Eric's cousin just interviewed us for a project she is doing for her industrial design class. She needs to make a product for a core audience of her choosing, produce 15 of the product, and sell them before the semester is over. She is going to make some sort of lighting and her core audience is new home owners who are interested in sustainability. Since we fit this demographic she interviewed us. One of her main questions was how does sustainability fit into your everyday life. Spur of the moment I could really only think of a few things. After she left I just kept thinking of more ways in which we make an effort to be environmentally friendly. Here is the list I came up with.
-Preserve/Can when things are in season, less packaging, less chemicals
-Can on an outside stove in summer to keep heat outside of the house which we are using electricity to cool
-Make vanilla, vinegar, and extracts
-Dehydrate fruits when in season and bananas year round
-Dehydrate herbs for winter cooking and tea use
-Use cooking scraps to make veggie stock
-Compost all food scraps
-Try to make more than one thing at a time to utilize the oven being on
-No meat, dairy, or eggs
-Make beans from scratch to cut out packaging and cost
-Use compost as natural fertalizer for garden
-No pestisides or chemicals in garden
-Reusing leaves as winter cover and spring nutrients in garden
-Collect rain water for landscape and garden
-Introducing native plants to our landscape
-Planted fruit trees and berry bushes
-Created stick, leaves, and other such yard waste piles that create natural habitats for animals
-No lawn bags, not throwing away perfectly good material
-Working on getting away from a 'lawn' by planting more trees, native wild flowers, and creating a meadow on our 1 acre
-Unplug lights and things we aren't using- phantom electricity
-Do dishes in tubs so water isn't constantly running, empty tubs in yard rather than down the drain
-If it's yellow let it mellow
-Use energy efficient blubs
-No paper towels
-Create lots of our own products to cut back on chemicals and packaging materials, shampoo, laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc.
-Clean house with homemade vinegar disinfectant spray, works on all surfaces and uses- bathroom, kitchen, carpet
-Buy in bulk and bulk bins to cut out a lot of packaging materials, bring own bulk bags
-No bags when buying produce, i.e. apples, kale, etc.
-Use our own shopping bags, working on using them not only at the grocery but at all stores
-Try not to use any disposables, i.e. cups, silverware
-Reusable water bottles and coffee cups that go everywhere with us
-Reusing things in new ways, i.e. the bags your tortillas come in have become my freezer bags since I don't buy or use ziplocks, old cosmetic containers can be used for holding coconut oil hair treatments, etc
-Using craigslist rather than buying new when possible
This list isn't to brag or to say how our way of living is awesome or for everyone. This list is really for me. I constantly read articles and blogs, or watch youtube's about all these cool things that people are doing and think 'I have to start doing that, I'm inefficient/behind'. In reality we're living our mantra of being conscious and are constantly learning new ways in which we can make a difference. Eventually we would like to do so much more; solar panels, wood stove as an alternative way to heat the house, solar cooking, etc. but for now we are really doing it and I'm proud of how we have adapted.
*Of course we are human and eat out, leave the lights on once in a while, and take way to long in the shower...