Living A Sustainable Life

There is so much confusion, frustration and negativity when it comes to learning just how unsustainable we live our lives. It may seem even more confusing and frustrating when trying to figure out how to live a sustainable life. But fear not, living a sustainable life is not as hard as it seems. There are many ways, tricks and tips to living a life that you can feel good about and that is not too difficult. With just a little bit of effort, a lifestyle that considers the earth can be achieved.

First things first…

  • Ditch the Plastic: Whether it’s your grocery bags, food packaging, body care, cleaning supplies, plastic is plastic and it always harms something. Replace plastic bags at the grocery store with reusable grocery bags. Buy from bulk and bring cloth bags or mason jars. This decreases the amount of packaging used  and also decluters your kitchen.willimanticbounty-1024x768
  • Discover Your Green Thumb: Growing your own food can be rewarding. This reduces the emissions used to transfer food, eliminates the risk of pesticides or GMO’s, and it urges you to eat less meat. Meat uses a crazy amount of water to produce.
  • Use Less Water: Your clothes do not need to be washed after one wear. Your dishes do not need an extra rinse in the dishwasher or a dishwasher at all. Your sinks do not need to run while brushing your teeth. Your sprinklers do not need to go off after it rains or in the middle of the day. Eat less meat.
  • Drive Less, Walk More: Or just carpool.
  • Buy What You Need Not What You Want: Food or clothes, buying more than you need results in trash. Trash is waste sitting in landfills emitting gas into the air and polluting the water.dont-buy-this-jacket-308
  • Clean Without Chemicals: Vinegar, baking soda and a sponge is the best cleaner you will ever use and the cheapest. Cleaning supplies are full of chemicals that spread across your home where you eat, breathe, sleep, and shower.
  • Take a Second to Look At the Labels: Read your food. Look for USDA Organic, Fair trade, B Corp, and Non GMO Verified.food_labels_explained
  • Use the Stairs: Remain healthy while using less electricity.
  • Bring Your Own Cup: Think about all the plastic and cardboard cups you go through each day for water, coffee, soda, etc. Bring your own bottle or coffee mug to fill up at any coffee shop or restaurant.
  • Use the Sun: Solar Panels can be expensive but the sun can be used in many ways around the home. Utilize the sunlight for as long as possible so you do not have to turn the switch on. Use sunlight and shade for heating and cooling, reducing the AC use.
  • Speaking of AC: Open the doors and windows at night to let cool, fresh air in.
  • Get These Apps: iRecycle– Where, When and How to recycle wherever you live. HowGood– How good is that item your buying for you and for the environment? Zero Carbon– Track your CO2. Green Tips & Tricks– Maybe some more helpful tips than I have given! JouleBug– Earn points by living sustainably, it can be a game.

There really are a lot of easy ways to transform your life for the better. Live a life that you can feel good about. Influence those around you. And translate your lifestyle to your work style.

+ http://sustainability.dartmouth.edu/purpose/what-can-i-do/live-a-more-sustainable-life

+http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/sustainability/live_more_sustainably.html

+ http://www.noordinaryhomestead.com/10-simple-ways-to-live-a-more-sustainable-life/

+ http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/15-ideas-for-sustainable-living.php

+ http://www.triplepundit.com/2015/07/top-apps-help-people-live-sustainable-life/#

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The Dark Side of Fashion

Fashion; The second largest pollutant to Earth after Oil.  As sales go up, so do the pesticides, workers deaths, and debt to the farmers. So why do we still support such a harmful industry? Simple, because we get items like this.

But does that really weigh out the consequences of 350,000 farmer suicides just in India, or factory workers that cant keep their kids, or pesticides causing birth defects and mental illness of the neighboring citizens? I do not think so.

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Neither do these companies; Levi, Patagonia, Hasmik, Danish Fashion Institute, and Eco-Age. That is why they have created programs to grow both consumers and producers knowledge on sustainability.

One of the issues with this side of fashion is that companies will over produce and not sell all they made. Patagonia created a campaign called “Do Not Buy This Jacket”. The point of the campaign was to advise consumers that the production of this jacket is harmful to the environment therefore do not buy it if it is not needed.

dont-buy-this-jacket-308Patagonia has also created a solution to the clothing waste after it is bought. Their program called “Worn Wear” allows customers to get their worn out clothing repaired or they can send it into Patagonia where it can then be recycled to create a new product.

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Levis Eric Joule has come up with a way to distress the jeans without using fresh water. The original process of distressing jeans took tons of water through several cycles just to get the perfect ffades11-375x500ade. Now Levis is saving fresh water by suggesting the use of ocean water.
Hamsik has created a program in effort to reduce the waste of clothing. Her clothes are designed only as samples and can be rented to wear.

The Danish Fashion Institutes’ Eva Kruse teaches sustainable fashion throughout the courses. Hoping for a better future of designers and fashion industry professionals.

But these efforts do not take away from the fact that Forever 21, H&M, and many other, much larger companies are getting away with pushing their workers to their breaking point or their clothes piling up in landfills and causing gas emissions. Companies need to turn the focus away from money and towards creating a greater environment on the inside as well as not hurting the environment on the outside.

References

The Sustainable Machine

How did we get this …
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Instead of this?

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And how can we achieve the later of the two in the future?

Although it may seem like established neighborhoods’ ability to be rejuvenated is long gone, the truth may surprise you. Many people are realizing that their cities need some TLC and environmentally friendly alternatives in order for the city to withstand time.

One example is the Eco Village in Los Angeles. This village is made of residents who commit to lowering their environmental impact everyday. They do this by using less water, riding bikes instead of cars to work, growing their own food, and spreading knowledge on sustainability.

Another example is The Sustainable City in Dubai who has plaeco-20sustain-img12ns to give residents golf carts so they do not have to use cars. They install solar panels on all homes. The kids will go to a “Green School”, educating them on living a sustainable life. Organic farms and individual farms will be implemented within the town homes. Sports in recreation will be encouraged. There will be 100% water and waste recycling as well.
More cities have began to incorporate useful ways to create less of an impact on the earth. Some cities have found ways to use trash for energy. Other cities have put in new irrigation and energy systems to use less. There are many changes that can be made to each and every city including the ones I have mentioned just to make less of an impact on the place we live.

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It has been said in many different sources that the City is a machine. The city creates jobs, communities, friends, families. So why not give the city the same kind of requirements as we do machines, sustainable machines? A machine that uses less energy, less water, recycles waste, and reduces the big elephant footprint on the environment.

References

Beyond the Fad…

How can we communicate sustainability? It is hard for us to grasp large numbers especially when it comes to global warming. We are told that we consume almost two earth’s worth of resources, that the ocean has warmed a degree, and that the population is now at seven billion. But the reality is that we do not have two earth’s, we cannot physically see the change in one degree, and were only exposed to a very small fraction of that seven billion. So how do we change people’s behavior if the problem is not exactly visible?

GFN_EOS_infographic_v5We need to stop looking to communicate on a large scale and instead start small. Start local. How can we help our friends and family think sustainable? What can our grocery stores, waste management, water and energy do to communicate sustainability? How can we change sustainability from a negative burden to a positive habit?

Like I said, we need to start local, we need to make the information we are sharing relevant to those around us, and we need to share positivity and knowledge in order to get the idea of sustainability into an everyday routine.

3dc74983-7588-4da1-b8b7-2765e7105519The first thing we can do is take initiative ourselves.

  • Recycle your plastics and glass
  • Buy locally grown food
  • Trap the rain water for garden/yard use
  • Do your research
  • Buy what you can eat
  • Turn the faucet off in between brushing teeth

These are just a few really simple, small scale ways to be more sustainable everyday.

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Second is to take initiative to teach our friends and family.

There are so many ways to get people excited, happy, or at least used to being sustainable we just have to find better ways to communicate it to people. It has to stop being a fad and start becoming a reality.

References

+ http://greenerbytheweek.blog.com/2011/03/how-to-make-a-rain-barrel-for-18/

+ http://www.thegoodsurvivalist.com/how-to-build-a-solar-generator-at-home-for-under-300-simple-step-by-step-instructions/

+ http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/world_footprint/

http://www.globalroots.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/3dc74983-7588-4da1-b8b7-2765e7105519.jpg

http://livingdreams.tv/movies/cowspiracy-want-know-truth-documentary-real-drive-climate-change

+http://moodle.woodbury.edu/mod/resource/view.php?id=100428

+http://moodle.woodbury.edu/mod/url/view.php?id=100433

+Vegetable-Gardening-Tips-for-Beginners.jpg

What Does Your Trash Say About You?

Between your K Cups and plastic bags, the trash combined from both could circle the earth close to 20 times yearly… And where does all that trash go? In places like this

120423050950-lebanon-landfill-horizontal-large-galleryThe numbers get scary in regards to calculating our trash production yearly. We consume too much, use too little, and place the trash in the wrong bins because we just don’t know, and frankly don’t care. But maybe we would care a little more if these landfills were in our front yard or if the gas emissions coming off of them were visible. What we cant see we ignore and trash is just another one of those things.

The initiative we have in placing compost and recyclables into the designated trash bins is less than half the total amount of landfill picked up every day. But more than half the landfill trash is recyclable, just not placed in the right bin. What the landfill produces is lots of toxic gas and waste that just gets pilled into the earth till the sight has reached it’s capacity. Once that has happened, the landfill gets dumped elsewhere.

So what does your trash look like? Is it separated by number of recycled plastic and your biodegradable and compostable food is placed in a compost bin for your garden? Or does everything you trash go into one big trash bin and thrown out in a bigger trash bin? This is the problem.

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Knowledge of your trash, and also taking the extra step in separating your trash, could make such a difference on the earth. There are many things that you consume and trash that may even have an after life for you such as coffee grounds, scrap wood and cardboard, and the remains from the lawn being cut, that can be used around the house or given to the right people.

If reading the ingredients or where something was made is a regular occurrence for you before buying something, then add what materials it is made out of to that list. There are many brands and items you can buy that are easily recyclable and reusable. Used coffee grounds can be used in your pants soil, biodegradable materials can be left in the garden and will seem to disappear into the ground, and plastic can be separated by numbers one through seven and taken to your local recycle center. Here is a list of brands that take the initiative:

img_6984There are more companies not included in the list. But what our main focus should be is  reducing the amount of total trash in landfills by adding more to our recycle bin and educating ourselves on the companies we buy from and their take back policies.

References

+ Retrieved from http://www.electronicstakeback.com/wp-content/uploads/target.pdf

+ Garment collecting. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/reduce-waste/garment-collecting.html

+ How Bad Are K-Cups for the Environment? – The Atlantic. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/

+ LUSH. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lushusa.com/null/5-pot-program,en_US,pg.html

+ Manufacturer Takeback Programs in the U.S. – Electronics TakeBack Coalition. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.electronicstakeback.com/how-to-recycle-electronics/manufacturer-takeback-programs/

+ Recycling – Apple. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/recycling/

+ Worn Wear: Better Than New – Patagonia.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.patagonia.com/us/worn-wear

What’s Your Deal Coca-Cola?

It seems like the bigger a company becomes, the less environmentally responsible they think they have to be. Profit comes first, and the environment comes second (if at all). That is how it has always been for companies like Coca Cola, Chevron, Ford, Walmart, and so many more.

As Adam Lowry, CEO of Method household products, mentions in “Why Evil Is Better in Business (or Is It?)INC, businesses think that their way to “‘do good’ is to make as much money as possible and then donate some of it to causes it thinks are important.” But people are starting to question these companies right, or wrong doings. Just because you donate money to probable causes, does not take away the fact that you are harming the earth in one way or another.

This leads to another hidden problem. Being a sustainable business does not just mean keeping carbon out of the air or not chopping down trees, it also means protecting humans from disease, or keeping animals out of harm. It means not overusing your resources to make your product or not monopolizing the economy. This is how companies can cover up the wrongs with rights.

Coca-Cola has revealed that they are using sustainable packaging, protecting workers rights, and building water plants for poor communities. This is all really great except for the part where they forgot how they are contributing to one the top ten leading causes of death in America, Obesity or in technical terms Diabetes.

global_obesity_fat_americans_30_percent_of_world_s_human_biomass-650x487Climate Change is real and relevant to everyone, including these large corporations. Where there is a lot of impact, there should be a lot of change. These companies are a large part of the negative effects happening on the environment so they should be the ones making the biggest changes in terms of becoming more sustainable, not only as a company but with their own products especially. Supporting charities and helping developing countries is good, and should continue. But the first thing that should happen is for these companies to take a look at their own products first and make a change there.

Whether these companies believe in Climate Change or not, eventually their resources will run out if they continue to use at the same rate they do now or have for the past 20+ years. So why not make a shift now? Why not focus on promoting health and sustainability in your own product instead of putting the focus on others? Your drink is the problem Coca-Cola. You are the problem. Let’s Start There!

Resources

+ Non Renewable Resources 

+ Sustainable Business

+ Why Evil Is Better in Business (or Is It?)

+ http://moodle.woodbury.edu/pluginfile.php/186446/mod_resource/content/1/SM_Ch12.pdf

+ Image 1: http://killercoke.org/img/content/coke_dietitians_for_professional_integrity.jpg

+ Image 2: WWFMI_640X360.jpg

+ Image 3: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwionMXKw9LLAhUCOCYKHb5QDcIQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fguardianlv.com%2F2013%2F08%2Fobesity-is-caused-by-laziness%2F&bvm=bv.117218890,d.eWE&psig=AFQjCNHZuKK5BMXYhF6YnmsRgotMaizevg&ust=1458675432870881