Sustainability Rules

Here are my sustainability “rules” to live by. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on this list. I’ve included a brief description or clarification after each rule, and linked to a more lengthy explanation where one exists.

  • Don’t worry about what others do – obsessing about things that are outside your control (such as the behaviour of others) is no good for your mental health, plus it diverts attention and energy away from the things you can control.
  • Secure your own oxygen mask first – You can’t help others until you sort your own stuff out. In terms of sustainability, don’t presume to teach what you don’t already know and practice.
  • Live Circular – live by circular principles, specifically:
    • Anything saved from the bin is a win – The best thing we can do as individuals is not create waste in the first place, whether that’s recycling or rubbish. Recycling should always be considered a last resort. (circular principle 1: design out waste and pollution)
    • Buy once, buy well – Buy items of good quality that will last longer and will need to be replaced or repaired less often (circular principle 2: keep products and materials in use)
    • Give more than you take – Live less transactionally with your local environment. Understand that you are part of your natural environment, not apart from it (circular principle 3: regenerate natural systems)
  • Use the good china – It may seem obvious, but products are usually made to be used. Saving stuff for best means you have more than you need
  • Rethink convenience – Almost all of us agree that we need to do something, but most of us — myself included — are waiting for someone else to make changes so we don’t have to. If we’re to contribute to environmental solutions then we need to rethink some of life’s conveniences that we’ve come to take for granted.
  • Seek out green and blue – when in urban environments, seek out those parts of the map that are coloured green and blue: parks, woodlands, and other common areas; rivers, canals and the coast. Undertake a bit of forest-bathing, or improve your blue health.
  • No glitter – Seriously, it’s evil.