6 sustainability tips that we can learn from our grandparents
The everyday life of our grandparents and great-grandparents was probably very different from ours today. Not to mention economic crises and world wars, they simply lived in a different time. In many rural areas, running water and electricity were not a given, and refrigerators and cars were considered luxury items.
They didn't have the opportunity to warm up a dish in the microwave or ask Google Maps for directions. Some modern inventions and achievements are great, and in many areas of life we certainly have things much easier and less complicated today. Nevertheless, we can learn a lot from older generations, especially when it comes to how we can live sustainably today.
So here are a few things that our grandparents and great-grandparents did to lead a simpler life - which, by the way, was often more environmentally friendly.
1. Cook yourself and eat at home
It has now become normal for many people to eat out. Especially in large cities, it has become common practice to regularly dine in a café or restaurant morning, lunch or evening. This is often easier, but also expensive. That being said, this makes cooking a skill that fewer and fewer people can master. Children in particular, but also more and more adults, often don't know exactly where their food comes from or how it was prepared.
Being able to prepare your own food not only makes you more independent and self-reliant, but also leads to a healthier diet. You also save a lot of money and are more environmentally friendly: If you cook yourself and with fresh ingredients, you use less packaging material and waste less food.
2. Repair instead of throwing away
Of course, products are produced differently today than they used to be. Due to the product aging strategy, items break more quickly and do not last very long. It doesn't matter whether it's about fashion, cars, electrical or household appliances - things no longer work or are out of date at some point.
This leads to spending a lot of money on things that can actually be repaired or modified to suit our needs.
Our grandparents knew how to mend clothes or repair broken items. Or at least where to go to get them repaired. I would like to remind myself more often not to just throw things away as soon as they no longer work perfectly. Instead, repair them yourself or send them in for repairs.
3. Bring your own lunch
When did it actually become uncool to bring your own lunch box? When we were at school, our Tupperware was not only stylish, but also friendly to the environment.
Instead of stopping by the nearest supermarket or bakery at lunchtime, it makes more sense to prepare bread at home or pack up the leftovers from yesterday's dinner.
For our grandparents, eating out was a special occasion and not something you did every day.
4. Shop smart
In the past, it was important to be able to make smart purchasing decisions due to difficult living conditions. If you couldn't afford it, you didn't buy it. And basically you only bought what you needed. Things look significantly different in today's consumer society.
It makes more sense and is more sustainable to do a bulk purchase once a week and then actually use everything up. Before you go shopping, think about what you need and reduce impulse decisions.
Less stuff means less worries... But that doesn't mean you should own as little as possible or discard modern helpers. But saying “no” to certain things leads to less waste and makes life tidier.
Huge closets with tons of clothes you won't wear and pantries full of food you won't eat were alien worlds to our grandparents. Because these things only lead to you having to spend more money, maintain more, and clean more.
As I said, it's not about minimizing all of your possessions from now on. But cleaning out properly and throwing away or giving away useless stuff has a big impact on the environment and your own well-being.
6. Rethink disposables
Ziplock and freezer bags only came into existence in the 1960s. Our ancestors therefore stored food in jars. After they had used them up, the glasses were washed and reused. We can also use containers that we use again and again instead of disposable plastic bags. This alone can reduce a lot of (plastic) waste.
If you would like to find out more about the topics of sustainable living, mindfulness or healthy eating, take a look here over.
What tips do you have for those who want to live sustainably?