1. Reduce Gasoline Consumption Drastically
Bike, walk and take the bus whenever you can. Stack errands so that you drive less and carpool whenever possible. See if you can stay out of your car for several days a week. Choose activities close to home. This will likely have a greater impact than any other single thing you can do. Choose a car with good mileage (40 mpg or better).
2. Save Energy at Home
Set your thermostat 3-5 degrees lower in the winter and 3-5 higher in the summer and dress appropriately. In the winter, you can sit on a heating pad and drink hot tea to stay warm. Here is a great article about the nexus between home energy use and faith:
3. Support Alternative Clean Energy Solutions such as Sonoma Clean Power.
Marin County already has their own clean power entity called Marin Energy Authority and Sonoma County is working toward something similar. While putting solar panels on your home is great, if you can’t afford to do that, rest assured that you may be able to purchase clean power soon. Learn more about Sonoma Clean Power.
4. Buy Local, Organic, and Fair Trade
Buy local: Energy consumption and transportation to ship from far away are serious but often-ignored aspects to what we use and buy. Buying local cuts down on the amount of fossil fuels used in transport and thus, global warming.
Pesticides are poisons to critters and you and the U.S. dumps 8 lbs per American per year into our soil and water. Pesticides are a primary cause of ground water pollution and conventional farming is a major contributor to topsoil erosion. (soil being our main source of life). More energy is used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the U.S. 50 –60% of processed foods in the U.S. (non organic) contain genetically modified ingredients (you know frankenfoods, crossbreeding tomatoes with cold water fish and that sorta stuff ). Industrial agriculture and factory farms pollute the earth, air and water torturing animals and lacing our food with toxic pesticides, diseases and bacteria. All this adds up to buy organic!
Buy Fair Trade
Many of our clothes are made in sweatshops and even under conditions of forced labor or even child slave labor. Buying fair trade products will ensure that your coffee, chocolate, and even t-shirts are produced without sweatshops or forced labor.
The “why” of it:
5. Grow Your own Food: Choose Something Unique
At the beginning of the 1900’s there were over 7,000 varieties of apples in the US. Over 6,000 of those are now extinct—these same rates of loss have happened in all our food crops. When you plant something unusual that you have never grown before, you help to support biodiversity. Growing your own food also decreases the waste of packaging, as well as the fossil fuels that would otherwise be used to transport your food from a farm to a market.
6. Reduce Waste:Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Compost
North Americans are the largest per capita generators of waste on our planet.We produce over 350 million tonnes of garbage annually and the amount grows every year. We kill over 100,000 sea mammals every year through the plastic bags that end up in our oceans, yet we continue to use them in abundance because remembering to bring our own is supposedly too much to ask of a consumer. Let’s all stop the madness.
Checklist to reduce waste:
- Compost! Food waste produces methane in landfills – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Bring your own bag anytime you shop, bring your cup, bottle, and takeout container
- Reduce packaging: Grow your own food
- Choose recycled products. Look at your recycling guide and stop buying things on packaging that can’t be recycled
- Avoid Styrofoam and plastic and choose products in biodegradable packaging instead
- Reduce packaging: Buy in bulk from bins
Recycled toilet paper
Composting and sustainable lifestyle products
7. Be the media
These days, the corporate media only answers to the bottom line.Investigative reporting is on the decline and many stories go unreported.There is very little accountability among politicians and corporations.If we want to know the truth, we have to find it ourselves and read independent media.Do your homework and write to your local newspapers about the issues that concern you.
8. Healthy Relations: Get to know your neighbors
Don’t wait until a rainy day to get to know your neighbors.Just as a spider weaves a web of support, so can we create lifelines in our social relations.There are many reasons to get to know your neighbors.Knowing who is around you makes you more aware and safer, but also could lead to business relationships, life-long friendships, and much more.You never know who might be living right next door.