Truly sustainable living means finding and building meaningful connections between ourselves, nature, and others…
We talk a lot about “saving the planet,” and “living an eco-conscious life,” but what does it all mean? Sometimes we can forget why we’re taking steps to live more sustainably in the first place, and that’s when it starts to feel like a chore.
Remember that there is a purpose behind each choice to live a “greener” lifestyle. It all comes back to that deep – almost spiritual – connection that we all have to nature, the natural world, and yes, each other. Instead of just going through the motions, it is important to tap into that connection on a regular basis. Not only will you be healthier and happier, but you will find a sense of meaning and purpose in your life that so many in today’s fast-paced, connected-but-disconnected world are lacking.
Below are a few ways to not only live a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle but to discover that deep sense of meaning and bring more joy and fulfillment to your life in the process:
1. Eat Healthy Organic Foods
Consider incorporating more plant-based whole foods into your diet and eliminating processed packaged foods. Eating a healthy whole food diet facilitates the cleansing of the body of unwanted toxins, and can contribute to greater clarity of mind and increased physical and mental health, as well as reducing your chances of developing degenerative diseases later in life. Living with clarity is the first step to realizing your true potential and freeing yourself from the system. This also makes you less (or non) reliant on the industrialized food system, pharmaceutical grade drugs and the conventional medical system.
2. Get In Touch With Nature
Over recent years, urbanization has increased, to the point where more people live in high density urban environments than at any time in history. This has alienated many from the natural world. Connection to the land and natural environment has been replaced by freeways, cities, and concrete landscapes, which bring little solace and opportunity for reflection for individuals. Inner peace and happiness can be hard to find in a world of constant diversion and distraction. M. Sanjayan, Ph.D., lead scientist for “The Nature Conservancy,” outlines how humans are integrally connected with nature: “For 5 million years, humans depended on nature for just about everything, including food, shelter, and the regulation of sleep cycles. It is only in the last fifty years people have become less connected to nature with much of the global population living in large urban centres.” Studies have shown that people need some connection with nature. Getting out of artificial environments helps with overall health and well-being, supporting a stronger immune system as well as stimulating creativity.
3. Become Involved With or Move to an Ecovillage
The ecovillage movement offers a model which requires a paradigm shift from the take, make, waste mentality pervasive throughout our Western culture and economy. The ecovillage movement aims to foster local production and longterm sustainability by maintaining economically and ecologically sustainable communities. The movement tries to integrate ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments. Ecovillages range in size from small villages of fifty to a couple of thousand people. Designed to be self-governing, ecovillages try to create employment and a greater sense of community. Many incorporate and offer services such as libraries, forests, gardens and orchards. Energy supplies and community based entertainment in the form of markets and festivals are also features of ecovillages. See more at http://gen.ecovillage.org/
4. Try WWOOFING
WWOOFing is an acronym for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms” or “Willing Workers on Organic Farms.” It is a network of national organizations that facilitate placement of volunteers on organic farms. The WWOOF model is simple. WWOOF hosts provide volunteers with first-hand experience in organic and ecologically sound growing methods. WWOOF volunteers generally do not receive financial payment, instead exchanging their assistance with farming or gardening for food, accommodation, and the opportunity to learn.
WWOOFing is a great way to see your own country or other countries and learn about local culture relatively inexpensively… There are some awesome retreats and communal living properties which host WWOOFers… See: http://wwoofinternational.org/
5. Reassess Where You Live
During the start of the industrial revolution people moved from smaller rural and regional areas to larger cities. Today, the most urbanized regions of the world include Northern America (82 per cent living in urban areas in 2014), Latin America and the Caribbean (80 per cent), and Europe (73 per cent). This rapid transformation from rural to urban has occurred over the last century, correlating with the growth and exploitation of fossil fuels and the abundance of cheap oil. Increasing populations have driven demand for real estate in certain cities, making many unaffordable. Cities can be expensive places to live and it is easy to become trapped in a never ending cycle of debt. Opportunities exist for a re-ruralization of certain areas. With the average age of farmers increasing in most countries there will need to be a new breed of Permaculture trained people and eco farmers. In many countries, rural communities have dwindled and or been abandoned entirely. This presents opportunities for those wishing to make a change from an urban environment to rebuild and create a new future.