Simplify, Lighten and Clean up: 3 Things We Can All Do to Live Better

You don’t need a list of Eco-products, just a few common-sense ideas that are easy to put into practice. The problem with the lists of recommendations to live better, in a more sustainable way (that is, improving the environment in which we live, in a long way in time) is that some can be followed, but many others cannot, and some are frankly absurd. For example, “use the bicycle to get around” is of little use if you have to take two or three small children to school. To take another example, “take a shower instead of a bath” is something that everyone does without thinking unless they have a lot of free time, a bathtub, and a large capacity water heater. So realistic and operational recommendations come in handy, which anyone can adapt to their particular circumstances to improve their life. Digging through manuals on sustainable lifestyles, we have found these three general ideas, giving a lot of play if you squeeze them a little.


#1. Simplify

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We continually complain about the lack of time that our fast-paced lifestyle implies, but the truth is that we do not stop complicating the same. We just have to take a look at the cleaning supplies closet. We may see two dozen different products, from vacuum cleaner dust bag refills to destroyer grease remover. The action to take is to throw everything away (with due precautions) and keep only a broom, a mop, a bar of eco-friendly soap, and a vinegar bottle. We can continue eliminating a few appliances that we have not used since we bought them or give us more work than they take away (in the case of the mythical yogurt maker or the cumbersome fruit and vegetable blender). But the concept of simplification can go further. Back to the example above, the solution to taking the children to their educational destination may be to choose the one in the neighborhood to walk themselves with their friends when they are old enough. Or, for any journey, instead of using a vehicle (public or private), simply walk if the distance is not very long. Obviously, a shower is a simpler option than a bathtub bath; we all agree there. Sweeping or mopping can be easier than using a vacuum cleaner.


#2. Lighten

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In this case, it is the backpack of energy, water, and materials, including food, that we all carry with us. It can be tremendous, in the order of several tons of oil, fifty or more cubic meters of water, and thousands of kilos of various materials, not counting a couple of buckets of different toxic substances. The problem is that the planet does not have enough space for so many people with such large backpacks, and enormous backpacks – some gigantic – are owned by wealthy citizens of rich countries.

To go lighter through life, we only have to find out our backpack’s size or its equivalent ecological footprint. You just have to fill out this survey (it takes two minutes ), and you will see your footprint in terms of planets Earth. That is, if everyone had the same footprint as you, how many planets Earth would we need? The downside is that we only have one. If your footprint exceeds unity (as is often the case), start taking steps to reduce it. Consider a series of ecological transitions, according to your personal and vital circumstance: change the car for the bike (transition in transport), meat for legumes (transition in food), etc.


#3. Sanitize

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It’s a word with several meanings…Here, we use it to repair and prevent damage. It is about minimizing or completely eliminating the components that your body does not recognize and to which, therefore, it does not know how to react. These are additives in food, pesticides in food, contaminants in fuels, poisons in cleaning products, and so on.

The list is very long, but we can start sanitation by thinking about the activities we carry out. It is enough to simplify (see above) to eliminate all toxins in one fell swoop in cleaning. In food, when we talk about processed foods, armed with a magnifying glass, we can reject all those products packed with additives (they are those that appear with an E- followed by a number, you can consult this guide here). One or two additives may be acceptable, but many foods contain more than three or four and up to ten or twelve of these substances, which indicate very poor quality food. If we buy fresh food, seasonal and organically grown ones are preferable. In transport, the formula is simple, abandon the heat or combustion engine. In terms of DIY, use water-based paints, non-toxic varnishes, etc.

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