactly what enticed me toward eco-friendly living. It might have been the PSAs on TV about conservation, or the growing number of eco-friendly tidbits in my favorite magazines, or the posts popping up in my Facebook feed, or even Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, that I watched one afternoon while recovering from a kidney stone.

I do remember when I started though: when my first son was born. The thought crossed my mind that my child will inherit a dirty planet, and that was heartbreaking.

Around the same time, I was reading books about how to simplify my increasingly chaotic life, and I was changed. I believe that simple living and eco-friendly living go hand-in-hand. The “simpler” your lifestyle is, the more eco-friendly it probably is. And if you’re a greenie, you’re probably following the first R, “reduce” anyway, by default living a simpler lifestyle than someone who isn’t eco-minded.

I remember when I started my simple living journey: when my first son was born. The thought crossed my mind that my child will inherit a dirty planet, and that was heartbreaking. Click To Tweet

An important part of modern simple living is to cut out all the unneeded “stuff,” which also reduces your ecological footprint. On a global scale, continued over-consumption of the world’s natural resources by wealthy nations means fewer resources for the world’s poor. Not only is this incredibly unjust, it’s unsustainable.

Just this summer, our family went on one of my “bucket list” trips — a cruise to Alaska. I wanted to see, wanted my kids to see, some glaciers before they all melt and are gone. And they are melting, at an alarming rate. While cruising through small icebergs and up to see one of the bigger glaciers from the ship, we went on an excursion from Skagway, Alaska, to get up close and personal with one. We canoed out to the site, then hiked all the way to the glacier. It looked deceptively close when we started the hike, and the glacier looked small. But after hiking much longer, much further than anticipated, we were right there, in front of a huge glacier. The kids got to see ice calving off the side and picked up a giant chunk of ice, but a just a tiny bit of the larger picture.

Why Simple Living is Eco-Friendly

The earth’s natural resources are limited, and ecosystems can only absorb so much pollution and lose so many species before the damage becomes irreparable. On an individual level, the endless pursuit of “more” is stressing out families, who work and commute long hours to afford the big house in the suburbs and all the “gotta have” possessions. We have less time for the things we claim are most important: our families, our friends, our faith, our hobbies.

The endless pursuit of 'more' is stressing out families. We have less time for the things we claim are most important: our families, our friends, our faith, our hobbies. Click To Tweet

Instead of expending all your efforts into paying for, storing, and maintaining all your possessions, why not eliminate the things that are unnecessary? I’m frequently asked, “where do I start?” My answer: start at home, right now.

The simplest way to make your current home more efficient, eco-friendly and clutter-free is to go back to basics: the 3 R’s. The first R is the most important: reduce. Reduce your possessions by eliminating the non-essentials and only keeping what you truly use and love. You don’t have to go minimalist overnight, so don’t go crazy thinking you have to do it all right away. The important part is to get started.

The second R, reuse, is the next most important. Before you run to the store for every “I need,” take a look around and see what you already have that you can repurpose or “multipurpose” to get the job done.

The third R, recycle, is your reminder to take care as you shed extra possessions and get rid of the excess responsibly. Sell or give away usable items to people who need them, and recycle as much of the rest as possible so that it doesn’t wind up in a landfill.

We do not inherit the earth from our parents — we borrow it from our children. Living a more sustainable, earth-friendly lifestyle is not about doing without –- it’s about having enough.

Why Simple Living is Eco-Friendly

Simple, eco-friendly living should be about what works for you and your family. If each of us did a little something every day, if we each made one small change in our lifestyle, the collective impact would be immense.

We do not inherit the earth from our parents -- we borrow it from our children. Living a more sustainable, earth-friendly lifestyle is not about doing without –- it's about having enough. Click To Tweet

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