Living sustainably in a world driven by consumerism is not an easy task. Consumerism speaks to our desire to get anything we want, fast and cheap. In its latest stunt, consumerism has gone so far as to disguise itself as the solution to the problems it has created. You see this in the marketing of high-end water bottles to the co-opting of sustainable language to project the idea of responsible and sustainable living.
We are currently living with the consequences of massive consumerism, but customers are demanding better in exchange for their time and money. Among the reasons driving people to rally behind this cause is personal health and wellness that is an important indicator to help individuals see change taking place, knowing that a shift at a global scale will take time.
Here are five ways that choosing a sustainable life can mean living a healthier life:
Eating Local and Seasonal
Food consumption makes up an average of 10-30% of a household's carbon footprint, with much of the carbon emissions being a result of processing and transporting the products to their final destination. (It is important to note that lower-income homes are typically at the higher end of that range, indicating the challenges of achieving a sustainable lifestyle in communities with less access to healthy foods).
That said, eating local and seasonal is one of the best ways to reduce a carbon footprint and see health benefits. The demand for foods year-round is depleting nutrients in the soil and the foods that are growing in it. Local and seasonal foods have to factor in the environmental conditions throughout the year and produce accordingly. As a result, people will find themselves eating leaner meals but a greater variety of foods. It may just be the inspiration you need to crack open a cookbook to try something new.
Get Out and Be Active
For many people, a sustainable lifestyle includes an appreciation for the outdoors and a proclivity to be active. Both times outdoors and an active lifestyle are known to elevate mood, reduce stress, and lead to more positive long-term health outcomes. There are even some studies that show outdoor activity can minimize healing time, increase the ability to focus attention, and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Not bad!
The best part is there are many ways to incorporate new behaviors into your life in ways that are both fun and functional. Why walk to the local grocery store instead of ordering items online? Could you bike to work one day a week instead of driving? (Psst: If you are on the hunt for an eco-friendly bag or a sustainable wallet, check out our store!) How about growing some fresh herbs this summer that you can enjoy in a variety of dishes? It doesn’t require a significant commitment to start seeing a little difference here.
Remove the Toxins
We are seeing severe repercussions to the unchecked use of toxic chemicals for many years. Chemicals have been used and abused for factory farming, development of land, extraction of valuable resources, and sold to us as miracle products for cleaning our homes. These toxins have seeped into our water system, stunted the growth of plants and wildlife, and slowly poisoned our communities in ways that we do not yet know.
Exposure to these microdoses of toxins can add up over time to some devastating health effects.
Choosing to use pure and natural products, like baking soda to clean, can reduce exposure and the possibility of cross-contamination. Opting for products made without pesticides or steroids can also lead to more stable moods and an increase in the nutrients found in the food.
Sustainable living can feel like a great deal of work after enjoying the modern conveniences that are so enticing for consumers. However, one of the most significant benefits of choosing a sustainable lifestyle is the opportunity to build new connections with the community around you. Growing a garden is a lot more work compared to buying a head of lettuce, but getting to meet your neighbors can build a stronger community. Biking to work is harder than driving, but you may get to know the other bikers who will be sharing a lane with you early in the morning.
Having more meaningful interactions with people will decrease loneliness and increase personal satisfaction with life in general. The physical energy will pay significant returns for those who continue to put in the effort.
Prevention Is Key
Taking a sustainable approach to all that you do is like preventative care for yourself and the environment on a global scale. This way of thinking and living reduces the possibility of complications. It avoids the need for drastic measures if we can all cooperate in the best interest of our planet in the face of global warming. A preventative approach means that we understand the delicate balance in our world and know what is required to maintain it.
But haven’t we already passed that threshold? Yes and no.
We have entered a critical period that demands we act to save the environment. But if we don’t think systemically, our behaviors will continue to be cosmetic and inconsequential.
Ok, so how is this related to health? This simple idea has everything to do with our health. From the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the land that we live on, long-term thinking about our environment is essential to breathing new life into our most vital resources.
To Health and Sustainability
Sustainability requires an entirely different way of thinking about who we are and what is essential for each of us. The effect that one individual can have on global warming and other ecological changes is difficult to detect. However, if we focus on how we feel concerning our consumption decisions, the motivation to behave sustainably is much stronger. So, how has your health been impacted by your choice to live sustainably?
Fierce Hazel and Sustainability
All of our products are up-cycled from salvaged fabric remnants. The Echelon All-Conditions Pouch and the Tour de Fierce Wallet are made entirely from deadstock—specifically, unused fabric left over at the factory by bigger clients that overestimated the amount required for production.
The exterior material of the Evolution Convertible Backpack is made from remnants that otherwise would be discarded. We use scraps cut away in the construction of another product that, in the past, were too small to use and were sent to the landfill. We rescue those pieces and repurpose them for the exterior, main fabric. The material, Olefin, is lightweight, strong, and highly stain-resistant. It’s a synthetic fabric but is considered eco-friendly.