Sustainability is made up of little changes to our lifestyle

Sustainability is made up of the little changes to our lifestyle that don't cost us anything but which can, maybe, save the Planet

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Many people think that they can have no impact and that there is no chance that their little steps can make a difference. However, all those little steps and small acts, especially when we all understand it and do it, make one heck of a difference.

It is the little changes to our lifestyle that will have the greatest impact.

Cycle and walk instead of taking the car for every small journey or even, if you can, get rid of the car altogether. Or at least of one car, seeing that, it would appear, the great majority of families in Britain and the United States seem to have two cars (or even more). Aside from the environmental footprint of in manufacture and use they also cost unnecessary money in insurance, tax, etc.

Grow (some of) your own food. Start a vegetable garden by converting your lawn into a food garden. Better for the environment and better for you and your wallet. Even on a balcony in the city you can grow some food.

Turn off those lights. Turn off the lights that are not needed, when there is no one in the room. There are so many people who, out of laziness or convenience – you don't have to turn them on when they are already on – leave lights burning in rooms, in the basement, etc., where there is actually no one there needing the lights. This is wasting both money and energy.

Turn off the computer. Also turn off the computer and peripherals at night. This too saves you money and saves energy and thus emissions too. If you do use a desktop then get a so-called “intelligent” power strip which has a master socket and a number of “slave” sockets and which will turn all peripherals plugged into the slaves, such as monitor, printer, etc., off once the computer has been powered down and turned off. The panel does use a small amount of residual energy, that is true, but it is a lot easier than unplugging it all. You could, on the other hand, use an ordinary power strip with a switch and turn that switch off physically when you are finished for the day with the computer.

Use cold water for washing clothes and for showering. Both saves money and energy. In most cases your clothes do not need to be washed in hot water – for some that would actually be fatal – and cold or 30C does nicely, thank you.

Use tap water instead of bottled. Refuse the plastic and use tap water in reusabale bottle instead. Yes, the bottle does, probably, cost you some money but that is only one outlay and even if that is $10 or so you recoup that within a couple of days not buying bottled water.

Take your own bags to the stores. Instead of taking the “free” (there is no such thing as a free lunch and you plastic bag ending up as lunch for some turtle could be fatal) plastic one way grocery bags on offer. Make your own reusable totes from waste fabrics or other materials and take them with you to the stores whenever you go shopping. If you design them right you could make them in such as way that you can roll them up small enough and always have one or two on you in case of some “at the spur of the moment shopping.”

Reuse and Upcycle. Instead of rushing out to the stationery store for a pencil bin or two (made from recycled steel) look for a steel can in your recycle bin. It is free just for the cleaning up of it – something you often have to do anyway so the recyclers will actually take it – and your wallet will thank you, as will the Planet.

Reuse those bigs glass jars into storage jars (or even reuse them for canning) rather than tossing them into the glass recycling bin and then spending your hard earned money of recycled glass storage jars. Always think reuse and upcycle before you toss anything.

Those are just a few simple suggesting that, if we all did those, and the many other simple and small things, we would be a long way towards reducing our environmental impact and -footprint greatly.

A little but steady drip of water is capable of doing more damage to a stone as does a flood and small things can have a great impact, positively as well as negatively.

© 2011