I recently read an article about the top 10 things we can do to live sustainably and this made me question whether all this time after I first started thinking about sustainable living, if the majority of people were a) doing anything towards living this lifestyle or b) do enough people even care? I still am undecided.
They say the first step is to recycle everything - do you do this? after all it is fairly easy to separate bottles, cans, paper, and cardboard from kitchen garbage and junk. And most grocery stores now either have a recycling drop for the plastic bags they foist on us every day (and of course many no longer use them), either requiring the customer to buy a recyclable bag or provide their own bag.
Do you unplug your appliances at night including your standby ones? I have to confess that I don't do this and not quite believing the "hype" that the power was still drawing energy I tested it out. So like me touch the power supply in the middle of the night and you'll find that it is warm. Maybe then you will agree it is time to start using standby power points, I'm told they work but for me I have taken the plunge and unplug most things nowadays.
Do you still buy overly-packaged goods? Buy equivalent goods in minimal packaging because on the whole excessive packaging is the sign of an insecure product or even a sign that the are trying to make it appear more than it is and either buy vegetables loose at the supermarket or farmers' markets; they taste better and cost less anyway, and the trip is more fun than parking at the supermarket and joining the shopping cart traffic jam anyway.
Do you shop local? I wish I could shop at local stores, and rediscover the joys of personal service, quality products, smaller shops would often special order anything out of the ordinary that I might have needed. The larger selection that is displayed in chain store supermarkets today is largely illusory because they'll have many rows of a single item or have been systematically removing all the competition and replacing them with their own brands so we now have even less choice. The savings you get by driving to the suburbs disappear when you factor in travel costs and the value of your own time. These type of stores have on the whole been strangling the small business owner and taking away your real choice. Unfortunately for me, I live in a small town in the country with no shops at all leaving me no choice but to travel an hour away at least to then have little choice but to shop in a large supermarket. Again I confess, I am once more doing something which I would prefer not to because while I am able to shop in a smaller shop for some items, I don't purely because of economics. Thank goodness I produce my own fruit and veg in season and even some of my own meat because I surely am not walking the talk when it comes to shop local.
Do you ship packages, or buy by mail, phone, or internet, well if you do any of these things do you use road mail or airmail?
Most road mail generally goes by truck or rail (quite often truck), which is far more fuel-efficient than air and less disturbing to the atmosphere and to urban life and is it really that urgent to go by air?
Do you use public transport or carpool to get to work, if you don't live near enough to walk? Again not feasible for me as we have no public transport and it is too far to walk to the shops although I have to say I recently told my husband that with the rising cost of fuel and costs to run a car that there is almost a case to go back to the horse and cart.
This brings me to another thought. We need to renew our car primarily because of no public transport and our isolation so this had me giving a new car a lot of consideration. Do we buy a hybrid, a small economical car, electric even? If we lived in the city areas I think I would consider not having a car and just hiring one for those times when I needed one. Just think I could hire a car for the need such as a Ute, SUV, truck etc.
Do you use a front loader or top loader? well the thought a few years ago was to change your top loader for a front loader and I did this in the name of green living, saving water and so on. Yes the front loader uses less water but saying this I found my clothes didn't come out of the wash as clean and bright as I would like them to. After awhile they started coming out grey.
Top loader manufacturers soon came on board and started spruiking that they had made their machines more water efficient. Apart from this little hiccup I also found that the top loader didn't meet my needs to wash larger items being a smaller machine on the whole. Since then front loaders have increased in size although I am still not sure about their cleaning abilities however buy a front-loading washer, which wastes less water and cleans clothes in a more gentle manner. If you have the space, dry your laundry on a clothesline, gosh I love to dry my clothes on the clothes line even in the middle of winter when I have to watch for rain. Costs neither the environment nor your pocket anything, and the clothes smell fresher, even in the inner city.
Do you grow your own fruit and veg or produce your own meat? A good vegetable garden doesn't have to be huge and in plots but can just be a few pots or containers either in the back yard or on the patio.
Well I am not sure that the article I read had 10 things in their list as when I counted them I found that 2 or 3 of them were repeated so if any one else has a few good tips to sit with the others on the top please pass them on, we are all eyes and ears.
In the meantime here is a list of things which I agree meet the top ten as I see it -
Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. They consume less energy and last 10 times longer.
Unplug chargers. Devices that are “on” even when off waste energy and account for 10 percent of your electric bill. Put chargers on a power strip turn it off when at work or at night time.
Buy energy-efficient appliances. A fridge with an Energy Star label uses 40 percent less power than an older model.
Purchase only recycled paper products. If every household replaced one roll of "virgin" toilet paper with one recycled post-consumer-waste roll, something like 424,000 trees would be saved.
Cancel catalogs and shop online. Asking to be taken off a mailing list takes less time than ordering something.
Stop drinking individual bottles of water. The annual amount of oil expended to produce plastic bottles is enough to fuel 100,000 cars for an entire year.
Make your next car a fuel-efficient one.
Conserve in other small ways, if you have a dishwasher Don’t pre rinse
dishes in the dishwasher, and run the machine only when full.
Compost your food waste to create rich soil. Plant a home or community garden.
Buy organic food from local producers whenever possible and from local growers and stores.
Keep pesticides out of the ground and water- and out of YOUR body! Keep pesticide use to a minimum and make your own natural pesticides.
Conserve water by using low flow water devices in your showersand don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth.
Have smaller families. I read that if 3/4 of the population died instantly today, there would still be more people alive than there was in 1930!!! Yes this means there are TOO MANY Humans on the planet!although it pains me to say this I am still not a Grandmother.
And last but not by any means least, be kind to one another. Peace starts with individuals, neighbors, neighborhoods, cities, states, countries and then spreads globally so they say.
War destroys more than human lives, it destroys animals, environments; and in the end it uses up resources for destruction.
Educate yourself and others about these solutions – After all "It’s up to us all to do our share!" for ourselves the animals on it and of course humankind too. While I believe this statement to be true and accurate I also believe history proves otherwise and we will never be at complete peace. We can but attempt to find solutions.
Well I hope I have given you all something to think about because this certainly gave me something to think about while my DH watched rugby. I try my best which is all any of us can and while I know from this time of reflection that I could do more than I am doing, I feel that I have at least made an effort.
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon