Sustainability is complex, and even the most conscious among us may wonder whether we really live sustainable lives. Giles Crosse looks at how to take more meaningful action.
What is considered sustainable? Do we have to give up everything or are there more realistic options for balancing impacts with a more thoughtful way of life?
It’s an interesting question, because so many of the most common elements of 21st century living seem opposed to sustainable principles. Driving, consumption and the food we buy in the supermarket can all contribute to global warming and threaten biodiversity.
Equally, there’s little less appealing than the notion of giving up every tiny luxury for our planet. Clearly some kind of balance is required.
So what’s the solution?
“Sustainable living is by its nature a holistic concept,” explains Karl Hansen. He’s the Director of The Living Rainforest / Trust for Sustainable Living. It’s a charity that looks at rainforest ecology as a metaphor for sustainability issues.
“The focus is not just on our ideas, but also our actions. I like the broad, ‘big picture’ approaches. Looking not just at population, but at consumption. Not just economics, but also ecology. Ultimately, we'll probably need to adopt a new language for all of this, and release ourselves from the old ways of thinking which got us here.” Read more
The University of Manchester, Sustainable Consumption Institute: Improving Sustainability Skills and Knowledge in the Workplace
Tips: As summer approaches, more of us will be heading outside to cook – but which is the most eco-friendly fuel to use? Charcoal barbeques burn around 11kg of CO2 an hour, with 5.6kg for Gas and 11kg an hour for electric. However charcoal is carbon neutral due to it absorbing CO2 when living, which is not really the case with gas. However when you take into account the large distances charcoal travels, and the fact that 97% of the 40 000 tonnes of it used annually in Britain come from unsustainable sources, its benefits diminish. Charcoal also emits lots of carbon monoxide, which isn’t to handy for your lungs or the environment. If you already have a charcoal barbeque and don’t want to fork out for a new gas one, then when buying new charcoal check the packet to see if it’s Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, meaning its sourced from sustainable sources.
The Green Living Guide