We tend to talk a lot about how to live sustainably. But where we do so is also an important part of the puzzle. Where we choose to live can have a huge bearing on how sustainably we can live and how easily we can do so.
You might not be able to change your living situation right now. But it is good to have dreams about where you might be able to live in future. It is only when we dream and imagine that we can discover a pathway forwards, and begin to take the first small steps towards making it happen.
Sustainable accommodation comes in many forms.
The Rural, Homestead Dream?
Like me, you might choose to have a home in the countryside, with space to grow your own food and the natural resources to meet a range of your own needs. Many people dream of a homesteading lifestyle. And a rural idyll can certainly make it easier to get close to nature and make the most of all that it can offer.
But for many, this dream is out of reach. Financial constraints, land prices and restrictions on building your own home can often make it difficult to achieve your goals. Here are a few tips that might bring that dream just a little bit closer:
- Consider co-housing, and clubbing together with family, friends, or like-minded co-operatives in your area to buy a place.
- Think about renovating an old building rather than buying a new one, to get around local planning constraints and broaden the range of options.
- Downsize – consider how tiny house living might cut costs.
But living in a remote, rural spot is not for everyone. And of course, realistically, not everyone can live this way.
A City Eco-Home?
Living in a city might not feel like a very sustainable or back-to-nature kind of life. But most of the world’s population lives in cities. And even if you’re renting, there are plenty of ways to live more sustainably.
There are some super green cities around the world – some becoming greener by the day. And as a city dweller, you can play a role in greening the concrete jungle, and contribute to making your neighbourhood a more sustainable place. You could start a community garden, for example.
Suburbia may be built around cars. But suburbia has a range of features that make it surprisingly suitable for a sustainable way of life.
Live in suburbia and you will likely have a garden that you can make an eco haven. You’ll likely have plenty of space to grow some food.
Many suburban homes also have garages, which could be used as workshops or studios for a sustainable home office – or even a small business you start from home. The flexible space could let you go greener. (There might also be opportunity, in larger suburban homes, for multi-generational living.)
Could you be part of retrofitting suburbia as we transition to a better, more sustainable future?
Finally, you might decide that settled living is not for you at all. Perhaps your version of a sustainable life will involve travelling around – exploring sustainable options around the globe.
Where to live sustainably has no one correct answer. But if you want to live more sustainably, deciding which option is ultimately right for you is a great place to start.