How to live sustainably

How to live sustainably

It seems to be a question asked by more and more of us, ordinary people and experts of the topic alike: how to live sustainably in an ever-changing world? The happenings of modern everyday life bring it up and have us regurgitate it with ever […]

Even Minimalists Are Affecting Climate Change

Even Minimalists Are Affecting Climate Change

We can all feel the weather getting warmer, stormier, scarier; and we can all see it becoming dirtier too, on land and especially in the sea – and we have no one to blame but ourselves. For some obscure reason, humans have attached themselves to […]

11 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

11 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Are your daily activities pushing your carbon footprint over an unsustainable limit? Or have you come to a crossroads, wondering how and where to reduce your carbon footprint next? It is a big issue when it comes to sustainable living.

First things first, before you begin to reduce your carbon footprint, it is beneficial to know exactly what it is and approximately how to measure it.

Your carbon footprint defined

carbon footprint
/ˌkɑːbən ˈfʊtprɪnt/
noun
noun: carbon footprint; plural noun: carbon footprints
the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.

Google dictionary

It can also be stated that our carbon footprints measure the total greenhouse emissions caused by living, working and playing in our everyday lives. With our very act of being, we are emitting carbon dioxide with each breath, at the same time we release carbon in more than one way. As you read (not browse) through the list below, think about where we have gone wrong and how we can make amends with Earth, again.

How to measure your carbon footprint

While the end calculation of measuring your carbon footprint is just an estimate, it is also a starting point to know just how much greenhouse gases you are contributing to climate change with – it is also a great indicator to know where you can cut back on energy usage and where you could be making sustainable changes.

A carbon footprint calculator will walk you through the details of your life – starting with where you live, asking how often and how far you travel, how you get to where you are going, how do you heat your home, how much electricity you consume, etc. However, it does not take into account every aspect of life, such as do you grow your own food, do you work from home, how much of your life is stored in terabytes in virtual clouds?

While it makes for a fine starting point, knowing how well/bad you are doing in relation to the rest of the world, it is certainly not an indicator of how much you have to give back to nature. You can give more than you take if you so choose, slowing down the devastating effects of a rapidly changing climate. There may be periods of time when you create more carbon emissions than your conscience can bear, that’s when it is good to have a backup plan, outsource and start planting trees as soon as possible.

How to reduce your carbon footprint – starting now!

Stop flying.

Flying is bad for the planet, and we are in control to put on the brake. Taking to the skies is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases that private individuals make, and while it may seem like a modern way to travel, it is also at a detriment to the Earth. Ground transportation comes next, though we’ll talk about that in a minute. If we are talking about carbon sins here, air travel tops the list.

It may take rethinking your family vacation, even your honeymoon, or embracing a slower way to travel via train and public transportation, yet all creative ways of slower travel are viable options. And in a world where we are all available on-screen, it is high time to rethink business meetings. Face-to-face is always nice, though online meetings can be super-productive and reduce your carbon footprint too.

Some airlines are now offering carbon offsets with an additional fee, though you may want to offset privately and plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Drive less, bike more.

Just as planes are contributing to global warming, so are the very cars that carry us where we would like to go. Of course, it is necessary to be certain places at spot-on times, yet we are in control of that too. If we make unnecessary trips to the store, out of boredom or just as something to do, then we are only adding to the fire.

To reduce your carbon footprint, gradually discover ways to get out of undesirable situations. If you own 2 cars, find a way to only own 1. If you can carpool, ride the bus or bike to work, then explore those options as you increase your social connections. Another option is a car-share, where you get to be in the driver’s seat when you want to – with some prior planning. Every problem has multiple solutions, unearth what is best for you and the planet.

Walk.

There is no better form of staying fit than walking. Gardening perhaps comes closest, though any sort of active outdoor activity will do. Walk because you can and learn to carry the weight of all that you purchase at any given time possible. It is a humbling experience and it will make you a better, happier, more peaceful person, as you spend much needed time in nature.

And what better way to do it, than in earthing footwear, if not grounding barefoot?!

Switch to a clean source of energy.

As you tumble dry your clothes, and watch your electric bill skyrocket, you will note that not all appliances are particularly environmentally-friendly. Same goes for your oversize fridge too. If it isn’t kept fully stocked, its efficiency is limited. The simplest way to get around drying your clothes, is to hang them outside (or in) depending on your location. And always choose the smallest appliance to suit your needs.

If and when possible, switch to a cleaner source of energy. Even your coffee maker constantly plugged in, is continuously consuming electricity. Invest in renewable energy for a brighter future, be it solar, wind, biomass or – better yet – a combination of those.

Conserve water and clean up our waterways.

Water is a precious resource that we have been known to waste. With climate change fueled by droughts and unpredictable storms, we need to be doing all we can to save what we have, both for today, tomorrow and future generations. It’s simple: fix any leaks, take shorter showers, turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. Repeat small actions lead to big change.

It is not just about drinking water though. Our waterways are becoming polluted at all points of entry, from physical floating-sinking objects to diluted chemicals, pharmaceuticals which cannot be seen, the water can hardly be purified from, though any and every living organism is affected by them. We’ll all feel better about the environment when we leave it better than we found it.

Water is second only to air, if one is pressured into setting up a check-list of most urgent tasks to tackle for attaining sustainability.

Try a change of diet.

No, it is not what you are thinking. We aren’t promoting a vegetarian or vegan diet, on the contrary: we are suggesting a place-based diet that includes what is native and grows near you – meat, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, wild herbs and insects alike. When you reduce your food miles, you are also reducing the transportation of your dietary requirements.

It is also wise to avoid extensive consumption of monoculture crops which have an increased use of fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Not only this, monoculture farming often leads to land degradation, soil erosion and water scarcity. Let’s fight back against the loss of biodiversity by growing smaller gardens, and foraging for nutrients nearby. Could perennials be the food of the future?

Go plastic-free.

Plastics are everywhere, yet they are only good for a few moments in time. That single-use bag? Recycle it and bring your own handmade hemp or organic cotton bag instead. The plastic straw? Skip that and help to prevent death in the seas. Plastics have a way of floating far from where they were sold, be the eco-conscious one who prevents them from littering the landscape – go for quality, not quantity.

Embrace the philosophy of zero-waste.

While achieving zero-waste is a far-off dream for many of us, the concept of refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot is plausible, uncomplicated and everyone can do it. It just takes self-discipline, perseverance and dedication. In the long run, it benefits all living creatures, take action starting today!

No matter where you live in the world, you can make a difference in the amount of resources that are saved or wasted.

Become an eco-minimalist.

As you pare down your belongings and discover the benefits of ecological minimalism, you will find that consuming less is a wonderful route to lower your carbon emissions. Buy less, invest in better. Go for handmade items constructed from sustainable materials and create with the future in mind. If it is compostable, and fully biodegradable, then you are on the right track.

Plant trees.

And not just a single tree, reduce your carbon footprint and invest in an entire forest! Humans consume to survive, yet we are also here to create. When we generate oxygen by planting trees we are helping the Earth, and everything on it – to breathe easier. If you travel, drive a car, or eat asparagus out of season, you are raising your carbon emissions. Reduce your carbon footprint by planting trees near and far – oxygenate!

Reduce your dependence on technology.

Smart phones and laptops, all electronic devices including appliances like refrigerators/freezers are adding to the long list called means of depletion of resources. As we spend more and more time inside (overusing air-conditioning and heating), we are spending less and less time outside in nature, where we belong. If we break this intimate connection to the wild-world, we gradually lose interest in saving it.

Technology will not save the world. Although it has brought us closer together than ever before, let’s not put all of our hope into that EMF basket. When you feel your love for nature waning, take a digital detox day, or two, even an entire week, to return to the fresh air. Explore the grounding energies with your bare feet, gaze up into the sky as you lay under a tree, and wonder why you haven’t discovered this sooner. Make it a weekly routine.

Your carbon footprint says everything about the way you currently live – both good and bad. If you are not happy with the story it has to tell, then take necessary time and action to reduce your carbon footprint, starting today!

When you are in need of a green living coach to hold you accountable for your sustainable (re)actions, Cheryl and Roland are down-to-Earth sustainable life designers – here to make sure that your home (and business) is as green as it can possibly be.

Ecological Consciousness and Mindful Minimalism

Ecological Consciousness and Mindful Minimalism

Earth, our one and only home, is in a state of disarray as the clutter from our homes escapes into the wild and ends up in the strangest of places. In recent months, whales have perished from ingesting too much plastic, including missing flip flops […]

Nine (plus one) benefits of living sustainably

Nine (plus one) benefits of living sustainably

In our personal lives as a family of three (comprising of two stay-at-home entrepreneurs and a life-learner child), we have found the following benefits to be outstanding in the quest of embracing a sustainable life. Profoundness The most convincing – and even viscerally felt to […]

Earthing sandal patterns

Earthing sandal patterns

Nearly 30,000 years ago, perhaps even earlier, humans decided that it was high time to cover our feet, the earliest footwear being earthing sandals – to walk faster, to run free and to stride more comfortably on Earth. We absorbed the comforts of cushioning our soles with every step.

What happened in the meantime is that our feet became narrower (a result of walking shorter distances combined with carrying less) and they became more prone to bunions caused by tight fitting shoes. Our modern foot pampering has also distanced us from the grounding energies of the Earth, which is why we have taken footwear back into our own hands and created a pair of earthing sandal patterns for you to recreate and enjoy!

The soles of shoes have gradually gotten thicker, utilizing harder materials, as society has advanced. The more garbage we produce and the more toxins we release into the wild, the more we desire to protect our precious feet – after all, it is our contact with the ground that keeps us moving further ahead.

The oldest surviving rope shoes are from around 10,000 years ago. The oldest leather shoes, also a great conductive material for grounding, is estimated to be 5,500 years old; they were found in an Armenian cave.

In the beginning we were covering our feet in an attempt to handle the effects of hot sand, sharp stones and poisonous insects, and the most ancient sandals did this perfectly with all natural materials. Now our aim is to protect our feet from broken glass, sharp plastic and metal, and to keep our feet dry, super dry.

Production of “plastic shoes” in the 1940’s came with the advancement of man-made materials that are known and loved to this day. Shoes were easier to care for than ever before, they didn’t shrink or let your toes get wet. Plastics made footwear more alluring and shiny, with more intense colors than can be achieved with natural materials. Now, footwear could perfectly color-match outfits or painted toenails (another synthetic advancement we could do well without!). The only downside(s) being that plastic shoes do not breathe, later on they cannot be recycled. Plastic shoes are made cheaply and sold for a generous profit, at a great cost to the environment, terrestrial and marine alike.

With the amount of plastics in production, combined with the fast-fashion disposability of footwear (shoes, boots, sandals, flip-flops) there is a tremendous amount of garbage being buried in the soil, or being released into waterways worldwide.

Plastics are one of the largest problems we are facing at this moment in history, when the human race is more pressured than ever to answer the question – how to live sustainably. What has already been created will far outlive our lives, by hundreds, thousands of years! While a plastic-free life sounds like an illusion in an ideal heaven, the question remains, how to safely, gracefully, naturally, cover your feet while you spend your meaningful days on Earth? Jump straight into a pair of earthing sandals for a start!

Why wear earthing sandals?

In the quest for truly sustainable footwear, we have found that it is best to make your own earthing shoes. No company exists, or at least they are extremely difficult to find (outside of eco-minded artisans), that uses 100% sustainable, compostable materials in creating shoes that are made to fit your individual feet.

This means zero plastic, no synthetics, free from all dyes… It sounds so simple, yet it is so hard to find a pair of ethically made shoes that also allow for grounding – connecting with the energies of the Earth.

It is so important for children to take their initial steps in soft-soled shoes. Leather is a wonderful material for their first earthing shoes, as children love to run, and many styles are available, ready-made. We chose to use hemp rope as a sustainable footwear option when our daughter was young:

Discovering the virtues of the feet being able to move freely in and with the footwear, we made both earthing sandals and earthing shoes to fit our adult sized feet too. If what is better for your feet, is also better for the Earth, the only question to ask is why are we not all wearing earthing shoes? It is true that they will get wet, they will weather and stretch with age – they are footwear that grow and shrink, mold to your feet in direct proportion to your connection to the land. And that, by their very existence, makes them beautiful.

Benefits of Earthing

Connecting to the land is best done with bare feet, however, we aren’t always in the situation to find a clear patch of beach, grass, meadow or forest to walk confidently in. That’s when earthing sandals come in handy. Not only are they lightweight, they are crafted from sustainable materials, and are compostable at the end of their lives. How often can you say that about a pair of shoes that you currently own?

Grounding is a practice that we should be doing every day, so get outside, barefoot or in earthing sandals, and rediscover what we have to gain from earthing:

  • Reduced stress levels – simply by connecting to nature
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased ability to generate electricity
  • Increased vitality and overall energy
  • Improved sleep
  • Normalized biological rhythms
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Relief from muscle tension and headaches
  • Protection from electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
  • Accelerated recovery from stress and illness

Try earthing for 30 minutes every day to discover a better, more relaxed, healthier you!

Earthing sandal patterns

Now that you are convinced that you absolutely must create a pair of earthing sandals for yourself, or for your loved ones, just click on the images below to download our earthing sandal patterns for children or women.

Please note that we have found 2 distinct ways of sewing the hemp rope, choose the sewing style that suits you best. We encourage you to get creative with your own earthing sandals and rope-soled shoes, for the ability to be grounded is yours for the taking!

And as you move beyond crafting your own earthing sandals, create an upper part with the same hemp rope (or combine it with natural fabric), so that your rope soles can extend into cooler months. The process is the same, ingenuity is up to you!

Did you know that creating your own earthing shoes and sustainable clothing helps to lower your carbon footprint too? Not to mention the clean conscience such attire lends, so you too can become the walking ad-vocate of living sustainably.

Have you created your own pair of earthing shoes in the past, are you ready to walk softly on the Earth into the future, and/or will you continue to walk barefoot every chance you get? Leave us a note in the comments, we’d love to hear your sustainable footwear story!