Ways to be Sustainable in 2021

Written by Theertha, Teen Volunteer
Halifax Public Libraries' Teen Blog is written by and for teens. Discover more posts here., opens a new window

Sustainability. We have all heard this word, one way or another. But, what does it mean?

It means avoiding hurting natural resources and wildlife, and maintaining an ecological balance. The more sustainable we are today, the higher the chances of having a cleaner, safer and more ecological diverse planet in the future. There are tons of easy ways to help our planet in 2021.

Resell or donate gently used items

This is a great way to save the planet and our community. By donating your items to local charities to resell, you make a difference in their funding as well as help make items affordable to those who may need to buy secondhand. It might be small or seem insignificant, but it does help. And for the environment, you wouldn’t be contributing to the huge amount of trash that ends up in landfills and our oceans. 

Think twice before buying

This is such an easy way to take small steps towards saving our planet! If you’re at the mall shopping, make sure to take a minute before buying things. Ask yourself, “Will I actually wear this?” or “Do I actually need another sweater?" It’s important because the last thing anybody wants is to spend money on a T-shirt that they end up not wearing anyway. Taking a minute to reevaluate what you picked out can save your money & keep more items being consumed and tossed on our planet.

Reduce single use plastics

Ecowatch claims that the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. That’s too much if you ask me! Most of this plastic ends up in landfills and isn't recycled. But what can you do to reduce your plastic usage? It’s simple: use reusable bags, jars, containers, and buy in bulk when you can. A lot of local stores allow customers to bring their jars to use just ask!

Reduce your carbon footprint

Your carbon footprint is the measure of the impact of your activities on the amount of carbon dioxide produced produced through the burning of fossil fuels that affect our environment. So, how often are you using fossil fuels, like heating your home or driving a car? There's lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint. To start, you can easily switch off the light in a room once you leave. This saves money, and reduces your carbon footprint. You can also walk, bike, carpool or take the bus instead of driving. Small swaps add up!

Participate in community cleanups

This is a great way to connect a lot more with your neighbours and friends, and you can do your part to making our community a cleaner place!


This is so beneficial for the environment because you can use food waste to turn into fertilizers, plant food and more! You can compost in your own backyard or use our municipal compost. Doing this allows for soil and nutrients to be made from the scraps through a proper process, rather than creating harmful gases in a landfill. Food waste is also responsible for 6% of our global greenhouse gas emissions., opens a new window

Educate and promote awareness

Being sustainable is extremely important right now. We are losing species faster than ever, because of high pollution rates, single-use plastics and chemical fertilizers. Without having people understand what it means for future generations, there is no way we can actually work towards a clean planet.

Talk to your friends, teachers, families and schools and make sure that they know how bad the problem really is. Then you can strive towards being sustainable and creating a clean environment together.

Conserve water

Water is a basic human right and without water, there is no life. So, conserve it! Make sure to only take the amount that you truly need for dishes, laundry, etc. You could use a timer for your shower or turn off the tap when you're brushing your teeth!

The Earth is a place worth fighting for, and it's something we all have in common. It is our responsibility to take care of it, one step at a time.

About the writer

Theertha Madhi is a high school student with future goals of becoming a paediatrician. She enjoys spending her time with family and friends and has been playing piano for more than 8 years.