sustainable thoughts
Sustainable Living

40 Sustainable Thoughts to Celebrate Turning the Big Four-Oh

I love a good list post and turning the big four-oh has gotten me feeling a little reflective, so I thought why not combine those two things into a blog post?! Today I’m sharing 40 musings on sustainable living as I reflect on turning 40 years old.

Me celebrating turning 40 and reflecting on some sustainable thoughts
Me celebrating turning 40!

40 Sustainable Thoughts

Turning a milestone birthday, it makes sense to reflect on life. I’ve been thinking a lot about living sustainably lately and how the ideas of being eco-friendly weave their way through so many aspects of my life. It’s often easy and often difficult, but mostly just worthwhile.

Sustainable Thoughts on Possessions

1. Something doesn’t have to be fancy to be functional. Letting go of that Instagram-worthy zero-waste aesthetic has let me fully embrace zero-waste living.

2. Just because I want something doesn’t mean I have to buy it. I don’t mean I severely deprive myself, just that it’s worth recognizing our consumerism is greatly contributing to climate change.

3. Whether I’m buying a fast fashion top or a sustainable one, wearing the item longer is going to make the biggest difference.

4. The most sustainable thing I can buy is nothing.

5. Where my items come from is just as important as what they are.

6. I wish a sharing economy was more normal. I’d love to be able to borrow and lend things with my neighbours.

7. Mediocre skills can still be effective at repairing things–especially when supplemented by a YouTube video or two. Whether it’s sewing a hole in a garment or changing a socket on a lamp, my minimal skills have gotten it done.

8. Letting go of material desires (albeit imperfectly and still in progress) has given my life more space and better quality.

Gratitude quote

Sustainable Thoughts on Living Life

9. The idea is progress, not perfection. This goes for everything in my life and also with respects to sustainable lifestyle changes.

10. Experiences really are the best gifts. For Christmas I was given tickets to the Opera, which I got to look forward to until the February show date. Then I got to experience something brilliant for the first time and created memories while doing it. It was really the best and, as a bonus, waste free!

11. Sustainable living can involve a little more effort, but most worthwhile things do.

12. Choosing to go zero-waste is a privilege. Not everyone can make that choice due to varying circumstances, so I feel even more of a responsibility to do so.

13. Thinking outside the box can have rewarding results–like when I decided to make little handkerchiefs by cutting up old clothes. I love using them!

14. Community makes things easier. Having support and encouragement from Krista, from local zero-waste and Buy Nothing groups really does make a difference in my journey.

15. Spending time in nature is good for the soul and good for reminding me what I’m working to save.

Ocean views on BC's west coast
Ocean views on BC’s west coast

16. Sometimes the best way to educate people is through actions not words.

17. While I do believe our small individual choices make a difference, large corporations really are the ones that need to change.

18. Holidays are horrible for creating waste. Getting creative and re-thinking how I celebrate the holidays makes a big difference.

waste quote

Sustainable Thoughts on Waste

19. Reusing items and giving them new life brings me great joy and satisfaction.

20. Analyzing my garbage was one of the most eye-opening things I’ve done on this zero-waste journey.

21. Meal planning has been one of the most useful tools for my budget and for saving food waste.

22. Reducing and reusing will always be more effective than recycling. I’ve always had a hard time viewing recycling as zero-waste.

23. It’s amazing what other people can reuse! Before tossing something it’s always worth trying to give it away. On a whim last year I posted some empty gift wrap tubes in my Buy Nothing Group and they were a hit!

24. Donating used goods to thrift stores is a great thing, but should be done respectfully. Non-profits shouldn’t be responsible for disposing of people’s garbage.

25. There’s a recycle program for that! While I do believe the other “R’s” need to come first, recycling is better than the landfill and there are some truly creative programs out there, like these ones in our post “10 Unique Recycling Programs You Need to Know About.”

26. I make the most wasteful decisions when I’m tired and burnt out. Having balance in life and practicing self-care has become increasingly more important for my life.

Winston Churchill quote

Sustainable Thoughts on Money

27. Where I spend my money tells businesses what I want and shows me what I invest in.

28. How I spend my money is a reflection of my values.

29. Sustainable living doesn’t have to cost more; sometimes is actually costs less. A number of my sustainable habits were formed when I was struggling financially.

30. Having an understanding of my finances allows me to make better decisions for my life and for my sustainable lifestyle.

We do not inherit the earth proverb

Sustainable Thoughts that I Love from Others

31. “Waste isn’t waste until we waste it.” – Will I. Am

32. “Love people use things. The opposite never works.” – The Minimalists

33. “Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.” – E.F. Schumacher

34. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 

Jane Goodall

35. “There is no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard

36. “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous

37. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb

38. “We just can’t consume our way to a more sustainable world.” – Unknown

39. “The earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.” – Earnest Hemmingway

40. “What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on.”

Henry David Thoreau

Sustainable Thoughts to Share

Do you have any thoughts to share? What sustainable living ideas have you been mulling over lately?

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