Sustainability and Well-being for People and Planet

Econation is an independent source of information about well-being and sustainability.

Our purpose is to help people thrive, and sustain the planet whilst doing so. This purpose is driven by two truths:

1. People are using more resources than the planet can sustainably provide
The issues are complex but one thing is abundantly clear: the earth is ailing because of human over-consumption.

2. Consumption beyond satisfying basic needs does not provide more well-being
The fact that per capita well-being has not increased since the 1950s whilst per capita production has more than doubled, shows that the modern economic machine has decoupled from the general well-being of the people, and that half of all production is a waste.

What is the purpose of the economy if it’s not the well-being of people? Some people who have relatively little can be quite happy whilst others are never satisfied no matter how much they have. This being the case, consumption is much less important for well-being than you think. Read more about we’ll-being»

In practice, how do we become sustainable? Sustainability happens when peoples’ demand for resources (ecological footprint) is smaller than the earth can sustainably supply (biocapacity). Learn how to increase your well-being and reduce your ecological footprint by implementing these sustainable solutions»

Basic Sustainability Tips

Sustainability happens when we reduce our ecological footprint below the biocapacity of the earth.

Following these tips will help you do that.

Know your footprint

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. All of the tips below will help you reduce your ecological footprint, but first you need to know where you are now, set a goal and plan for reducing your footprint, then measure again to see how you have done. Click here for footprint calculators»

Eat fresh food, mostly plants

Buying local supports your community and reduces freight. Buying fresh and seasonal reduces processing and packaging. Organic food promotes sustainable soil and land use. Grow your own. Eat less meat – which has a bigger footprint than plants. Read more»

Buy less stuff

Making stuff uses a lot of resources and that impacts the environment. Think about ‘enough’ i.e. what you need for a sufficient life. Buy products that are well-made and durable, ideally second-hand. Consider renting or borrowing what you need. If you can, make your own. Read more»

Use natural products

Use natural products and avoid products that have hazardous, synthetic chemicals which don’t break down and can build up to toxic levels. Choose goods made from eco-friendly and renewable materials, such as sustainably harvested wood and organic cotton or choose recycled materials.

Transport yourself

Ideally you live close to work, schools and shops so that you can walk everywhere. Otherwise you could ride a bike or take public transport. Getting a lift to work with a neighbour will halve both of your emissions. You’ll be more self-sufficient and help slow climate change. Read more»

Renew your energy use

Reduce electricity use by having good insulation, buying high efficiency appliances, installing solar or heat pump water heating and using compact fluorescent bulbs. Use renewable energy when possible e.g. an efficient wood-burner. Better still – generate your own clean electricity. Read more»

Waste not, want not

Nothing is ever really thrown “away” – it always goes somewhere. By buying less, recycling and reusing, we reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills where even biodegradable products don’t break down due to lack of oxygen or sunlight. Read more»

Look after the water

Clean water is a precious, non-renewable resource. Being water conscious helps reduce strain on municipal treatment systems and ensures there’s enough to go around. You can collect rainwater to water your gardens in summer and recycle your grey water to the garden. Read more»

Offset the rest and invest in nature

The environment needs reinvigorating for the long term. We need to renew the soil, clean waterways, clear contaminated sites, restore habitats, create wildlife reserves, control noxious animals and plant trees. Offsetting and Conservation projects will help do this.