What is a Sustainable Urban Lifestyle and Why Adopt It?
The idea of living a sustainable urban lifestyle stem from sustainable living, which involves reducing the consumption of the earth’s natural resources to help protect the planet for future generations. In other words, to live a sustainable urban lifestyle one should try to reduce their impact on the planet and try to replace the resources one consumes.
Living a sustainable lifestyle means more than being a responsible consumer. The idea of a sustainable lifestyle stretches to life choices and the extent to which an individual can go to adopt practices that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Adopting a sustainable lifestyle consists of all the small efforts one can put in to make the planet a better place for future generations. Presently, the entire bulk of the global population is located in urban areas. Therefore, living a sustainable urban lifestyle should be a priority for the urban residents.
Following are some of the ways people in urban areas can lead a sustainable lifestyle.
Urban farming is considered to be a good way of introducing food sustainability in urban areas. The idea of urban farming includes growing or producing food in a city or heavily populated town or municipality. The term is broadly used for many types of agricultural or farming activities in urban areas. Urban farming includes urban agriculture, backyard gardening, rooftop farming, vertical farming, forest gardening, aquaponics, and urban beekeeping.
In a food-insecure country like Pakistan, the idea of urban farming can make a significant difference. If households in the urban areas grow their fruits and vegetables, it can bring quality and fresh agricultural produce closer to the urban population. If an increasing number of households adopt urban farming practices, it will reduce the pressure on the agricultural sector of the country.
The idea of growing one’s fruits and vegetables in their kitchen garden or rooftop has made the concept popular amongst urban residents. As a result, Agri-tech startups, community organizations, and local governments have joined hands to create a better understanding of this field and to spread awareness regarding its potential benefits.
Moreover, urban farming is immune to the effects of climate conditions, unlike traditional farming practices, in which farmers have to plant their crops and fulfil subsequent requirements according to the expected climate conditions. If urban farming becomes mainstream in the majority of households, people will be able to grow their fruits and vegetables throughout the year without climate restraint. The idea of small-scale agricultural activity has gained much popularity in today’s world. Local communities should arrange workshops and seminars on how to grow essential vegetables in house gardens to boost this type of home-based agricultural farming.
Improved Waste Management at Household Level
Landfills in all major cities of Pakistan are filled with waste that is hazardous to the environment. One of the most important aspects of waste management is waste segregation, which is often negligible in Pakistan as large public dumpsters are found flooded with heaps of unsegregated and mixed wastes.
Individuals can play their role in waste management by segregating different types of waste on the household level. People can start by getting colour coated bins; green for organic waste, yellow for glass-like substances, white for paper, grey for metal, red for any hazardous material and blue for plastic. Waste can also be segregated based on categories like biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Segregation of waste can reduce the burden on the existing landfills and help curb land pollution.
Composting is an aerobic method of decomposing organic solid wastes and it can therefore be used to recycle organic material. The compost created by the process can be added to soils to help plants grow. Composting can help make use of the organic material that is wasted by households. This includes food scraps, yard waste, cardboard, and shredded newspapers. This type of material is what most of the waste in the landfills consists of, adding to the significance of composting. Making compost keeps household waste from ending up in landfills where it takes up space and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Organic composting is an important way of ensuring a relatively healthy lifestyle in and around the local community. The process of composting requires that dry and wet waste be separated, followed by segregation based on the type of materials. Once isolated, waste materials can become useful in several ways. Before dumping waste, if organic composting of wasted food is done, methane emissions can be significantly reduced. Composting is a simple process, and it can be practised by individual communities and even households, with kitchen waste as raw organic waste material.
Save and Conserve water
Water is consumed often in household activities. Urban residents can play a role in reducing the consumption of limited freshwater sources. A change of consumption habits of the urban household residents can considerably save and conserve water for better and improved use. Even small practices like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, running the washing machine and dishwasher with a full load, fixing leaks, avoiding overwatering the lawn, monitoring your water usage on your water bill and seeking a home water audit can produce a significant impact.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
The three R principle of reducing, reusing, and recycling is part of the waste hierarchy which is a process used to protect the environment and conserve resources through a priority approach. The aim is to get the most practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste.
The 3R principle is one of the most essential rules to make the immediate local environment more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This principle allows maximum room for individual creativity and innovation to come up with efficient ways of utilizing the interior and exterior part of any house, building, or area.
The Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle principle is not limited to the maximum utilization of existing spaces, but it also includes everyday household-based decisions. A deliberate thought to the majority of household shopping decisions can help people reduce their load of things at home that they do not need but purchase anyway. Therefore, consumers must question the purpose and objective of every one of their purchases to reduce the backlog of useless things and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of every purchase.
One can simply ask these three questions for a more sustainable lifestyle
Do I need that? Reduce
Can I or someone else make use of it differently? Reuse
Can the materials be made into something new? Recycle
To properly adopt an urban sustainable lifestyle, city residents need to prioritize minimalist life choices and seek creative ways of reducing their overall waste. A progressive approach to reducing waste, reusing by-products and recycling used things can help in conserving energy and the planet in the long run. In addition, urban farming on rooftops and kitchen gardens can be a healthy way to kickstart growing food on a home-based level.