How to build a new (sustainable) life


It’s been quieter than I would like around here of late. Other parts of life – work commitments, relationship forging, local exploring – have crowded out the quiet and contemplative moments at the laptop. We’ve been gentle with ourselves during this move – reminding each other that building new patterns, routines and habits takes more time and energy than it sometimes seems it should.

A change of venue means altering some basic component parts of our lives. New GP and dentist. Different route to work. The search for a hairdresser that you trust when they approach with the scissors (just me?). The desire to live more sustainably, especially in our city-living context, often means involving other people. As just the two of us, we don’t have all the necessary skills, time or resources to put into practice our values. This sustainable life only works in community. Valuing, engaging with, even relying on other people’s expertise seems a good thing to me. Community isn’t a bolt on; it’s a central thread.

We haven’t explored all of these yet in our new locality (and I’m mindful it may be a city-centric list), but some component parts of a sustainable life that I’ve got on my mind are:

  • a repair shop: Keeping our belongings going for longer (rather than buying new things) can drastically reduce their carbon footprint. In our past life, our local repair person won my loyalty when he did smaller jobs for free. It was a win for both of us.
  • local library: my seven reasons for loving my local library still stand.
  • gardening centre: Spring is coming. We’ll soon be planting and enjoying homegrown salads. Mmm.
  • bike shop: my bike paid for itself in six months* and has been going strong for nearly seven years. Part of that is because she has been kept in good condition. I’m keen to keep it that way.
  • charity shops: I find little and often is the best approach for finding the best secondhand bargains. It also helps you to see which tend to get the best donations.
  • bulk buy shops: we never really cracked this in our old life but we’re keen to keep reducing the single-use packaging in our lives. Time to get out the glass jars and embrace bulk buying.
  • local independents: coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs. Not only are they run by local people, they are often community-spirited – supporting local artists, musicians… They are places where community can be found; a much needed find in a new life.
  • local parks and outdoor spaces: the places where you can connect with nature, take an easy breath away from work and home.


In this digital world, local living is also supported online through:

  • joining local freecycle group: read what I wrote about freecycle before here.
  • ordering a vegetable box: we’ve recently started receiving a weekly order. I’ll be writing more about my new found love of swede soon.
  • following key people/accounts: good for knowing about about local events, offers on at local places.

These lists are by no means exhaustive. What’s on your list? What else should we be building into our new (sustainable) life?


*based on the money that would have been spent on petrol for the journeys cycled instead of driven.

Today’s soundtrack: Ed Sheeran // Divide

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.