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  • Writer's pictureSean

15 Sustainability Myths Busted: The Facts You Need to Know

Updated: Aug 9, 2023


Living a sustainable lifestyle is not always easy, but neither is life. You're bound to encounter a fair share of misinformed opinions and myths about what it means to "live green." It can be especially challenging for people already struggling to manage their time. Who has time to juggle work, kids, and a myriad of other responsibilities? So, let's clear the air and debunk some common sustainability myths.

Myth 1: Sustainability is Expensive

small pig calculating cost benefits of energy efficiency

We've all seen the price tags on organic food or electric cars and thought, "Wow, living sustainably must cost a fortune!" But, truth be told, sustainable living can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run. By switching to energy efficient appliances you can see massive reductions in your electricity bill When I started growing my own vegetables, not only has it saved money, but nothing beats the taste of homegrown tomatoes.

Myth 2: Sustainable Living is Inconvenient

Ah, the old "it's too much hassle" argument. Look, I won't sugarcoat it - transitioning to a sustainable lifestyle requires some changes. But inconvenient? Not at all. In fact, some changes can make life easier. Like swapping single-use plastic bottles for a sturdy, reusable water bottle. I've saved countless trips to the grocery store, not to mention the headache of dealing with overflowing recycling bins.

organic vegetables

Myth 3: Organic Food is the Only Sustainable Option

Organic food is great, but it's not the be-all and end-all of sustainable eating. Remember when I mentioned growing my own vegetables? They may not be certified organic, but I know they're pesticide-free and didn't require any fuel to get to my table. Shopping locally, eating seasonally, and reducing food waste are equally, if not more, important for sustainable living.

Myth 4: Sustainability is Only About the Environment

Some believe that sustainability is just about caring for the environment. But it's so much more! Picture the last time you visited a local business; behind every product lies a chain of human effort, a community bolstered by your support. Embracing sustainability means you're not just being mindful of the planet, but also contributing to a world where everyone—from the raw material collectors to the finished product creators—receives their fair share.

Myth 5: One Person Cannot Make a Difference

one man upon the mountaintop

When I started on my sustainability journey, I often wondered, "Can I, a human person and not a multinational corporation, really make a difference?" And the answer is a resounding "Yes!" Every small change adds up. It's like a ripple effect; one person inspires another, who inspires another. I've seen it happen in my own community - our collective effort has led to local policy changes, reduced waste, and a stronger sense of unity. This includes voting, which impacts what our leaders prioritize. If we don't make noise, we won't be heard.

Our actions matter. We have the power to shape a sustainable future, not just for us, but for our children and generations to come.

Myth 6: Children Can't Understand Sustainability

Trust me, never underestimate the power of a child's curiosity. Children are like enormous sponges, absorbing everything we put in front of them (whether we want them to or not). Recently I was confronted by dozens of "why" questions from my young daughter when she saw me composting kitchen scraps. Explaining why we do it sparked an interest in her about nature and life cycles. We also agreed not to compost our living cat. So yes, children can grasp the essence of sustainability. In fact, they often become the most enthusiastic participants and influencers in the home. Just don't say I didn't warn you when your little eco-warrior starts catching your every minor transgression.

Myth 7: Electric Cars are the Only Sustainable Mode of Transportation

biking is sustainable transportation for kids and adults

Don't get me wrong. Electric cars are a wonderful step forward in reducing carbon emissions. But, they aren't the only sustainable mode of transportation. I recall when a new bike lane was installed in our town. My family and I decided to start biking for short errands. We saved money on gas, reduced our carbon footprint, and got to enjoy more of the great outdoors. Not to mention, the health benefits! Busses, trains, and even carpooling are additional options available that help to reduce our impact on the Earth.

Myth 8: Going Green Means Giving Up Modern Comforts

Long ago I believed that living sustainably meant giving up my comfortable lifestyle. But boy, was I wrong. Sustainable living doesn't mean dwelling in a cave and giving up on modern comforts. Take my energy-efficient heating and cooling system, for example. It keeps my house comfortable year-round and reduces my energy use. Win-win! Often times the most effective way to reduce your environmental impact is to modernize old, inefficient ideas and products with more energy-efficient options.

Myth 9: Sustainability is a Political Issue

Look, no matter where you stand politically, we all share this Earth, right? And we all want to leave a better world for our children. The desire to protect and conserve our planet transcends political boundaries. So let's keep it above politics. It's about humanity's survival and prosperity.

Sustainability isn't about scoring political points; it's about acknowledging our responsibility as Earth's custodians. It's about understanding that our actions today shape the world our children and grandchildren will inherit. The real beauty of sustainability is that it unites us, as it's founded on universal values such as care, respect, and justice.

Myth 10: All Plastics are Bad

Plastic has a bad reputation - and for good reason. Single-use plastics are a menace to the environment. But that doesn't mean all plastics are bad. By replacing old food storage containers with durable, long-lasting plastic ones, I was able to reduce the amount of plastic I end up recycling and I've been using them for years now, reducing waste from disposable packaging. The key is to use plastics responsibly, minimize their use where possible, and recycle them properly.

Sustainability isn't about perfection - it's about making better choices when we can. It's about taking small, consistent steps towards a healthier planet. Remember, every action counts, and together, we can make a world of difference.

Myth 11: Paper is Always Better than Plastic

Once upon a time, I too believed that switching to paper would solve all my environmental woes. But it turns out, the paper versus plastic debate is not so black-and-white. Both materials have their environmental costs. It's about how we use them. I've found that investing in reusable items - be it cloth bags or glass containers - is the real game-changer. It's all about reducing what we consume and reusing as much as we can.

Myth 12: All Renewable Energy Sources are Equally Sustainable

As I explored options for powering my home with renewable energy, I discovered that not all renewable sources are created equal. Some might be more sustainable or suitable depending on your location and other factors. For example, while solar panels are a great option for sunny areas, wind turbines are more suited to windy regions. It's all about researching and choosing the best fit for your circumstances. While geothermal heat pumps work better in some environments than in others.

Myth 13: Planting Trees is the Only Solution to Reducing CO2

I love trees. Who doesn't? They're very pretty, and also crucial for absorbing carbon dioxide and providing habitat for wildlife. But solving the climate crisis requires a more comprehensive approach. It's about reducing our carbon footprint in all areas of life, from the food we eat to how we travel. Plant trees, absolutely. But also remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room and consider bike rides for short trips. And don't purchase from companies that are destroying our environment.

Myth 14: Sustainability is Only for the Wealthy

Sustainability isn't a club exclusive to those with deep pockets. Many sustainable habits can actually save money. Think about it. Turning off the lights, reducing water usage, growing your own herbs – these are all actions that cost little to nothing but offer both environmental and financial benefits.

Myth 15: Recycling is the Only Way to Reduce Waste

example of upcycling rubber boots

Recycling is crucial, but it's just one part of the waste reduction equation. I remember feeling so accomplished when I first started recycling, we even let our daughter decorate the recycling bin. But we were missing two crucial steps: reducing and reusing. Now, I follow the mantra: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," in that order. I've been amazed by how much waste I've been able to avoid by just taking a moment to reconsider my choices. No longer do I struggle to close the garbage lid on garbage day.

Wrapping Up

We've busted some significant myths about sustainability, and hopefully, you feel more empowered to make eco-friendly decisions. As we've discovered, living sustainably isn't about perfection. It's about making better choices where we can. Every little bit helps, and together, we can make a significant difference. So, let's continue on this journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle. For us, for our children, for our planet.

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. There are countless resources and communities out there dedicated to sustainable living. So, keep learning, keep growing, and keep making every day a bit greener. Let's create a sustainable future, one step at a time.


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