Adopt a Sustainable Lifestyle

by Amy on August 31, 2017

Want to make a difference in this hyper-politicized world we find ourselves in? Adopt a sustainable lifestyle that focuses on using your actions and decisions to influence the economy, policy and the environment. By taking simple actions every day, you can make a big impact. Here are some ideas:

  • Spend ten minutes a day in the sunshine. Turn off your phone and your computer. Take off your sunglasses, roll up your sleeves and go outside in the sunshine every day.  That simple act will help you process Vitamin D, help balance your sleep patterns and may even make you a happier person.  (Looking out the windshield of the car as you commute or run errands does not count).
    • While you are outside, take a ten-minute walk and really brighten your outlook on life.
    • If you can, take this walk in a forest or at least under some trees. Trees have a calming affect on us humans that can result in reductions in stress and blood pressure.
  • Get a house plant and put it where you can see it from your desk. Plants are great companions.  They clean the air, brighten up our surroundings, make you happy just looking at them, and the only time they make a mess is when they throw their leaves around or when we knock them over.
  • Buy and eat organic and locally grown foods.
  • Add more color to your life.
    • Black clothes look cool but they have little-to-no happiness factor. Add some yellow, green or pink – you might find yourself smiling more.
    • Boring food makes for boring dinner conversation. Plan meals that combine yellow, orange, green, brown, blue to make a visual feast that provides a more robust collection of vitamins and nutrients.
    • Blank walls? Why? Surround yourself with color and visual interest to exercise your brain, increase your positive outlook and make you smile.
  • Advocate for sustainability by writing to and/ or visiting your state and federal representatives about issues important to you. These may include: clean water, clean air, solar and wind electricity generation, high-efficiency construction, supporting public lands, mass-transit, or public health. The important thing is that your voice be heard.
  • Reduce waste.
    • Practice Conscious Capitalism. Before you buy, check if the packaging can be recycled and then ask how you will dispose of the product at the end of its life. If anything would be destined to a landfill then find another product.
    • Recycle and be a One-Bag-A-Week Challenge winner.
    • Compost your food waste or, if available, use your In-Sink-Erator
    • Use reusables:
      • Use reusable water bottles and avoid buying bottled water. I keep one in each of my bags and on my bike. Take the money you save and go on a vacation somewhere.
      • Use reusable bags when you go shopping. While you are at the grocery forgo using the plastic bags offered in the produce section; loose veggies are even better than bagged ones.  Thin film plastics are notorious pollutants and have a way of getting onto roadsides, into trees, and into the ocean.  IF you have to use them, recycle them.
  • Choose renewables:
    • Switch to an electricity provider that generates power using renewables.
    • If you can, install a solar array at your property that meets all or part of your total demand.
  • Save electricity:
    • Turn off the lights when you leave the room. This extends the life of the lightbulb, reduces air conditioning demand, and reduces electricity costs all at the same time.
    • If it is sunny out you might try turning off the lights while you are in the room and rely on natural light.
    • Turn off your outdoor lights at night and enjoy the dark night sky.
    • Switch to LED lights.
    • Adjust the temperature setting on your heat (down) and your A/C/ (up) by one degree. You probably won’t notice the difference until your monthly utility bill comes in the mail. Wait a month and then adjust it again; now that you are acclimated you won’t notice and will save even more.
    • Make sure that your heating and air conditioning system is serviced regularly and that the filters are clean.
    • Run a blower door test on your domicile and find the leaks in the walls. Seal them up and watch your utility bills get smaller.
  • Save water:
    • Fix a faucet that is dripping. Saving water, saving money and stopping that incessant noise are all good things.
    • Install WaterSense labeled aerators on your faucets. You won’t even notice that they save water until you compare your monthly water bills.
    • Install a rain barrel to capture fresh rainwater for your plants
  • Support alternative transportation:Find a mass transit route to work or to do your errands
    • Use a bike share or your own bike for transportation
    • Or combine bike with transit and be multi-modal!
    • If you really need a car, join a car share program.
  • Adopt Sunshine Cleaning methods:
    • Take the cleaning chemicals that you may have amassed to your town’s hazardous waste day, and start using nature based, homemade cleaning products. Take a deep breath of fresh, clean air.
    • Forget the dryer and hang your clothes out to dry on the line

By taking a few small steps – maybe one a day – your life can become more and more sustainable.  Through your actions you can make an impact on your family, friends, and neighbors.  Pretty soon those combined everyday actions will make an impact on the entire community, the whole country, and the world.

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