Consciously Craving

The 2024 sustainability cheat sheet with Pat Kane: ‘wellness-driven living, regenerative tourism and the circular economy are key’

Ecopreneur Pat Kane weighs in on the key shifts happening in sustainability this year – and how we can apply them both inside and out of our homes

Pat Kane on sustainability: “Increased awareness has become the common denominator.”

One of the most positive sustainability trends happening of late is that people are beginning to match their values with their actions. Meaning, increased awareness has become the common denominator.

Research suggests that people have a good understanding of what a sustainable home is, ergo, a home with low running costs and low environmental impact.

According to the UK-based BRE Group, a leader in built environment research, almost 96 per cent of respondents in a consumer research survey it conducted said that they had made some changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle, and 62 per cent saw climate change as an issue that they should be concerned about.

But what does that look like in practice? Wellness-driven living, regenerative tourism and the circular economy are key. Here are some practical tips that you can apply to get on track with living more sustainably this year.

It starts in the home

Have you heard of biophilic design? Inspired by nature, this approach seeks to integrate natural features into interior spaces, fostering a sense of connection to the outdoors. In simple terms, it means to introduce lots of greenery and natural elements indoors.

This year, I expect to see an emphasis on organic materials such as wood, stone, and bamboo, which not only add visual warmth but also reduces environmental impact.

From reclaimed furniture to plant-filled interiors, biophilic design encourages harmony between human habitation and the natural world, promoting well-being and sustainability in equal measure.

It’s worth leaning into this sophisticated simplicity – I guess this is 'quiet luxury' in design terms– where you have beautifully-made pieces meant to last, exuding charm without being too much in your face.

“Dedicated meditation nooks and biophilic elements can blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces.”
This wall rug by Danish sustainable brand Ferm Living is made entirely by natural jute and is an example of biophilic design

See CA Design and April + The Bear– both Dublin-based businesses focused on Scandi design – for some inspiration.

But the shift towards sustainable living extends beyond material choices to encompass energy-efficient solutions too.

Smart home technology, powered by renewable energy sources, allows homeowners to minimise their carbon footprint while maximising comfort and convenience.

From solar panels and light sensors to energy-efficient appliances, sustainable homes prioritise eco-conscious living without compromising on style or functionality.

When it comes to minimising waste, the circular economy is taking centre stage as another driving force for sustainability. By prioritising reuse, repair, and recycling, designers are finding innovative ways to minimise unnecessary waste and extend the lifespan of homewares of all kinds.

Upcycled materials, such as salvaged wood and repurposed textiles, lend a unique character to interior spaces while diverting materials from landfills.

Beyond material considerations, the concept of wellness-driven design emerges as a key trend for 2024.

As individuals prioritise mental and physical well-being, interior spaces are being reimagined to promote relaxation, mindfulness, and connection.

From dedicated meditation nooks to biophilic elements that blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, wellness-driven design seeks to create environments that nurture the body, mind, and soul.

Outside of the home

With a growing awareness of the environmental impact of tourism, passengers are seeking out more conscious accommodations and experiences that support local communities and preserve natural resources.

From eco-resorts powered by renewable energy to immersive cultural exchanges with indigenous communities, sustainable travel offers enriching experiences that leave a positive legacy for future generations.

One notable trend in sustainable travel is the rise of regenerative tourism. Unlike traditional tourism, which focuses on minimising harm, regenerative tourism aims to actively restore and regenerate ecosystems while providing meaningful experiences for travellers.

Lough Boora discovery park in Co Offaly is the perfect example of regenerative tourism in Ireland, where visitors can enjoy sculpture parks, walking and cycling routes, angling and bird watching

Whether participating in coral reef restoration projects or supporting reforestation efforts in bio-diverse regions, regenerative tourism invites travellers to become stewards of the environment, leaving destinations better than they found them.

See Bord Na Mona’s absolutely stunning Lough Boora Discovery Park to experience what regenerative tourism feels like right here in Ireland.

The sustainable trends shaping our homes and travels in 2024 reflect a growing awareness of our collective responsibility to protect the planet and enhance our well-being.

By embracing a more conscious way of living, we can create spaces and experiences that not only tread lightly on the Earth but also enrich our lives in meaningful ways.

As we embark on this journey towards a more sustainable future, let us seek inspiration from nature and embrace innovation to create a world that is not only beautiful but also enduring.

Discover more sustainability tips from Kane on Instagram, @iampatkane