Having a more sustainable day is easier than you think

13 December, 2022

The climate crisis is a challenge that affects us all. As a complex problem, it needs to be approached from different perspectives. Thus, we need innovative solutions as well as to make small contributions or individual actions that, together, have a big impact.

At an individual level, we have the opportunity to make a major contribution to sustainability, and to do so without a great deal of effort. With a little commitment and a lot of responsibility we can have a significant positive impact.

We need innovative solutions as well as to make contributions or individual actions that, together, have a big impact

Responsible behaviours for a sustainable day

6:30 Alarm clock goes off

The day begins and with it, a new opportunity to act in an environmentally responsible way:

  • What are you having for breakfast? Cereal (loose food); fruit, (seasonal); coffee (fair trade). All of which has been bought from local businesses.
  • The shower should not last more than 3 minutes, so put on your favourite song and finish before it’s over.
  • Remember that you don’t need the lights on throughout the house to get ready in the morning, nor do you need to leave the tap running while you brush your teeth.
  • Ventilating the house well has many benefits: for your finances (it prevents damp), your health (improves air quality) and the environment (reduces the temperature in summer).

How about getting active with a bit of exercise? Instead of taking the lift, you can take the stairs and if conditions permit, cycle to work. If this is not possible for you, public transport or carpooling are your best alternatives.

8:00 Time to work

The office is a space that offers multiple alternatives to carry out your work, but in an environmentally responsible way:

  • Save paper. Think twice about which documents you need to print, digitise certain processes or carry out procedures online.
  • Save energy. Promote the maintenance of a pleasant and stable temperature all year round, moderating air conditioning and heating.
  • Save water. The guidelines you use at home to save water are valid in the office, but you can also suggest the installation of water dispensers to refill your reusable bottle.
  • Save digital space. The cloud, even if we don’t know where to place it, this also consumes. Therefore, use it judiciously and do not send unnecessary emails. Deleting unusable files or using cloud solutions can also help.
  • Save on travel. Many face-to-face meetings can be replaced by video conferencing, but if you have to travel, choose public transport.
  • Sustainable contracting. In your area of responsibility you may be able to hire a green cleaning service, purchase electric vehicles for the company fleet, buy recycled paper or work with sustainable parcel services.

11:00 A well-deserved break

To boost your performance it is important to take a moment to have a break. Have a drink (in your own cup) or a piece of seasonal fruit.

13:30 Lunch!

Before returning to work, it is necessary to take a break to rest and recharge your batteries. The best choice is to bring a pack lunch, following the golden rules of healthy and sustainable eating:

  • Consume less meat.
  • Ensure vegetables and fresh produce predominate in your dishes.
  • Use seasonal and local products in your preparations.
  • A balanced and organically produced diet is healthier.
  • Measure quantities to reduce waste.
  • If there are any leftovers, try to reuse them in another meal.

17:30 Work outside the office

Now it’s time to run errands before the end of the day:

  • Remember that light bulb that blew out yesterday? Replace them with LED or energy-saving bulbs. Has your dishwasher broken down? Buy an A+++ rating dishwasher.
  • A slightly greener house is always better. Buy some plants, such as golden pothos (also known as Devil’s ivy), which are easy to maintain and improve air quality.
  • Don’t need anything? Don’t buy anything. Less consumption is the most beneficial thing you can do for the planet. Focus on reuse and repair, as well as second-hand or reconditioned items, and increasing the lifespan of your possessions.
  • Consume in a responsible way. Chemical-free cleaning products; clothes from sustainable brands, food from zero-waste shops, etc.

20:00 There must also be time to have fun

It has been a tough but productive and sustainable day. So you deserve some time for yourself; enjoy some cultural activities, do some sport or take up a responsible hobby:

  • Grow your own balcony garden.
  • Help with a waste collection with a walk on the beach or in the countryside.
  • Prepare a guided conservation tour.
  • Reuse materials to create new furniture or decorative objects.
  • Collaborate with an ecological or wildlife defence association.

Whatever it is, it is best done in the company of family or friends. And take the opportunity to preach the benefits of sustainable living!

22:00 Time to rest

We are going to wind down in order to have a good rest, have dinner calmly and, of course, finish with the routines of the day:

  • If you spend some time watching TV, surfing the Internet or playing video games, don’t forget to switch off your electronic devices completely after use (do not leave them on standby).
  • Before settling in at home, take out the rubbish, which you have probably already separated for recycling based on its composition.

You don’t have to do everything at once, but it will help if you start improving your habits little by little

What did you think of this example day? Perhaps some things you were already putting into practice, or that others are not possible in your case… but I’m sure that some of the examples will help you to think about how to spend your days in a more environmentally responsible way.

There are also mobile applications such as DoGood or TooGoodToGo that can help to reinforce and acquire more sustainable habits and behaviours.

Remember: you don’t have to do everything at once, but it will help if you start improving your habits little by little. The result is better for you and for everyone.