The recent global UN climate change report warns that the impacts of climate change are accelerating and that human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.
Immediate, rapid, and large-scale greenhouse gas reductions are necessary, thus pressure on the government, companies, and media outlets is important.
However, we as consumers are powerful and must make more sustainable choices in our daily life.
So, what is sustainable development exactly? The United Nations Brundtland Commission in 1987 defined sustainable development as development “that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
There are three core pillars to sustainability: economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. To achieve true sustainability all three elements must be balanced and work in harmony.
I’ve been consciously making more sustainable choices over the past few years, however, there is certainly room for improvement. The journey is different for everybody.
Don’t be self-critical, but rather understand that you can make small meaningful changes in your daily life and that your choices directly impact you and the world around you.
The following are 18 simple sustainable tips for a better and cleaner planet:
When shopping take a reusable bag, avoid plastic bags
Reduce consumption of animal-based products. Include at least one or two plant-based meals a day
e.g., for lunch instead of making a beef burger make a bean burger
Support farmers, choose local and seasonal fruit and vegetables
Avoid food waste, buy only what you need, preserve and store food appropriately
Instead of using cling film or foil for packed lunches, opt for metal or glass containers
If available, purchase food items without plastic packaging or from stores that have a zero-waste section
e.g., Valyou supermarket (locally)
Rather than buying a plastic toothbrush, purchase a bamboo one.
These are now available from health shops and supermarkets around the Maltese islands
Rather than re-purchasing plastic pens, opt for refillable ones
e.g., Parker pens
Shop from online thrift shops or repurpose already owned clothes instead of frequently buying brand new items from fast fashion brands
When purchasing new clothes look for fabrics made from bamboo, linen (flax plant), hemp, organic cotton and lyocell
Carpool with friends/family whenever possible
Make your house greener by adding plants for example to the facade and living room.
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Don't forget to ask the seller about the best outdoor and indoor plants.
Also, it's great to grow your own herbs if you have a balcony, garden or roof top!
Reflect on these tips and think about what you can do to make more sustainable choices - at home, at school, when you travel, when you shop.
Join or at least follow/support NGOs such as Żibel, Friends of the Earth Malta and Nature Trust Malta. It’s also great to purchase from small local shops and to choose brands that are genuinely striving to be more sustainable.
Remember… focus on quality rather than quantity.
If you have any other sustainability tips, we’d love to know them via our socials!