As a practice, consumerism was only popularized last century. For thousands of years people simply made do with what they had. Managing a household was an art of sustainability, since things were simply expected to last as long as possible. Even if on average there were eight children per household, the consumption of energy and water was minimal because every member of the family was careful with what they had.

In turn, most native cultures, some still living today, honored nature. In a type of ontological symbiosis, ancient cultures considered their relationship to the environment had a greater value than their existential sense. Humans used to be part of nature, there was no dividing line, no hierarchies, and in most cases, respect guaranteed the harmonious coexistence with the universe.

For the past two-thousand years, in Western culture, regardless of its preference for expansionism, colonization and the exploitation of resources, the philosophy within households, at least its core, was quite different. Making the most of the available resources was an end in and of itself, even just a century ago, before mass production permeated social customs.

Although at the turn of the 20th century we did not have the technology we have today, which is why homes had to be more sustainable, there was a latent state of mind surrounding the best use of resources. The culture of the disposable is fairly new, closely related to comfort. But, is it really that hard to give up some consumerist ways in exchange for a more sustainable lifestyle, and a correct expansion of our collective awareness?

We need to only take a look at what we did one hundred years ago to recover millenary sustainable practices that we lost in the fleeting and unfortunate blink of an eye.

Here are some millenary habits that with the simple modification of our lifestyle, if recovered, will help the planet:

Learn to mend your clothes: even though it’s cheap to replace torn items, remember that this practice is too comfortable. You do not need new things if you simply learn how to make small and discreet repairs, which will also make you appreciate what you already have.

Do not buy disposable goods: if you’re female, look for eco-friendly pads. Wash your rags and cloths after cleaning and avoid cleaning with disposable items, this is pretty irresponsible.

Collect rainwater: you can use it to water plants or in the toilet, this was actually a common practice in most households not so long ago.

Learn to can seasonal goods: people used to make natural canned goods with seasonal foods, and kept them for later. This practice stimulated the local economy and meant that people did not rely on imported goods that, among other things, require burning fossil fuels in order to transport them.

Replace the supermarket with the farmers’ market: this is where you can find fresh, generally local products, some of which will be GMO free.

Hang your clothes out to dry: in spring the wind and sun will dry it quickly, and when the weather makes it impossible you can simply hand them indoors, they’ll also dry quickly because of the warm temperature.

Grow your own food at home: you can plant all sorts of things, from herbs to fruits, vegetables and legumes, which will also bring nature back into your life.

Buy natural beauty products: look for shampoos, soaps and make-up that are made with natural ingredients, avoid oil based products.

Make the most of solar energy: the sun provides more than just light, it is also a source that enables you to charge your gadgets, and currently there are plenty of solar chargers for cell phones, watches, calculators, etc.

Use natural non-aggressive cleaning products like baking soda or vinegar.

It’s tricky for you to replace the most energy consuming device in your home: the fridge; however you can uses these simple suggestions to save energy:

Keep the refrigerator at a temperature between 3 and 5°C, and the freezer between -17 and -15.

Do not place it near anything that gives off heat.

Clean the condensation reels located in the back or the bottom of the fridge at least once a year.

Use pressure cookers: these use small amounts of energy, also use flat pot and pans with a larger diameter that the surface of the grill, this will allow you to cook things faster and you will save more energy.

Replace your consumerist mindset: this is the most important step to return to a more mindful culture, you do not need to acquire things systematically. Many objects can have a longer life if you give them a proper use.

As a practice, consumerism was only popularized last century. For thousands of years people simply made do with what they had. Managing a household was an art of sustainability, since things were simply expected to last as long as possible. Even if on average there were eight children per household, the consumption of energy and water was minimal because every member of the family was careful with what they had.

In turn, most native cultures, some still living today, honored nature. In a type of ontological symbiosis, ancient cultures considered their relationship to the environment had a greater value than their existential sense. Humans used to be part of nature, there was no dividing line, no hierarchies, and in most cases, respect guaranteed the harmonious coexistence with the universe.

For the past two-thousand years, in Western culture, regardless of its preference for expansionism, colonization and the exploitation of resources, the philosophy within households, at least its core, was quite different. Making the most of the available resources was an end in and of itself, even just a century ago, before mass production permeated social customs.

Although at the turn of the 20th century we did not have the technology we have today, which is why homes had to be more sustainable, there was a latent state of mind surrounding the best use of resources. The culture of the disposable is fairly new, closely related to comfort. But, is it really that hard to give up some consumerist ways in exchange for a more sustainable lifestyle, and a correct expansion of our collective awareness?

We need to only take a look at what we did one hundred years ago to recover millenary sustainable practices that we lost in the fleeting and unfortunate blink of an eye.

Here are some millenary habits that with the simple modification of our lifestyle, if recovered, will help the planet:

Learn to mend your clothes: even though it’s cheap to replace torn items, remember that this practice is too comfortable. You do not need new things if you simply learn how to make small and discreet repairs, which will also make you appreciate what you already have.

Do not buy disposable goods: if you’re female, look for eco-friendly pads. Wash your rags and cloths after cleaning and avoid cleaning with disposable items, this is pretty irresponsible.

Collect rainwater: you can use it to water plants or in the toilet, this was actually a common practice in most households not so long ago.

Learn to can seasonal goods: people used to make natural canned goods with seasonal foods, and kept them for later. This practice stimulated the local economy and meant that people did not rely on imported goods that, among other things, require burning fossil fuels in order to transport them.

Replace the supermarket with the farmers’ market: this is where you can find fresh, generally local products, some of which will be GMO free.

Hang your clothes out to dry: in spring the wind and sun will dry it quickly, and when the weather makes it impossible you can simply hand them indoors, they’ll also dry quickly because of the warm temperature.

Grow your own food at home: you can plant all sorts of things, from herbs to fruits, vegetables and legumes, which will also bring nature back into your life.

Buy natural beauty products: look for shampoos, soaps and make-up that are made with natural ingredients, avoid oil based products.

Make the most of solar energy: the sun provides more than just light, it is also a source that enables you to charge your gadgets, and currently there are plenty of solar chargers for cell phones, watches, calculators, etc.

Use natural non-aggressive cleaning products like baking soda or vinegar.

It’s tricky for you to replace the most energy consuming device in your home: the fridge; however you can uses these simple suggestions to save energy:

Keep the refrigerator at a temperature between 3 and 5°C, and the freezer between -17 and -15.

Do not place it near anything that gives off heat.

Clean the condensation reels located in the back or the bottom of the fridge at least once a year.

Use pressure cookers: these use small amounts of energy, also use flat pot and pans with a larger diameter that the surface of the grill, this will allow you to cook things faster and you will save more energy.

Replace your consumerist mindset: this is the most important step to return to a more mindful culture, you do not need to acquire things systematically. Many objects can have a longer life if you give them a proper use.

Tagged: , ,