Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sustainable Living

Blog post by Tina Winterlik © 2011
March 9/2011

Today I came across Gouri's Blog - How? because he started following me on Twitter. This Twitter is really starting to happen for me. My whole world is opening up. Gouri is in India.  I love the whole social media networking thing.

Anyways Gouri's blog got me thinking about Sustainable Living and I want to share what I have learned.
Check out Gouri's Bio- I really like it!
A guy caught between materialistic temptations & spiritual aspirations. Veggie by birth and conscience, out on a journey to discover the meaning of life..

(Guest post by Kathy Rothaar)

Not all of us live in an area that is conducive to planting our own gardens or visiting the local farmer’s market several times a week. But all of us can practice living a more sustainable life – no matter where we live.

What is sustainable living?

Two years ago I had not even heard of the word sustainable. I had no idea what sustainable living meant. I thought it meant I had to drive an electric car, gather and harvest my own foods and hunt for my dinner. And while those are all wonderful ideas, they were not very realistic for my family. I had to find other alternatives.

Wikipedia defines sustainable living as -

a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and his/her own resources.

I could do that. But how? I don’t live in the country and I don’t drive an electric car. Read more here.

From Wikipedia- Sustainable Living

Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resource and his/her own resources.[1]

Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet.[2]

Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in manners that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's natural ecology and cycles.[3]

The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development.

Lester R. Brown, a prominent environmentalist and founder of the Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute, describes sustainable living in the 21st century as "shifting to a renewable energy-based, reuse/recycle economy with a diversified transport system."[4]

John Willoner's Eco-House at Findhorn. Turf roof, passive solar, solar panel.

Sustainable Shelter
Sustainable homes are built using sustainable methods, materials, and facilitate green practices, enabling a sustainable lifestyle. Their construction and maintenance have neutral impacts on the Earth. Oftentimes, if necessary, they are close in proximity to essential services such as grocery stores, schools, daycares, work, or public transit making it possible to commit to sustainable transportation choices.[19] Sometimes, they are off-the-grid homes that do not require any public energy, water, or sewer service. Read more here

Sustainable Power 
When needed, sustainable living requires the use of sustainable energy. This involves the use of power in such a way that fulfills the requirements of the present without compromising the requirements of the future.

Or, in short, using power sources and in such a way that can be sustained infinitely. This means the energy source must be renewable, and must not harm the environment or the people working under it.

The most commonly used renewable sources of energy are: biomass, water, geothermal, wind, and solar.  Read more here

Sustainable Food
A more sustainable means of acquiring food is to purchase locally and seasonally. Buying food from local farmers reduces carbon offsets, caused by long-distance food transport, and stimulates the local economy.[45]

Local, small-scale farming operations also typically utilize more sustainable methods of agriculture than conventional industrial farming systems such as decreased tillage, nutrient cycling, fostered biodiversity and reduced chemical pesticide and fertilizer applications.[46
Read more here

A major factor of sustainable living involves that which no human can live without, water. Unsustainable water usage has far reaching implications for humankind.

Currently, humans use one-fourth of the earth’s total water in natural circulation, and over half the accessible runoff.[59] Additionally, population growth and water demand is ever increasing.
Thus, it is necessary to use available water more efficiently. 

In sustainable living, one can use water more sustainably through a series of simple, everyday measures. These measures involve considering indoor home appliance efficiency, outdoor water use, and daily water use awareness.  Read more here

Toilets account for almost 30% of residential indoor water use in the United States.[60] One flush of a standard US toilet requires more water than most individuals, and many families, in the world use for all their needs in an entire day.[61]

A home’s toilet water sustainability can be improved in one of two ways: improving the current toilet or installing a more efficient toilet.

To improve the current toilet, one possible method is to put weighted plastic bottles in the toilet tank. Also, there are inexpensive tank banks or float booster available for purchase.

A tank bank is a plastic bag to be filled with water and hung in the toilet tank. A float booster attaches underneath the float ball of pre-1986 three and a half gallon capacity toilets. It allows these toilets to operate at the same valve and float setting but significantly reduces their water level, saving between one and one and a third gallons of water per flush.

A major waste of water in existing toilets is leaks. A slow toilet leak is undetectable to the eye, but can waste hundreds of gallons each month. One way to check this is to put food dye in the tank, and to see if the water in the toilet bowl turns the same color. In the event of a leaky flapper, one can replace it with an adjustable toilet flapper, which allows self adjustment of the amount of water per flush.

I came across this book at Chapters last night. Go Green by Nancy H Taylor 
Go Green by Nancy H. Taylor
How to Build a Eco-Friendly Community- Go Green by Nancy H. Taylor

About the Book- Go Green

There is no one way to solve the global warming crisis. Just as it will take many kinds of fuel to replace our appetite for fossil fuel, it will take many different approaches to reduce our carbon footprint.

There are actions we can do at home and at work, easy things like changing our light bulbs, recycling and driving less. There are solutions at the community level, such as starting a CSA or a farmers market or a recycling center. And there are municipal, state and governmental programs we can start in our hometowns.

A few ideas are: getting your mayor to sign the Climate Protection Agreement, starting a light rail program in your city, redirecting a highway project so it does not damage a fragile ecosystem and making sure there is funding for affordable green housing.

Be creative, do not waste time, get involved with your neighbors—become part of the sustainable earth family. 
It will change your life!

Go Green offers user-friendly suggestions for:

  • Remodeling an existing home to create a healthier, energy-efficient living space
  • Siting a new house and choosing green building materials
  • Greening schools and hospitals
  • Choosing the right transportation to influence the future
  • Buying local, organic, sustainable food
  • Conserving water at home and at the office
  • Learning how to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Starting programs in your community such as a light rail system, a recycling center, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Something that Nancy talked about was the issue of non-green schools and how daylit classrooms had such a positive effect on the children. This touched home to me because children spend so much time in these buildings and since my child is home schooled but is considering school, well this was something in the back of my mind but it's really got me reconsidering the whole thing now. 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle 
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Welcome to the secret hideaway of a long-forgotten goat, the flowers of a peanut plant nosing their way into the dirt, the lost art of turkey sex:  In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (HarperCollins Publishers, May 2007), our family documented our year of procuring as much of our food as possible from neighboring farms and our own backyard. We're glad you're here, and hope you find more resources and other local-food devotees in a rapidly growing movement.

Here are a Couple of Good Videos on Sustainable Living
Patti Moreno the Garden Girl explains her Sustainable Living methods.
Check out http://www.gardengirltv.comCheck out

Living Outside The Box Sustainable Lifestyles

Does GDP really correspond to happiness? is our happiness tied up with ''stuff''? here are some ideas about sustainable living -- how many planets do we need to sustain our lifestyle?

The Division for Sustainable Development is holding a Seminar Series addressing the thematic issues pertaining to the Commission for Sustainable Development 18th session (CSD-18) thematic topics.

This video was of interest to the Seminar held on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (SCP) It is used at the seminar to illustrate specific concepts.

Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.

Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of cells containing a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium selenide/sulfide.[1]

Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.[2][3][4]
As of 2010, solar photovoltaics generates electricity in more than 100 countries and, while yet comprising a tiny fraction of the 4.8 TW total global power-generating capacity from all sources, is the fastest growing power-generation technology in the world. 

Introduction to Solar Photovoltaics

1 comment:

Gouri said...

Hi Tina, so nice of you, I am touched. Thank you so much!