3 Reasons to Embrace Sustainable Living in 2021

3 Reasons to Embrace Sustainable Living in 2021

Girls in a field making hearts with their hands, showing joy that can come from sustainability

After 2020, I’m sure you have a lot on your mind. There were countless ups and downs for people & for the planet. I know I can’t control most things, so I chose one thing I can: I am focusing on sustainable living in 2021. And wherever you are right now, you can too.

A lot changed last year. And while not all those changes were pleasant, some of them paved the way for good things to come.

Here are 3 reasons 2021 is a great time to focus or refocus on making sustainable choices.

1. The stage is set for sustainable living in 2021.

We Saw Wins for the Environment in 2020

Some key environmental legislature passed last year — like the Great American Outdoors Act expanding care of US National Parks1. We also saw more clean energy production than ever before. In 2020, clean energy produced almost 10% of electricity. Also, more companies, investors, and legislators are shifting their focus to the environment. This creates a “top-down” trickle effect that can lead to powerful change.  And we saw an increased “bottom-up” interest in sustainability forming too.

The World is Spending More Time in Nature

Many of us are spending more of life outside. My family headed to our favorite trail in the Uinta Mountains at a time of year when the parking lot is usually empty. This time, it was packed! (The good news: I got to see a record number of dogs ready to go hiking. And yes, they were wearing their own doggy backpacks.)

As we reconnect with nature, we feel a renewed sense of responsibility for the planet. And that spark can ignite into meaningful change.

We Had Previews of What Sustainability Can Do

You probably saw the viral image of the Himalayas back in April 2020 — some residents of India saw the snowy peaks for the first time in their lives. All around the world, we got to experience cleaner air and quieter roadways2

And some species of wildlife started bouncing back. Kakapos, beavers, and even Antarctic Blue Whales had record sightings in 20203. (If you haven’t heard of kakapos before, they’re the heaviest parrot in the world. They have bright green feathers and they are adorable.)

We have a long way to go to protect our environment. But seeing these amazing hints of what a healthier planet looks like sets the stage for us to reach higher.

2. Embracing sustainability is easier now than ever.

Okay, to be fair, it might have been easier back in Ye Olde Days before we had plastic, pollution, or advanced technology. But we don’t have a time machine — and we don’t need one. We have everything we need to succeed with sustainable living in 2021.

Easier Access to Sustainable Products

More and more brands are offering sustainable products. You can find greener options at the supermarket, on the internet, or even from local entrepreneurs. And as the green movement keeps gaining steam, it’s easier to find products at an affordable price point.

Guides for All Things Green Living

Whether you want to learn how to compost or discover more about eco-friendly materials, there’s a wealth of information out there. You can explore resources like YouTube, Google, or Facebook groups. Or you can join eco-themed newsletters for regular inspiration.

Which brings us to the next big-picture point.

3. You don’t have to go green alone.

Even if you’re the only person in your family or circle who wants to live sustainably, you are not alone. 2020 forced us to develop new ways to connect — now we can take those skills and use them to build global sustainable communities. 

Having a “team” is key to success in any goal. This is especially true when we’re trying to make lifestyle changes. With the internet and technology on your side, you can reach out to find people who share your vision. 

(Pro tip: Try to find both people you can grow with & people who already are where you want to be. This will help you stay motivated!)

Woman in a field smiling in a mirror, showing how sustainable living in 2021 can feel great.

4. (Bonus) Living more sustainably feels good.

You Get to Slow Down

Making earth-friendly choices doesn’t have to be a huge time drain, but it does often mean slowing down a little. You might take an extra moment to pack a greener lunch or walk to work. Changing up your routine and consciously slowing down gives you a chance to reflect and breathe.

Simplifying → Lower Stress

As you integrate sustainability into your daily routine, you’ll probably find yourself simplifying things. This can help reduce the pressure you feel and give you more space to grow.

Sustainable Choices Are Often Healthier Choices

From natural food to zero-waste personal care products, many sustainable choices are better for you, too. First, they’re made without the harmful additives many conventional products have. Second, they’re often made by small, mission-based brands that focus on quality.

You Know You’re Doing Something Important

There’s a reason so many movies focus on the main character finding their life purpose or saving the world. We all want to feel like we matter. Like our choices make a difference. When you work toward living more sustainably, you are making a difference. Recognizing this can give you a sense of purpose & joy.

Working Toward Sustainable Living in 2021

“Sustainable” doesn’t just mean change that leads to a healthier world. It also means change that’s sustainable for you — that you can stick to and feel good about. 

Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • Build on what you’re already doing. Choose a habit and make it greener.
  • Start small to gain momentum. Make your first goal something you know you can accomplish so you’ll have a win to grow from.
  • Try making your staples at home. You could experiment with making bread, salad dressing, or some of your favorite snacks! (This granola recipe gives me life.)
  • Travel mindfully. Where possible, combine trips or carpool — or even walk or bike.
  • Reduce disposable plastic use. Try using reusable bags, water bottles, and utensils.
  • Shop secondhand. Check out thrift stores, online marketplaces, or swap with friends.

Your Journey is Unique

Don’t stress about getting things perfect or matching your progress to someone else’s. Do things your way. The most important part is just getting started.

A popular proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time to plant one is today.”

Sustainable living  is the same way. Start today and don’t be afraid to start small — looking back, you’ll be amazed at how your impact grows.

I’m passionate about sustainable living and love working with people who strive to make a difference. If that’s you, let’s chat! You can book a call here or email me at jessica@jessicadowding.com

Sources

  1. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/legal/great-american-outdoors-act.htm
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/27/reasons-to-be-hopeful
  3. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2020/12/seven-wins-for-the-environment-in-2020/
3 Reasons to Embrace Sustainable Living in 2021

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