Tools to make Sustainable Living Easier

Living sustainably can be hard at times but it’s much easier when you can share those trials with others having the same experience. If you’re starting on your sustainable living journey, well done. If you find your enthusiasm waning please consider deepening your connection with like-minded people if you can. Offline with friends and family is great but if that’s not an option for you online groups like those listed below will give you sucker to stay the course.

Nothing mentioned in this article has been sponsored. It’s all just my own personal opinion. If you like your sources to remain independent then please;
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Online Sustainable Living Support Groups

If you’re living in Offaly you might be interested in the group Green Offaly

Sustainable Living Podcasts

My life lends itself to podcast listening and I’m always in search of good ones, but I’m tremendously picky! The speakers have to be articulate – can’t abide listening to ums and errs – entertaining and informed, the topic needs to be current and well researched and the editing needs to be top quality.

As someone who dipped their toe into podcast making I do appreciate just how hard it is to achieve this.

  • John Richardsons and the Futurenauts is a very entertaining well researched UK based eco podcast, full of swearing!
  • Green Bites is a fabulous high-quality audio programme on sustainable food
  • The Green Room – This is a weekly interview with creatives involved in sustainability in Ireland.
  • Book of Leaves – Delighted we have our very own Irish eco podcast. It’s a great way to find out what’s going on in our own little Island.
  • People Fixing the World (UK – review of initiatives to solve environmental and social issues, focusing on assessing their success)
  • Green Dreamer (USA – insightful chats with people working in the sphere of sustainability. Info be a bit depressing at times but it’s reality and it’s very informative)
  • What on Earth (UK – well produced interviews with informed individuals on particular aspects of sustainable living.

Sustainable Living Blogs / Vlogs / Websites

Personally I don’t do Vlogs because I don’t have a lifestyle that lends itself to watching videos. Reading text is more my thing. I am actually subscribed to about 20-30 blogs and it was hard to whittle the list down for this article so I settled on 3 criteria for inclusion; I must learn something new them, they must be well researched and they must be inspiring – for me that tends to be visually appealing.

As part of the research for this article I’ve subscribed to a whole host of new blogs, which I’ll add to this list if I think they’ll be of use to you guys.

Sustainable Living Books

Can I let you in on a secret? I struggle to get through eco books, either they’re just list of actions, which are worthy and helpful but boring to read or they’re full of depressing facts. I have quite a few on my nightstand and have started most of them, I’m just not inspired to read them. Here’s a list of suggested books from someone with more patience than me!

One book I do have on my list to read is by the journalist George Monbiot. He’s very insightful and writes beautifully. His book is called Out of the Wreckage.

Sustainable Living Documentaries / Movies

Okay, time for another secret. I can’t tolerate most environmental documentaries. I even had to watch the BBC programme War on Waste in short bursts so as not to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems facing us.  I’ve put the ones I’ve watched at the top of this list, but if you’ve a higher tolerance than me there are others included for you to consider.

Some of these might be available on Youtube or Netflix, or you could try your local library for a copy. Some however are only available to view as part of a community viewing so if you’ve a group of like-minded friends maybe it’d be a good way to get a local group going.

  • The Big Little Farm (TV documentary about 2 people trying to bring a ‘dead’ farm back to life in America. Beautifully shot and heart warming it’s a shot in the arm for anyone suffering with activism exhaustion
  • War on Waste (TV programme on waste in the UK featuring a street of households trying to reduce their own waste. I watched this myself and found it to be a good balance between hard-hitting and inspirational)
  • Grow Cook Eat (TV programme on growing and cooking your own fruit and veg. A fun, accessible way to encourage us all to consider carefully where our food comes from)
  • The Blue Planet (TV programme. Long heralded as the impetus for environmental consciousness in the minds of many living on the British Isles, the beautifully crafted programme can be heartbreaking at times.)
  • Minimalism (Documentary about living with less. This isn’t an environmental documentary in itself but having seen it I do feel it’s appropriate to include as it inspires a move away from mass consumption)
  • Tomorrow (Upbeat documentary looking at solutions to the Climate crisis)
  • Wasted (Documentary on Food Waste)
  • The Island President (Documentary the battle of the leader of the Maldives to save his Island)
  • The True Cost (Documentary on the Fashion Industry)
  • A Plastic Ocean (Documentary)
  • This Changes Everything (Book and Documentary on capitalism and consumer change by Naomi Klein)
  • Before the Flood
  • Ten Billion
  • Thrashed

and here’s another list of environmental documentaries if you’re a real TV junkie

Carbon Footprint Calculators

When you’re further along in your journey you might want to assess how you’re doing. Here are some Carbon Footprint Calculators for you to try, but let me warn you, the results can be depressing if you live in a large house, drive a car, fly and eat meat regularly and have lots of children.

  • Treedom allows you to calculate the carbon footprint of any activity and offset it
  • The Footprint Calculator calculates how many earths are required to sustain your lifestyle
  • WWF Footprint Calculator calculates your carbon footprint based on fuel consumption, food choices and purchasing patterns.
  • Climate hero does the same as above but also allows you to offset your carbon emissions.
  • If you’d like something a bit more accurate check out The Climate Kompass from World Watchers
  • Kagoo helps you calculate the carbon emissions of any appliance and find ways to offset the carbon.
  • Go Plastic Neutral allows you to calculate your plastic footprint and gives suggestions on how to adjust your habits to reduce it. You can also offset the impact of your waste by donating to their charity and non-profit partners.
  • ThreadUp have a fashion calculator that measures the impact of your fashion habits
  • Uisce Eireann has a calculator to help you estimate how much water you use.

Sustainable Living Apps

  • Evocco is an Irish app that helps you track the carbon footprint of your food.
  • Ailuna is an app that aims to make it fun to develop sustainable habits
  • Giki Zero aims to help users cut their carbon footprint by a tonne.
  • If you’re finding all the sustainable living advice too much One Save A Day simply gives you one suggestion a day to follow. It also has a community on Instagram built around the idea.
  • Think Dirty is an app that gives a product score and vital information on the safety of the ingredients within a beauty product when you scan it.
  • Gokind is an app that scores your spending and give you rewards if you buy ethically. It seems to be linked with particular companies so I’m imagine that you get rewards if you buy from these companies. It does need to be linked in with your bank.
  • The Beagle Button is an internet browser extension that recommends sustainable alternatives to the products your searching for.

Tools for Green Internet Browsing

  • The search engine Ecosia; they plant trees with the money they generate from advertising revenue. They use the Bing platform to search, which personally I don’t find very good.
  •  Tab for a Cause uses the same model to raise funds for social, health and environmental charities around the world
  • OCG supports the cleaning of oceans.
  • while Every Click raises money for UK charities.

Consumer Guides for Sustainable Living


PS – If you’ve any questions or comments please leave a message below or contact me on Instagram or Facebook.

PPS – At this time in previous years I wrote about Summer Crafts with Kids, Our trip to Cornwall (including the Eden Project), and one of my favourite articles Eco-folklore, greenwashing and misunderstandings

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

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