We asked Anne Therese (from New York, USA) and Dee (Cairo, Egypt) to share their tips and experience on mindful and sustainable living in big cities.
The Challenge To Live In a Big City
It can be difficult to connect with nature when living in a city. Traffic noises overpower the sounds of birds and wind, grass is replaced with streets and pavements, there are more buildings than trees and even the sky is hidden by the tall constructions and the smoke in the air. Nature offers us plenty of mental and physical health benefits, and the disconnect from it can leave negative impact to your well-being, even if you don’t notice it at first.
Another big sustainability challenge you may have encountered in an urban area is managing your waste. Cities are the home for busy people with fast-paced lifestyles, which means that single-use plastic is often hard to avoid as it is the easiest option available. However, plastic never goes away and it is incredibly damaging to the environment.
To reduce your use of plastic, try to avoid products that can’t be recycled. Shop in places that use paper packaging instead of plastic. Visit different stores to check which ones offer bulk-sections and produce that isn’t packaged in plastic. Always bring an extra bag with you, and maybe start carrying reusable water bottle, coffee cup, set of utensils – anything that you use often.
Start Your Sustainable And Mindful Journey
Are you ready to take the first step towards a more sustainable living in the city? There is no need to feel overwhelmed, just take it slow and step by step!
Here are some tips that Anne Therese and Dee suggest to take a first step towards sustainability:
- Eat less meat and dairy. If you can’t give up meat entirely, eat vegetarian once or twice a week – however much you can cut down.
- Waste less food – plan your meals before shopping, don’t buy too much, get creative and make new meals from leftovers, and do some searching online to find out the best way to dispose food waste (it could be compost pick up from the streets or a farmers’ market that accepts food scraps).
- Make sustainable fashion choices – buy less and shop 2nd-hand or from ethical and sustainable brands
- Think about your finances – plan what you’re spending your money for and research what your bank and investment funds are doing (check out Stop The Money Pipeline to learn more about what dirty industries many banks are supporting)
Finally, try to change your mindset. Understand that making sustainable choices doesn’t mean making sacrifices. Having less doesn’t mean that your life will be less fulfilled and exciting.
After all, sustainable living isn’t just the best thing for the planet, it is also good for your own well-being. So, try slowing down – even if it feels like you don’t have time for that or like it can’t fit your lifestyle.
Make slowing down and living mindfully your habit. Pay attention to your surroundings, seek for that beauty around you, take a break and relax, and enjoy it. And, once you learn to slow down, it will become so much easier to appreciate the beauty of our planet around you and to make those decisions towards a greener, kinder life – for you and for the Earth.