The sustainability movement has gained popularity in recent years due to the intriguing concept it presents; a simplification in the lifestyle that includes a move away from the massive urban centers and that aims to achieve total independence from third parties to obtain food and resources to survive. People who tend to adopt this movement are tired of the current urban lifestyle and move to rural centers in an effort to experience a calmer environment. The sustainability movement does not pretend that you live in caves or camp outdoors all the time, rather it refers to living a life that is further away from material interests, taking into account the amount of resources we consume and with a strong emphasis on recycling of materials and the use of natural energy.
Fortunately, this movement is already gaining popularity in some regions of Mexico such as San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Pátzcuaro, Mazatlán, Campeche, Manzanillo, Loreto and other communities throughout the country. It is within these communities where baby-boomers and American expats move seeking a sustainable lifestyle that is sometimes difficult to achieve in their native countries.
The inception of this movement is attributed to Llanto Evans who, by using a minimalist building standard that had been used in the British Isles in the early 20th century, settled in Oregon in the early 1980s and spread his knowledge with the community. This movement would ultimately reach the community of Las Cañadas, Veracruz where the movement reached a strong following.
To achieve a sustainable life in Mexico it is necessary to make some significant changes in the daily lifestyle. You do not need to make these changes abruptly or suddenly. The best way to achieve full sustainability is to gradually implement a few measures until you feel comfortable. Some of the changes that each individual can make to be sustainable are:
- Buy sustainable food.
By choosing foods that cause a low environmental impact, it is possible to ensure that we are affecting the planet as little as possible. When buying vegetables and fruits it is a good idea to go to local markets that offer foods that were grown locally and that support the industry of the field. It is a good idea to ask the vendor where these foods came from and if they come from a sustainable source. When buying fish and shellfish it is preferable to look for those that were caught using fishing lines or traps since these tend to attract adult specimens and avoid other species, thus reducing the environmental impact. The beef or chicken that you choose to eat can also give more or less impact, depending on the farming methods. Ranchers who feed their animals grass and keep cattle free on pasture rather than meat manufactured in stables or hatcheries are the most sustainable of all the alternatives.
- Think before you buy.
Unfortunately the current culture of consumerism has led us to think that an infinity of products are needed at all times to survive. Taking a look at how the ancestors lived, it shows that the products that are absolutely necessary are really few. Most of the food was obtained naturally and the building materials also came from nature. Obviously the intention is not to stop buying products completely, but to gradually reduce the amount of manufactured products that we use and that when it is necessary to buy a product, it is known to choose those that cause the least impact. Using reusable cloth shopping bags instead of plastic bags, buying products that have simpler packaging and that are biodegradable or recyclable are easy ways to reduce the use of natural resources and, little by little, they become a sustainable and unforgettable habits. Buying paper or cardboard products does not mean deforesting cubic meters of forest, but choosing products that are recyclable and that are manufactured locally from sustainable sources. What about cleaning products? – many are more harmful than we think, so reading the ingredients and buying those that have ingredients of natural origin means that they would not impact the environment as much as artificial detergents, or if there is time, it is possible to create products with some household products.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle.
One of the most significant aspects of the sustainable movement is the fact of giving use to things until they stop serving and then recycling them, for example children’s clothing that has grown up but is still in good condition can be passed on to older children. young people or the children of neighbors until it is no longer useful, then it can be used as cleaning cloths or as pieces of cloth to create new clothes. It is also important to consider buying second-hand furniture that can be restored or antiques that are still in good condition. Plastic containers can be used to store food or create flower pots. It is very important to use your imagination to make use of things that you would normally think of no longer work, and the Internet is an infinite source of very creative ideas. In addition to being sustainable, the creations will add a more personal and unique touch to the home and life in general.
It is evident that this sustainable movement is here to stay and more and more Mexicans and foreigners see Mexico as an Eden to realize the dreams of the movement. The wide availability of resources, coupled with the wonderful natural landscape that the country offers in most of its areas, makes Mexico an excellent place to consider to live a sustainable life.