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Urban Sustainable Living Tips

Updated on October 4, 2011
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Urban sustainable living tips can help you live a more frugal and eco-friendly lifestyle no matter where you live. Sustainable living is not a fad, or something to do when you are short on cash. It is a lifestyle that not only helps you to live more a richer life but it protects the environment at the same time.

It isn't just on the edge, rabid, card-carrying back to nature types that benefit from these ideas and philosophies, either. These techniques can help you to:

  • Save money
  • Live a more relaxed lifestyle
  • Be eco friendly
  • Detox your life
  • Live more confidently

Best of all, you don't have to move to an isolated 100 acres in Alaska to do it. It isn't just certain people that can do these things. Anyone willing to be flexible and make some changes can create a more satisfying, more secure, and healthier lifestyle.


What Is Sustainable Living?

Simply put, sustainable living is the ability to live without depleting your environment. That doesn't only include the earth but also things like your finances, your health, and your energy. Living sustainably and self sufficiency go hand in hand.

Too many people think of it as an impossible thing to do for urban dwellers, however. They make excuses about not having enough property to grow food or being unable to go solar. Those things are helpful but not the only way to be sustainable. Begin to look at what you can do rather than what you can't.

Sustainable living includes the following ideas but there are so many more:

  • Shop locally (within 100 miles, 25 miles if possible)
  • Eat foods grown locally
  • Grow your own foods
  • Cut back on energy consumption
  • Cut back on petro-chemical based transportation
  • Buy less
  • Relax more
  • Develop a “do it yourself” mentality
  • Learn a variety of skills

You Can Do It

Use the money you save to get an emergency savings account of at least $1,000.00. Once you have that begin paying off your debt. In a few years you will have debt paid off, a savings account, and will be able to have control over your life and your money. As long as you are using credit and in debt you are going to be a slave to your paycheck – and that is not self sufficient.

You can be self sufficient no matter where you are. Use these urban sustainable living tips to get started and then add to them. If you have a small yard then you can hang your clothes out on a clothesline and grow some edible plants in amongst your flowers. If your city allows it you may even be able to keep a few chickens for eggs.

The point is that you should do what you can do now. If you keep making excuses why you can't do something now it will never get done later.

Urban Sustainable Living Tips for Beginners

Assuming that you live in the very heart of the city, in a fifth floor apartment, and you are on food stamps...what can you do to become sustainable and self sufficient?

  • Grow herbs on your windowsills.
  • If you have a balcony grow tomatoes, peppers, and other easy to grow vegetables in containers.
  • Shop at a farmer's market or produce stand rather than at a regular grocery store as much as possible.
  • Get involved with a community vegetable garden, or get together with neighbors and make your own.
  • Walk or bike don't drive.
  • Lower your thermostat and use other ways to stay warm in winter.
  • Rather than buying cheaply from places like Walmart buy fewer items with higher quality.
  • Develop the Yankee mentality: Use it up, wear it out, make it last or do without!
  • Get out of debt.
  • Make your own cleaning supplies.
  • Make your own soap and shampoo.
  • Develop an at home business for extra income.
  • Learn to preserve foods.
  • Stop buying disposable diapers and make your own cloth.
  • Stop using paper towels.
  • Learn to sew, knit, crochet, and/or quilt.

Bigger steps include:

Get rid of items that use power. Companies still make wind up alarm clocks, you can live without a TV or microwave. You can even use a French Press to make much better coffee than your drip coffee maker. Cut back to a bare minimum in the appliances that use electricity.


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    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      Great information. All to often people use living in the city as an excuse. As you have shown, it actually isn't that hard to start putting some sustainable techniques to practice.

    • profile image

      Ed Kassner 6 years ago

      Good stuff,Have a buddy and his wife in Montana that are moving to 20 acers, They can food and have chickens,They live like its the year 1900,and happy.Thanks stay happy.ED

    • Jennifer profile image

      Jennifer 8 years ago

      What great tips. We do many of these already, but we are always striving to do more. Thanks for the reminder.