With many things homesteading or sustainability related, people who follow the lifestyle can have any array of preferences and beliefs. I’ve mentioned it before that I believe homesteading, self-reliance and sustainability is in an arch shape and you can have people who follow each part of the ideology to best suit their lifestyle.
My husband likes to call me a prepper, and whilst I do consider myself organised, I wouldn’t consider myself a prepper in the traditional sense. Do I have a year’s worth of food and toilet paper though? Yes, yes I do.
So much like the afore mentioned, being eco-friendly or living more in tune with nature tends to come part and parcel for homesteaders. Many will have their own vegetable garden or hens for eggs. Or some grow their own farm raised food in meat hens, rabbits, pigs or cows, and others hunt and forage in the wild. whatever the preference, I tend to think and believe that homesteaders as a broader community are probably more eco friendly and eco conscious than others.
Being an eco-warrior should start right at home. And for homesteaders this is often the case. I don’t know a single homesteader who hasn’t repurposed materials to re-build or make something, or scoured the classifieds for someone giving away farm gates, star pickets, top soil, mulch or even seedlings. I think there’s a saying that says one mans trash is another mans treasure, and I think homesteaders truly subscribe to that way of life.
So when it comes down to being more sustainable or if you think you want to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, there’s a few things to consider. Your intentions should always be assertive towards the environment, and with a lot of focus on making your environment habitable.
Every day, you have interactions with your surroundings and it makes sense to have practices that extend beyond your immediate realm. As with all the other homesteading ideologies, being eco-friendly I believe is really also about being mindful and present.
And being mindful and present means paying a lot more attention to your own behaviour and attitude, and the impact it has on your space. So without further ado, here’s a few ideas on how you can start an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Trust In a Collective Social Action: You don’t need to go it alone if you are looking to make an impact. There are groups out there that advocate and educate people on how to lead eco-friendly lifestyles. Whether you get your information online or from a community group of likeminded people, there are heaps of resources and collective action that can be taken in order to make this change.There are also social sites where you can make your voice heard in ensuring that whatever you believe in is articulated.
Everyone has a responsibility to protect nature, and at a minimum the environment they inhabit. By joining environmental groups in your locality, you’ll be joining like-minded people who have the same objectives and who will be in a position to provide guidance and support, for you as a newcomer. Such groups are very instrumental in formulating and pushing for eco-friendly businesses, eco-friendly building projects, and the creation of policies that will be aimed at conserving the environment.
Conserve and Protect the Available Natural Resources: There are freely available natural resources at your disposal, resources you should preserve for the generations to come. My local council area has a number of initiatives for keeping spaces green. There are local grants for properties that do less clearing and stay bushy, and the council offers rate payers 4 free trees every year to plant on their property.
In terms of your property, there are also a number of initiatives you can take. Below are the various ways to protect and conserve natural resources:
- Consider plumbing apparatus that use less water
- Install a solar water heater
- Install solar panels for power generation
- Install a personal wind turbine to help generate power
- Install gutter guards and a first flush system from your water tanks to your house
- Turn off the lights and power points whenever they are not in use
- Recycle properly. Reuse glass jars in the kitchen or garden and send bottles and cans to a recycling centre
- Consider investing in reusable goods that have a positive impact on disposal later on
- Manage your air conditioning unit by keeping it on an eco setting
- Invest in more energy-efficient appliances
- dry your clothes in the sun!
- keep windows open and install flyscreens wherever you can so you can get fresh light and air into the house
- use septic and grey water friendly detergents and soap. I sell artisan body and hand soap in my online store Homestead Soapery.
Drive an Eco-friendly Car or reduce your vehicular travel: There are a lot of options these days due to covid and shifts in culture relating to working from home and flexible work. We still have a long way to go though. But these days many companies are offering hybrid working solutions and some are offering full working from home. If this isn’t being offered in your workplace, you need to find out why and consider approaching supervisors about this. I dropepd down to 5 hours in the office per week and to be honest, my drive and reason for doing all my sides projects now are to get my own businesses up so I can then be in FULL control of my circumstances.
When the first covid stay at home order kicked off in March 2020, my husband and I dropped down to using one car. so not only did we use less fuel, have less wear and tear and our insurance costs went down, we also realised we could manage having one car. So not only did the flow on effect help us financially, but in terms of the environment we weren’t now running two vehicles just to travel to and from work. Less carbon emissions and less impact on our environment from that alone.
Another way to reduce emissions and be more sustainable is by driving an eco friendly car, such as an electric or hybrid vehicle. This will greatly reduce the costs of running your car if you only invest in a hybrid car. These are cars that will save you gas money, and they are also very efficient.
A final alternative if the above is not possible is to consider getting involved in a ride share with someone you work with (that is, if you are still having to go offsite for work from your homestead).
Instead Of Buying, Grow: You don’t need to own huge acres of land to start an eco-friendly lifestyle. You’ll be surprised by how much you can gain from your backyard garden. You’ll not only save money but this is among the ways you can eat healthier foods and cut down the amount of carbon footprints left behind by commercial agricultural practices. Having some plants in your backyard will help to filter the air you breathe and in a way, brighten up your compound.
Keep Your Environment Clean: The initiatives adopted today will make a huge impact on the kind of world left behind for the coming generations. It all starts by decluttering your living spaces. This then extends to investing in recyclable products. Living in a clean environment is a lifestyle choice but one that can make a huge impact on the kind of life you lead. Make sure to keep your homestead maintained, and clear vegetation and scrub that could cause fires or other issues. Every little bit of work you do will help.
Starting an eco-friendly lifestyle will not take much. It will only require a change in your daily habits and the adoption of better and safer ways when interacting with the immediate surroundings. Being mindful about these changes and thinking about what you want to change and when will lead you down the path you seek to achieve. Again, you don’t have to turn into a full blown hippie to make these changes but hey, if that’s something you strive for then go for it!
Whether it’s changing your shopping habits, collaborating with likeminded folk, seeking to create a sustainable wardrobe, or addressing your mode of transport, big or small, all actions matter. If you’ve been taking notes, then the above pointers will go a long way towards helping you lead a life full of purpose and one that will ensure the future of the generations to come is well preserved.
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