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A Guide To Sustainable Living

Sustainable living is an environmentally responsible lifestyle adapted by individuals and families and encouraged by many municipalities and corporations. The goal is to minimize people’s consumption of the earth’s natural resources and the effect they have on the planet. This effect is often referred to as a footprint. Participants work at reducing their carbon footprint by using less damaging modes of transportation, energy, and diet to maintain the natural balance of the Earth's ecology.

Sustainable living is promoted as making decisions that most benefit the environment. These decisions include purchases, foods, recycling, and lifestyle. Sustainable living benefits the earth, society and many choices benefit us individually though some involve compromise with convenience.

Recycling
Sustainable living includes recycling. Recycling programs are available in many countries. Recycling alone is not always enough to conserve energy. Much of what we recycle takes more energy and money to recycle than to dispose of. In order to help, consumption can be approached on a “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy. Reduce what you buy and use, reuse what you can, and then recycle what you cannot use. You can reduce the amount of disposable materials you purchase. You can reuse many items for multiple purposes.

http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/rrr/recycle.htm
Recycling benefits and how to.

http://earth911.com/recycling/
Recycling 101

http://www.obviously.com/recycle/
The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide

http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/waste/index.html
Recycling News and Fact Sheets

http://www.zerowaste.co.nz/
Zero Waste New Zealand program.

Vehicles
The Union of Concerned Scientists say that vehicles contribute the most air pollution and cause more global warming than anything people do. There are alternative choices of transportation and vehicle types. Hybrid vehicle choices are growing. Many cities provide public transportation. If the distance is feasible walking or bicycling are green choices.

Changing your driving habits can also reduce your transportation energy consumption. Driving the speed limit or 5 miles under and avoiding quick acceleration except when necessary will conserve fuel. Higher speeds produce less miles per gallon.

Traveling light will also help you conserve energy in your vehicle. Remove roof racks, bicycle racks, trailer hitches and other accessories when not in use. Keep unneeded items out of your trunk and storage spaces as well.

http://www.ucsusa.org/
Union of Concerned Citizens

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/
Union of Concerned Citizens: Global Warming

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/
Union of Concerned Citizens: Clean Vehicles

http://www.hybridcars.com/
Hybrid Car Reviews

http://eartheasy.com/move_hybrid_cars.html
About hybrid cars

Yard Maintenance and Gardening
Mowing, watering, and fertilizing yards can contribute to pollution and energy use. Gas powered lawn mowers, weed eaters, and leaf blowers all produce exhaust fumes that pollute the air. Groundwater is polluted by many pesticides and fertilizers.

If you live in a climate where you can grow your own fruit and vegetables, they can be healthier and save you money. Find plants that will grow well in your area. Purchase topsoil if needed. Starting with rich soil will reduce your use of any fertilizer. Make your own compost and you will also reduce your garbage output.

Sustainable living practices can minimize and eliminate pollution caused by outdoor maintenance.

  • Landscaping can be designed to minimize mowing, watering and fertilizing. Tress contributes more to the environment than grass and require far lees grooming.
  • Soil can be enriched with compost and organic fertilizers and weeds reduced with organic mulch.
  • Gas powered tools can be replaced by electric or human powered apparatus.
  • There are many natural remedies that prevent and eliminate insects and pests and certain plants that attract beneficial insects.

http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp
Organic Lawn Care For the Cheap and Lazy

http://yardandgardens.com/
Organic Lawn Care

http://greenlivingideas.com/topics/garden-and-yard-care/lawn-and-yard-care/organic-lawn-care-for-every-green-yard
Organic Lawn Care

http://www.thegreenguide.com/home-garden/garden/easy-organic-lawn-care
The Green Guide: Easy Organic Lawn Care

http://www.safelawns.org/
Safe lawns for a healthier planet.

Natural Solutions for Gardens
By growing and maintaining a healthy garden you can prevent much of the need for pest control.

  • Start with well-prepared soil that is pH adjusted, a location with the right amount sunlight and air circulation for your plants, and proper water drainage.
  • Remove all weeds and any dying or unhealthy plants immediately and dispose of them far away the garden.
  • Keep mulch clean and clear of debris and foreign matter.
  • Keep your tools clean after each use. This will cut down on the spread of any harmful bacteria and make your tools last longer.
  • Use seaweed fertilizer spray which is natural and has the minerals your plants need.

http://eartheasy.com/blog/category/organic-garden/
Organic Gardening from Earth Easy

http://www.organicgardening.com/
Organic Gardening

http://www.organicgardeningguru.com/
The Dirt on Growing Organically from the Organic Gardening Guru

http://www.organicgardeninfo.com/
Organic gardening information

http://www.organicgardentips.com/
Helpful organic gardening tips

http://journeytoforever.org/garden.html
Organic gardening from Journey to Forever

Home Energy Use
Conserving energy use in your home reduces your carbon footprint and can result in substantial savings. Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home can usually be accomplished with less energy.

  • Make sure your home is properly sealed and insulated.
  • Open blinds and window coverings to bring in solar heat and block windows to stay cooler. Strategically placed trees and installing awnings can also produce cooling shade.
  • Reflect heat with roof reflective coatings. Use light colors on the outside of your house.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to control your home’s temperature. They are relatively inexpensive compared to how much they can reduce consumption.
  • Use the sun to illuminate your home and compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • When possible use a microwave oven. They use less energy than a conventional oven.
  • Purchase Energy Star labeled appliances.
  • Insulate your hot water heater and pipes.
  • Use ceiling fans.

http://www.homeenergy.org/
Home Energy Magazine

http://homepower.com/home/
Richard and Karen Perez launched Home Power in 1987, to change the way people generate and use energy, one rooftop at a time.

http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/
Home energy saver consumer guide

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_index
Improving your home's energy usage.

http://www.energyaustralia.com.au/
Information for energy conservation in Australia.

Shopping Bags
Reusable eco friendly bags save trees and energy and reduce waste in landfills. Approximately
one million plastic bags that are not recyclable are used every minute. Most plastic bags will not naturally degrade for over 10 centuries! Eco friendly bags are inexpensive and can be used repeatedly. Many are made from recyclable materials, are much stronger than plastic or paper bags and fold easily, come with handles. Although these bags are mostly durable when they do wear out they are recyclable.

Household Cleaning Products
Many household cleaning products are toxic and energy intensive to produce. A great natural replacement is lemon juice. Lemons are fragrant and contain citric acid that woks like bleach and can remove even the toughest stains. In addition you are saving the pollution, materials, and landfills from the containers other cleaners are package in.

By rubbing lemon juice over stained items and letting them sit in the sun, you can clean many surfaces. Dishes, food containers, and cutting boards can all be cleaned by rubbing a cut lemon on them and letting them be for about 20 minutes. Then just rinse and dry.

Except stainless steel and marble, most countertops can be cleaned with lemons. Use a cut half lemon with the inside of the lemon coated in baking soda and rub on the surface. Then rinse with a wet cloth or sponge and dry.

Buy recycled goods whenever possible. Join local recycling and environmental campaigns and groups and support organizations that support the environment. Everyone can get involved in sustainable living.

http://eartheasy.com/blog/category/healthy-home/
Solutions for sustainable living.

http://www.sustainablelivingmagazine.org/
Sustainable Living magazine

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