For Action Takers: Sustainable Living Starts at Home

Drawing on the wisdom of our grandparents can help us lead more sustainable lives. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Modern thought has a tendency to classify anything old as useless and defunct. This has unfortunately led to us blindly neglecting the wisdom of our grandparents and ancestors who may still have something to teach us about how to lead a peaceful life. When it comes to sustainable living, some of the simple practices that our grandmothers employed to run their homes are still pretty useful.

Shopping bags

Many of you may remember your grandmothers taking a bag with them to go out grocery shopping. Today, this habit has almost died out in most places, especially in urban centers. People expect the store to give them plastic bags at the checkout. This has resulted in plastic bag waste getting accumulated in cities across the world. Some have proposed a ban on plastic bags. In fact, almost 400 locations in the U.S. currently have some sort of plastic ban or tax. Take a leaf out of your grandma’s book and always carry a shopping bag with you when visiting a store. If people across the world were to adopt this single habit, a large amount of plastic bag waste could be avoided.

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Drying clothes

Today, most people use a dryer to get their clothes dried and ready to wear. But before the machine was invented, grandmas used to dry clothes by hanging them on clotheslines. The fact that many people in urban regions have stopped doing this is a big problem. When you can get your clothes dried for free (thanks to the sun), why would you waste money running a dryer that consumes electricity? Plus, you can also avoid using synthetic fabric softeners. If you have free space outside your home or on the roof, put up some poles, tie a rope to them, and your laundry “dryer” is all set.

(Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)
Use a clothesline and take advantage of the sun to dry your clothes for free. (Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Use it up

The economic prosperity of the last few decades brought with it the idea of “use and throw,” which is one of the root causes of much of the pollution problem. You buy a smartphone, use it for a few months or a year at max, sell it, and then buy a new one. Such buying habits essentially create a society that keeps on consuming things, thereby producing waste. Grandmas lived in a time when money was precious. When they bought something, the item was used until it became unusable. To replace it with a new item just because you were fed up with the old one was something frowned upon. Raising kids with the same mindset is just what we need to create a society that does not unnecessarily create waste.

Grow food

Set up a small garden in your yard or on your balcony. Plant vegetables that can easily grow in the climate. Leafy vegetables are ideal for most home gardens. Lots of homes in the past had such mini-gardens. Promoting home gardens can help a society cut down on some of its food imports and allow them to be more self-sustainable.

(Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)
Growing and preserving your own food can allow you to be more self-sustainable. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Rain barrels

In some homes, it was customary to set up rain barrels to collect the water flowing down from the roof. This water would be used for things like gardening, cleaning, flushing toilets, and so on. Areas that receive a good amount of rainfall are ideal for this practice.

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