Living Sustainably


Around the House: Inside

  • Use a microwave oven rather than a conventional stove or oven to cook most of your meals (if you cook at all). In fact, going raw is a great way to stay more natural in your eating as well as save energy.

  • Lower your thermostat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.

  • Raise your thermostat to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. [Note: This is TOO hot for me. I keep my thermostat set at around 66 degrees all year round.]

  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat.

  • Limit shower lengths to 3 minutes. If you enjoy (and/or need) longer showers, limit shower lengths to 3 minutes on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.

  • Turn off the lights whenever you leave a room…even if you plan to come right back.

  • I hate LED and florescent light bulbs, so I won't make any recommendations or comments about these types of lights bulbs except this: The waste generated by these products is extremely toxic and, as such, difficult to dispose of properly.

  • Plug all appliances into surge-protecting power strips, and turn off the strips whenever you leave your home or, when practical, you leave a room.

  • When you leave your home for more than a day, shut off the water.

  • Insulate, insulate, insulate. Check attic spaces for insulation depth (an 18 inch depth is recommended), and consider topping off the insulation with cellulose insulation (e.g., shredded newspaper and borate). Make sure your HVAC ductwork has been insulated properly.

  • Most of a home's heating and cooling losses occur around windows and doors; make sure these areas are caulked and weatherized properly.

  • When replacing old windows, buy windows that carry an Energy Star rating.

  • When having a home or building built or remodeled, implement solar, wind, and/or geothermal technologies to meet or supplement your energy needs.

  • When having a home or building built or remodeled, incorporate rainwater harvesting to supply water that could be used for non-potable (e.g., non-drinking water) needs, such as landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, etc.

  • When having a home or building built or remodeled, use low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads.

  • Install a flow restrictor in existing showerheads.

  • Purchase appliances and other electrical items that carry an Energy Star rating.

  • Fix any leaking toilets or faucets.

  • Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth.

  • Turn off the faucet or shower while you're shaving.

  • Turn off the shower while you lather your body or your hair.

  • Rather than "washing" off your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, allow several dishes to soak for about ten minutes, and then pour the water that’s been soaking those dishes onto other dirty dishes. Repeat this until all your dishes are ready for washing.

  • Limit your use of the garbage disposal. Garbage (even shredded garbage) in sink discharges can contribute to the clogging of sanitary sewer lines, which can cause sanitary sewer overflows (yuck!!).

  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.

  • When using the dishwasher, forgo the drying cycle.

  • Let your hair air dry partly or completely.

  • Hang clothes to air dry partially or completely to reduce clothes-dryer usage. Your clothes will also last longer.

  • Discontinue using aerosol sprays.

  • Discontinue using aftershaves and perfumes. Chemicals from these products are now being found in our waterways.

  • Don't flush medicinal products down the toilet.

Around the House: Outside

  • Garden.

  • Erect or hang bird feeders.

  • "Mulch" your grass-clippings.

  • Compost yard waste.

  • Compost food scraps.

  • Use a manually powered mower. If you use a gas powered mower, mow in the morning or evening.

  • Allow some areas of your yard to naturalize. If a small creek runs through your property, allow 15- to 30-ft from the stream bank (on each side) to naturalize. If you have a roadside ditch in front of your property, allow the ditch to naturalize (if at all practicable).

  • Discharge your house downspouts into underground gravel pits.

  • Direct your house downspouts into a cistern or a collection of rain barrels. Harvested rainwater can aid in meeting irrigation needs.

  • Limit the use of herbicides, pesticides, and lawn fertilizers.

  • When purchasing a house, consider its proximity to common destinations such as work, the grocery store, the park, and the homes of your friends. Is it easy to walk in the community? Does the home have a porch to facilitate interaction with neighbors?

Diet and Exercise

  • Eat organically.

  • Buy local produce and supplies.

  • Eat lots of plants, nuts, and seeds.

  • If you eat beef frequently, forgo beef consumption at least one day a week. The carbon footprint required to provide one fast-food hamburger is about 4 to 5 kg of CO2.

  • Consider eliminating all grains, legumes, and wheat from your diet. Eating these "foods" creates inflammation (the engine of autoimmunity). It also produces an elevated insulin response in the body, which contributes to the storing of excess fat and increases the risk of developing Type II diabetes.

  • Drink a lot of water (at least 8- to 12-glasses a day).

  • Discontinue drinking small, pre-packaged bottled water. Opt instead, to drink filtered water or filter your tap water. [Note: Tap water is generally unfit for human consumption.]

  • Engage in at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least five- to six-days a week. Engaging in some combination of walking, hiking, jogging, biking, running, and HIIT (Burpees, etc.) is recommended.

  • Engage in wind sprints and/or stadium runs about once a week.

  • Engage in some form of weight-bearing exercises twice a week. Not only will it increase muscle and tendon strength, but it will aid in increasing flexibility. In addition, it will help to increase bone density, which is especially important for women.

  • Stretch daily.

  • Take a class on edible plants and insects.

At Work

  • Shut off your computer and computer monitor before you leave the office each night. If your employer requires your computer to stay on for computer maintenance needs, turn off your monitor each night.

  • Work from home one business day out of every ten, if possible.

  • Limit your printing out of e-mails and other documents.

Recycling, Reuse, and Redevelopment

  • Learn what can be recycled and what cannot—or cannot be accepted by your community recycling program—and why.

  • Recycle everything possible.

  • When buying pre-packaged items, try to buy items in packages that are recyclable, reusable (in some way), and/or biodegradable.

  • Supplement your wardrobe and household items with clothing and other goods purchased at yard sales and consignment and thrift stores. Donate (or sell) such items in a similar fashion.

  • Use cloth grocery bags; if you use plastic grocery bags, recycle them at the grocery store.

  • Support efforts to reuse discarded items or to refurbish existing buildings or structures.

  • Recycle your old running shoes. Nike has a program to recycle running shoes; old shoes can be dropped off at specified locations throughout the country.

Disposal Practices

  • When disposing of old computers, microwaves, televisions, or other electronics, look into recycling and proper disposal locations available in your community.

  • When disposing of paint, chemicals, gasoline, and/or containers that hold chemicals, look into your community’s disposal requirements.

  • Properly dispose of any medical products such as syringes, patches, and unused medications.

Transportation

  • Don't text while you're driving. [Note: Even though this is the law, I still (way too frequently, actually) see people scrolling through their phones while driving.]

  • Keep your car's engine tuned up, and keep your tires inflated to the proper air pressure.

  • Have your car serviced at a business that disposes of all used fluids (i.e., oil, antifreeze, etc.) properly and responsibly.

  • When (and if) practical, carpool, walk, bike, or use public transportation to travel to and from work or school or to run errands.

  • Create an "errand plan," and try to take care of as many of your errand needs as you can in one or two geographical locations.

  • Wash your car at a carwash establishment that recycles used wash water.

  • If you hand wash your car, wash it with harvested rainwater (e.g., water captured in a cistern or a ra