Essential or just convenient?
Updated: Mar 21
What parts of our lifestyle are essential vs optional or convenient?
The last 18 months or so has made many of us think about essentiality for perhaps the first time. Food, water, shelter, and medical needs are easily put into the “essential” bucket for everyone, but beyond that, things quickly move into a grey area.
Everyone is different and what they view as essential vs optional to maintain a reasonable standard of living varies – what people view as a reasonable standard of living is probably a point of debate too, for that matter!
There are also layers of convenience within essential components – the perfect example being highly processed foods and ready-meals. Food is without doubt essential, but the highly processed convenience foods requiring lots of energy to produce, package and distribute are not. One solution to address this is decentralising our food production by creating more community fruit and veg gardens, encouraging people to grow fresh, nutritious food close to home.
At sustain:able we are thinking much more carefully about essential vs optional activities before deciding on that next purchase or trip in the car or plane, and encourage you to think about essentiality in your life too. In order to significantly reduce energy demand and transition to a low carbon society, we need to be honest with ourselves about what really is essential and cut down on those conveniences we have grown accustomed to, but which are contributing to high carbon lifestyles.
What parts of your lifestyle do you now think of as essential vs optional/convenient, and is it different now compared to 2 years ago?
What other ideas do you have for reducing our reliance on convenience products?