"Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet. Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development."
Lifestyles define us. They way we live our lives, what we do, with whom, where & how. This includes everything from the food we eat and how we interact with others to the way we get around. Lifestyles also define our identity; we express our social position, political preferences and psychological aspirations to others through our lifestyles.
Unfortunately, a vast majority of the population these days are deliberately turning a blind eye to the disastrous consequences of unsustainable lifestyle choices.
We live in an intrinsically connected & globalized industrial world where our actions have very far reaching consequences, for both our species and the planet's eco-system.
Through the clothes we buy, the energy we use, the food we eat - even the simplest products we buy and use daily have been shown to leave an impact on our health, our environment, or our economy.
Every product we choose to buy into impacts our world through its creation, its distribution, its use and its disposal. Every dollar we spend is essentially a vote that helps perpetuate certain industries and business models that may not have humanities best interest at heart.
Most people likely never know or even care to see who they are impacting with their day to day purchasing habits & lifestyle choices. But they are out there, nonetheless, suffering – or thriving - based on our choices, actions and/or in-actions.
Because we live in such a global, profit-at-all-costs world, the number impacted is astounding – hard to grasp really. One detailed life cycle analysis of aluminum cans, for example, documents that;
"In all, the production of an aluminum can requires over 60 different types of raw or processed materials and creates over 75 different types of pollutants. The material inputs and manufacturing equipment also have their own life cycle impacts."
And that's just an aluminum can. There are countless other examples that can be shown on many product and business processes out there.
One of the greatest tragedies today & a shocking example of our mass-consumerism run amuck is modern day slavery. Slavery & forced child slavery is very much alive and well in the world, and many unsuspecting consumers support the practice with their wallets. Because slave labor is often buried deep within supply chains and outsourced production facilities, we can only estimate the actual number of victims, but by all accounts there are more slaves today than at any other point in history.
The latest estimates by the International Labor Organization state that nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor--and a significant amount of this suffering is fueled by every day products available on American shelves. These unfortunate souls are producing the material goods that are in your apartment, mining for the precious metals in your electronic devices, or cultivating and harvesting the food that you buy at the grocery store and restaurants. All so that you can get a good deal and manufacturers can achieve the highest margins of profit.
Never mind that these laborers are often women and children. Never mind that they are subjected to coercion and violence. Never mind that they never enjoy the fruit of their own labor, living in the most deplorable conditions imaginable. You might be supporting forced labor through your spending habits & lifestyle choices.
So choosing a sustainable lifestyle requires a lot of work, researching, rethinking and soul searching. We all want our homes protected, our neighborhoods unpolluted, a plentiful supply of safe drinking water and food – and knowing that our future is secure. And we want others to make choices that ensure we have these things.
Living, of course, involves impacting others – all of life impacts others. But is our impact unnecessarily harmful – or is it based on a conscious choice which minimizes harm done and maximizes benefits?
Creating sustainable lifestyles means rethinking our ways of living, how we buy, what we consume and how we organize our daily lives. It is about transforming our societies and living in balance with our natural environment. All our choices and actions - whether at home or at work - on energy use, transport, food, waste and communication – contribute to sustainable lifestyles.
For sustainable lifestyles to be part of our cultures and societies and become part of our everyday lives, they must be enabled and developed at all levels, through the social and technical systems and institutions that surround us. These include efficient infrastructures, services and products, such as efficient public transport systems, and by individual choices and actions to help minimize the use of natural resources, emissions, wastes and pollution while supporting equitable socio-economic development and conserving the Earth’s life support systems within the planet’s ecological carrying capacity. (1)
Creating a sustainable lifestyle takes a lifelong commitment to learning, experimenting, exploring, & committing to increasingly sustainable practices. It's such a simple and natural principle yet tragically; we've forgotten these important natural laws to the detriment of just about every natural resource on the planet.
Alter Experiences LLC is dedicated to raising awareness about the need for these changes through our tourism model. We want our destination to be a platform for change towards a more sustainable and conservation oriented future for our planet earth.