TIME Sustainability

TIME Sustainability

TIME Sustainability

What does it mean to live a sustainable lifestyle? At a time when earth’s natural resources are continually in the news, more and more people are determined to be part of preserving and expanding them. This special edition from the editors of TIME explores recent developments in sustainability and what that means for our future. From bans on single use plastics, recycling, clean energy and more, all have issues of sustainability at their core. Living sustainably can also have lasting financial benefits. This special edition explores how issues around climate change have changed our perception of sustainability, sustainability in food, medicine, transportation and everyday life, plus healthful, beneficial and cost-effective ways to stay eco-friendly.

United States
Meredith Corporation


an american tradition meets an earthly need

IN HIS BOOK WALDEN, THE AMERICAN ESSAYIST HENRY DAVID Thoreau famously documented his attempts to live simply and “deliberately” on the edge of a lake in the woods of Massachusetts. While many today think of Thoreau’s memoir as a paean to a solitary existence, those who study and teach Thoreau say this is a misconception. “The message of Walden is not about withdrawing from society,” says Aaron Sachs, a professor of history at Cornell University who studies American culture and its engagement with nature and natural resources. “Thoreau was writing at a time when people were making this transformation from being fairly independent in terms of growing their own food and, a lot of the time, making their own clothes to being dependent on wages and industrial production.” This dependence left…

the vampire in your house

THERE ONCE WAS A TIME WHEN IT WAS ACTUALLY possible to turn an electronic device off. Those days are over. Of all the electronic devices you have in your home—around 65 in the average American home—about 50 of them (about three quarters) are always drawing power, even if you’re not using them or think you’ve turned them off. These devices—such as coffee makers with digital clocks—may be using only a little bit of electricity, in most cases, but the number of devices and the required constant supply can add up. Plus, some devices, like your cable modem or router, are always on, even when you’re not home or not actively using the internet. In a study of homes in Northern California, it turned out that about a quarter of residential energy was…

waste not: an a-to-z guide

A Antiperspirant Some newer premium brands offer customizable deodorant in refillable containers. If that’s a bit much for you, Tom’s of Maine has a free TerraCycle recycling program for its products. B Balloons Never release helium balloons into the air, and if you have a water balloon fight, pick up and dispose of all the pieces. Broken balloons are among the most dangerous types of debris for seabirds and other animals. Better yet, opt for paper lanterns or another more earth-friendly decor. C Contacts Choose two-week or one-month disposable contacts instead of dailies, and recycle the packaging. (Dispose of lenses in the garbage, never the sink or toilet.) Bausch + Lomb is currently the only lens company with a TerraCycle program. Wearing glasses more often is an option—as is, potentially, laser surgery. D Dental Floss Most brands…

solar power moves out of the shadows

OUR DISTANT ANCESTORS’ FIRST HOMES WERE shelters from the storm, fortresses built to withstand nature’s destructive power. Today’s homes, in addition to providing a shield, are now smart enough to harness the power of the sun in a surprising number of ways to cut down our usage of fossil fuels. For decades we’ve seen photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight into energy that lights up our living rooms, powers our refrigerators and keeps Alexa humming. But those now-familiar panels, which first went on sale to the public in 2001, are just the tip of a gleaming iceberg. Homeowners are finding many ways to use free energy from the nearest star to lower their utility bills and create a more sustainable future. Passive Solar This is less about technology than design. If you’re building a…

how i’m raising eco-friendly kids on my terms

BEFORE I HAD KIDS, I HAD BIG PLANS. BREAST-feeding, of course. Cloth diapers, absolutely. Only stainless-steel or glass bottles, sippy cups and plates. Cleaning supplies made from white vinegar, lemon and essential oils. The list goes on and on. Here’s the real confession: I didn’t just plan on doing these things myself. As an environmental-health journalist, I’d spent years writing articles about why other parents should do this stuff too. Let me repeat: I wrote them before I had kids and, frankly, had no idea how hard it would be to clean spit-up stains with baking soda or pack zero-waste lunch boxes with only organic homemade meals. The reality check set in fast. When I got pregnant, my husband talked me out of cloth diapers in my first trimester. And when…

29 easy ways to be a greener parent

WE GET IT. SOME DAYS YOU ACTUALLY feel like you’re Mother Earth and the weight of the world is on your shoulders. That’s why we came up with 29 small changes you can make that will lighten your load and your carbon footprint. From household hacks to moneysaving tips to what kids should (and shouldn’t) be bringing to school, we consulted many experts—and did plenty of product-testing and soul-searching ourselves—to present you with these (totally easy!) ways to be a little bit greener as a family. 1. Cut back on red meat. Consider swapping red meat for kid-friendly chicken or turkey recipes instead. 2. Ditch the plastic bags. Around 9 million metric tons of plastic waste fill the oceans every year, but it’s easy to do your part to reduce that number if you keep…