August 20, 2011

Sustainability Starts At Home: Steps YOU Can Take

These days, there are a huge number of reasons why people are choosing to try and switch over to a more suitable or sustainable way of life. To get a better idea of what this means, I'd like to first introduce the definition of sustainable.

1 : capable of being sustained
2 a : of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged <sustainable techniques> <sustainable agriculture> b : of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods <sustainable society>
By this definition, sustainable living would be living in a way that relates to using and harvesting resources so that they will continue to be here for many lifetimes to come. Just a few of these examples include food, water, fiber, fuel and energy. 
It seems a lot more people are concerned with this topic especially because of many recent events featured in the news and media. Many issues are coming to light in the world, and individuals are wondering what they can do in their own homes to try and make a difference. While the planet will NOT be saved purely by doing these few simple things, it can be very helpful in the long run if we all try to practice some of them diligently.  
To Avoid GMO foods, Grow at Home! 
This is simply the easiest way to avoid foods that have the added gene to resist roundup weed killer. 
There are many many resources for growing gardens indoors (Such as the BathroomFarmer
It can also be fairly inexpensive to get started at home. Recycle food containers to make mini-greenhouses, and plastic bottles to grow plants in. They can also but used as a drip irrigation watering system for potted plants as well as those in the ground. 
Simple fill a plastic bottle with water and either poke small holes in the bottom and place it on the ground, or push the opening of the bottle deep into the soil so it will slowly drain. Both work well, but some soil conditions may not work with one or the other so test out both methods!

Avoid Plastics as much as possible!
It is much easier these days to avoid plastic than you may think. There are now reusable water bottles that include a filter for water INSIDE. While you do have to change the filter, this is much less waste than if you were to simple drink bottled water.
When you go to the store, ask to use your own bags for your items. Most of the time people don't even buy a considerable amount of groceries yet they still get a plastic bag. If you have a purse on you, why bother getting a bag for your drink and candy bar?! All you need is a recipe that shows you paid. Actually, if it's possible, see if they can keep that, TOO! Some will just give you sticker to say you're good to go. I'd rather have a sticker than a yucky chemical soaked recipe any day of the week. 
Tying in gardening, when you grow your own lettuce mix it tastes SO MUCH better, and you save the plastic bag it comes in! Many vegetables are packaged in plastic, and it wastes fuel to make as well as to drive the produce to the store. Reuse those plastic bottles & food containers!!
Share Books, Newspapers, and Magazines!
This will cut down on the number of paper products being purchased. There is also the option of viewing many of these syndication type papers on the net for either free or a small monthly fee. Usually less than getting an actual paper! Magazines tend to be a waste of paper for vain and selfish reasons. Many would love to see what you have to pass on, sometimes when it's even out of date. There are also doctor's offices, libraries, school libraries, and other resources that would love to read what you no longer have an interest in. Why support constant destruction? 

And OBVIOUSLY, Don't use Energy you don't NEED
When you are at home, do not use lights that are not necessary. If you enjoy lights outside your home, purchase small solar panel outdoor lights. There are tons of options (that are visually appealing, even!) that don't cost a lot of money. Most times, you don't even see the solar pad in the light. 
When you are home alone, only leave the light on in the room you are occupying. No one needs a fully lit home. Don't leave the outdoor porch light on unless you absolutely have to, but you probably won't after you get solar outdoor lights. :)

I know these aren't much, but it can add up. If everyone stopped and just thought about their personal impact on the world I think this would be a much better place. Think about how your actions effect other people, and consider how you would feel if it effected your own self or family.

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