Eco Living
A crowded KRL Jabotabek electric multiple-unit train with passengers riding on the outside in Jakarta, Indonesia. ©U.S. Green Technology

Eco Living: Two Sides Of Modern Living

Eco Living And A Half: Two Sides Of Modern Living

Modernization has brought about numerous changes encompassing virtually every aspect of people’s lives. Perhaps the most notable of these is where people choose to live. There are 3.6 billion people residing in urban areas worldwide and another 2.6 is expected to add by 2050, making it one of the fastest explosions in urbanization, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

The figures simply signify the kind of living people continue to be heading to. Modern living has provided humankind an array of technologies to satisfy every need and want. However, with modernity comes challenges, particularly in the realm of the environment.

In light of man’s increasing carbon footprint, global warming, and its unforgiving manifestations in the form of natural disasters, many cannot help but ask: is there more to modern living than environmental destruction?

Modern Living As Perceived By Most People

To say that modernity revolutionized society would be an understatement. Science has made people gain an understanding of how the world works and how to make the most out of it in terms of technology. Various technological innovations have afforded people utmost convenience and efficiency in their daily tasks, allowing them to reach higher heights, maximize their potential, and even go beyond the limits that restrained man in previous periods in history.

Modernity coupled with the increasing population resulted in a change in people’s perspective as well. For instance, because of urbanization, land is fast becoming a precious resource, making people find real estate as high and valuable investments. It is only natural — finding fulfilment in seeing the fruits of one’s labor in the form of their own spot in this world to call home.

Modern living, especially in urban places, is usually associated with the hustle and bustle of cities where people run around with busy schedules, barely having time to contemplate on anything else but their to-do lists. Many point out that this perspective of modern living has put strains on the environment. This is where the other side of modern living comes in — eco living.

Eco Living As Response

Modern living and eco living are not mutually exclusive – or even antagonistic – concepts. While environmental concerns such as air and water pollution were already an issue as early as the Roman times, the active environmentalist movement as we know today arose in the late 19th century. People were concerned about protecting nature especially in light of the escalated pollution caused by the Industrial Revolution, Lorraine Elliott, author of Global Environmental Governance: A Report Card for the United Nation, said.

Up until today, environmentalism continues to take shape vis-a-vis modernization. With this, it can be said that eco living as advocated by environmentalist groups is also modern living, but redefined to mean living in the modern times with nature’s sustainability in mind. This is to enjoy living in the present without depleting resources for future generations.

A Good Compromise

Another way eco living and modern living should not be in conflict with each other is through the use of technology – the same thing that led to modernization and environmental concerns.

Environmentally-friendly technology, also known as green technology, is hinged on mitigating, or even reversing, environmental destruction as well as harnessing resources while minimizing strains on nature.

Now increasingly seen everywhere from biodegradable plastic bags to solar panels to energy-efficient cars, green technology marries the convenience of the modern living that people are accustomed to and the sustainability needed by the earth.

Most eco-friendly products cost more than their traditional and mainstream counterparts. However, it should be noted that sustainable living brings long-term benefits that go beyond monetary. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency said that while going green in designing, constructing, and maintaining buildings incurs more expenses upfront, this practice will not only get people to efficiently use resources (and save in the process), they will also get to enjoy better health and reduce the harmful impacts to the environment, the preservation of which benefits everyone up to future generations.

Moreover, to help the green movement gain more ground, concerned groups are putting mechanisms in place to encourage people into eco living. Take fundings and tax breaks that some states give to those interested in building green. Or the push to phase out the traditional incandescent lights in favor of energy-saving LED and CFL bulbs.

Small, Accumulated Changes With Big Effects

While people are creatures of habits and are used to their current lifestyles, it does not take much to tweak things in order to accommodate the environment in their daily decisions. Be informed and do your part even in your own ways. The small environmentally-friendly changes in one’s day-to-day life, if done consistently, will slowly but surely shape eco living mindsets, which will in turn, add to the momentum that eco living continues to gain.

Each person is a speck in this world with a responsibility to be mindful of their daily activities in order to reduce their carbon footprint. While there is nothing wrong in making the most out of the earth’s resources for modern living, it certainly does not hurt to rethink our choices and consider green alternatives to save the environment.

While many point out that modernization is the cause of environmental depletion, keep in mind that technology is a tool for humans to wield accordingly to their ends. Humankind has been using technology to their advantage but at the expense of the environment since modernization began taking place. And now is the time to utilize technology in restoring and saving what could be saved.
There is more to modern living than the usual perception of people that it is living busy lives in urban areas and not giving a thought about the environmental repercussions of each action. It should be noted that another side to modern living that most people have yet to be in touch with is eco living. At the end of the day, it should not be a debate of modern living versus eco living. What should rise above is the wise use of technology with concern for the environment.

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