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Sustainable Living in the 21st Century

Updated on March 26, 2015

Introduction

Sustainable living is a way of living that conserves personal resources and those of planet Earth. With growing scientific evidence that our current way of life is non-sustainable, and with all the instability in the world, it makes sense to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Since the Industrial revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and the popularity of the automobile in the early 20th century, our planet is becoming more fragile each day; this can be seen in the unusual global weather patterns such as severe droughts, flooding, water shortages and other so called acts of God.

Take a look at the food supply; grocery stores are completely dependent on trucks to keep the shelves stocked; if something happen to disrupt this supply link, store shelves will be empty in a mater of days. Another example is delivery of gasoline; once again, if the trucks stop deliveries it wont be long before everything slows to a stand still. With these concerns, it makes sense to have your own way of feeding an caring for you and your family. This will take a commitment of time, education and personal resources, but the rewards are worth it; you will become more self reliant, better educated on what to do.

Conserve Water

Although most of the earth's surface is covered by water, most of the usable fresh water is a small percentage of the total available water on the planet. As the earth's population continues to grow in the next decade or two, access to clean drinking water could become a bigger problem than peak oil.

  • Do dispose of waste oil properly; do not pour it down a storm drain; pouring oil down a storm drain will contaminate thousands of gallons of fresh water.
  • Make sure your toilets aren't leaking; when a toilet leaks it can waste over 150 gallons of water a day.
  • Don't allow the water to run while you brush your teeth; use only what you need and turn off the water off.
  • Try to take shorter showers, or take a bath.

Conserve Electricy

Often when we utilize electricity, we forget much of it comes from coal fired power plants. So please do your part in reducing pollution by turning off unused appliances.

  • Turn off lights when not in use; change standard bulbs with low watt power saver bulbs.
  • When running air conditioner or heater make sure all windows and doors are sealed.
  • When you need to use dishwasher make sure you run a full load. If you have a few dishes and cups wash them by hand.
  • When using washer use only when you have a full load. If you have a few things to wash wash them in the sink.
  • If you need to dry a few damp towels or cloths air dry them don't use the dryer it uses a lot of power. Hang them up outside.
  • If you are going to be away from home during the summer months turn air conditioner up to 80 or 85 degrees when you leave.
  • If you are going to be away from home in the winter months turn heat down to 65 degrees.
  • When the curling iron and blow dryer aren't in use unplug them; despite their small size they use a lot of power. Also, if you aren't watching TV or using your computer turn it off. If your TV or Computer is running for hours and no one is using them it can make a difference on your electrical bill.
  • Consider replacing your existing hot water heater with a tank-less water heater, or lower the temperature on your existing hot water heater.
  • If Possible and if you have abundant sunlight consider installing solar panels to help offset your electrical usage.

Grow your own food

In the United States not so long ago, there was a time when many families grew their own food. In the early part of the twentieth century, as more people left the farm for the city, the skill of growing food was lost; consequently, many of us in this age of instant gratification don't know where to start to relearn this skill. As people lost the ability to grow there own food, dependency on larger mega farms for their produce became the norm. This caused waste and unnecessary consumption of fuel to transport produce to customers. Consider starting your own garden; even a small garden can provide healthier produce than the local supermarket. Your home grown produce will be heather and taste better; as it would only be picked when ripe not green.

  • Educate your self on how to set up and create a small garden.
  • Grow some if not all your own food to know and control what is going into your bodies; When you buy food at the local markets you can never be sure what chemicals were used, or how sanitary the produce in question really is.
  • Don't use man made chemicals in or around your little garden.

Reduce the usage of Petroleum in Automobiles

With the impact of fossil fuels on air quality, its expense, and the declining supply of crude oil, this is one of the most pressing problem in the world today. While is would be difficult to eliminate petroleum products from our lives, it is possible to reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Carpool, use public transportation, or if you live in suburbs use park and ride.
  • Combine many smaller trips into one trip, and arrange your stops in a logical order.
  • Maintain your car in top shape,and make sure tires are at proper tire pressure; if you have multi-cars in your household, try to run errands in the most fuel efficient one.
  • When possible don't idle engine more than a few minutes.
  • On hot days use Air Conditioner when driving greater than 50 MPH.
  • Use overdrive to lower engine RPM which will save gasoline.
  • Turn off unnecessary electrical items in your automobile.

Location is Everything

Try to Work, Shop and Live in the same area. In addition to saving gasoline, you will help strength the local economy too.

  • Do shop with local businesses
  • Do park your car so you don't have to move it each time you leave a store. Walk between stores in a shopping center.
  • If possible when running errands, ride a bike or walk

Talk to your local Congressman about Alternate Energy Plans and follow up on the progress

With rising fuel costs, peak oil, and the negative impact on the environment, making the shift from oil to alternative energy sources seems like an attractive option. Also, with the tax breaks offered by participating governments, there has been an increase in the number of companies interested in alternative energy power generation. While it is nice to have a few companies interested, it would be better if our leaders showed true leadership and developed a passion for energy independence back in the 1970s, following the oil crisis of 1973. I am not going to say it is too late, but it is very late in the game to fix this problem. Energy independence means national security too.

  • Follow the issues and debates related to energy
  • Education your self about the politics surrounding energy
  • Don't be afraid to call your congress man and ask questions
  • Encourage your friends to become involved

Recycle

Recycling is the reprocessing of old materials into new products to prevent waste. By recycling old materials energy is saved, a reduction in pollutions is achieved, and the local land fill has less waste to store. Typical recyclable materials include glass, paper, plastic, metal and some electronics. Look around your home; if you have an old computer that doesn't work any more recycle it. If you have old magazines, or aluminum cans recycle them. The energy savings aren't small; in the example of cans, the energy savings is greater than ninety percent. So recycling is win-win for the consumer, business and the environment.

Conclusion

It is more important than ever to put sustainable living into practice. With major concerns on the horizon such as peak oil, world wide water shortages, and world population increases, it is more important than ever to take these issues seriously. It is obvious the Americanized lifestyle isn't going to last much longer. Too much of the worlds resources are consumed and wasted to accommodate a small percentage of the world's population. Putting sustainable living into practice is more important than ever; Recycle that stack of newspaper in your garage; buy quality shoes, clothing and tools that will last for years instead of months; yes you will pay more but it will last longer with less junk in a land fill. Conserve water and watch your usage of electricity . Gradually make these changes now; in the coming years, it won't be such a shock when these changes go from optional to mandatory.

Comments

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    • profile image

      PWalker281 7 years ago

      Wow, what a comprehensive hub on sustainable living. I'm going to bookmark it for future reference. Great job!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @PWalker281 - Thanks you for your kind words, and it nice to hear from you again :)

    • SwiftlyClean profile image

      SwiftlyClean 7 years ago from Texas

      Great hub Coomon2009,We need to keep thinking in ways to live more conservative and useful.Well put together.

      Thanks

      Sharon Smith

    • Rascal Russ Miles profile image

      Rascal Russ Miles 7 years ago from Show Low, AZ USA

      A truly AWESOME Hub, Good Buddy. It consumed a lot of your energy to write but forced me to see how I've been wasting a bunch of energy also. Thanks...

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @SwiftlyClean - Thanks for your comments, and its nice to hear from you again.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Rascal Russ Miles - I understand what you mean; I have to check myself sometimes; there are a few things we each can do to change our attitudes toward energy; thanks for stopping by.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 7 years ago from Italy

      Great hub, very well done and with so many good information. Rated, bookmarked and stumbled. :)

    • Jane@CM profile image

      Jane@CM 7 years ago

      Excellent hub. I hope many will read this, so much of it is just plain common sense! Thumbs up!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @hypnodude - Nice to hear from you again; thank you for taking the time to read and bookmark this article :)

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Jane@CM - Yes I agree it is common sense; thank you for stopping by, and it is nice to meet you:)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      excellent hub cool, everybody shouild be aware of these things, water conservation is very important, Maita

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @prettydarkhorse - Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by; yes conservation becomes more important as the resources of this planet decrease; nice to hear from you as always Maita

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Great hub, great videos, great advice. I hope we can get to where we need to be by staying where we are. Thanks!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Micky Dee - Thank you for your comments, and thanks for stopping by.

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      This is a conscientious hub! Many people are unaware of the fact that is not only your little neighborhood, town, city or country; it is the whole planet! The ripple effect for things that are detrimental to life on Earth increases dangerously. We have to be concerned with our planet and place our little grain of sand. Excellent work, dear friend!

      Thumbs up! I have just stumbled it!

      Warmest regards and infinite blessings to you,

      Al

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Mystique1957 - you are so right it is about the whole planet; thank you for your feedback :)

    • profile image

      AJ2008 7 years ago

      Some great common sense tips here. Now if everyone just took one thing from here that they don't normally do and did it, it would be an easy step to take towards preserving the earth's precious resources.

    • Emmeline profile image

      Emmeline 7 years ago from The North

      Wow, great info there! Growing your own food has to be my favorite part of this hub. This is not only great for sustainable living... but the health benefits are amazing. I also find that my children enjoy food they have cultivated themselves!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @AJ2008 - Yes I agree with you; making small changes over time is the way to go; just think about what you do and how much energy you are using. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this article.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Emmeline - Yes I agree with you; there is nothing like vine ripe petroleum fee produce. I am glad your kids enjoy the cultivation too. nothing like consuming the fruits of your labor; thank you for taking the time to comment on this article.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Great tips, Coolmon! But the heat? In winter, I keep my heat at 64 degrees when I am at home! We've gotten so used to the cool house that visiting homes where they keep the temp at 70 feels just awful.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Dolores Monet - I know what you mean, I prefer keeping my heat set in the 60's too. Besides it does help to save on the electric bill. Thank you for leaving your comments, and it is nice to hear from you :)

    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Fontana, WI

      Location is everything - you are absolutely correct! Great suggestions we all can use.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      @4FoodSafety - Thanks for your feedback.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      I really like this Hub - rated up and bookmarked! Thanks for sharing this very important information. It is so important to reduce re-use re-cycle! That's my mantra! Glad you found that graphic which I have shamelessly downloaded from your Hub for future reference!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      @tonymac04 - Glad you like my article, and thank you for your feedback :)

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      Very good information a sustainable life is something we should all work toward. I do and appreciate this great resource. Thanks :)

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      @katiem2 - Thank you for your feedback :)

    • Dr irum profile image

      Dr irum 6 years ago

      Its amazing work on sustainable living .comprehensive good compilation with nice visuals .

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Dr irum - Thanks for your comments, and it is nice to hear from you again :)

    • MOTrainer profile image

      MOTrainer 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Great earth-friendly tips, interesting read. Really enjoyed the article and videos, great hub!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      @MOTrainer - Thanks glad you enjoyed reading it :)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

      Good information for everyone.

      I recently got a high efficiency washer (my old one died after 29 years of service. Not only does it use less water and electricity, but it spins things so dry, that my dryer has less work to do (uses less propane and electricity), as well. I'm impressed.

    • Farmer Brown profile image

      Farmer Brown 5 years ago

      Inhabitat.com is a fun website that focuses on thinking out of the box when it comes to sustainable living - long live the clothesline! Vote u up!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Rochelle Frank - Sounds like you got a good one. I hope you have years of trouble free service out of your new washer :)

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Farmer Brown - Thank you for the link. I will take a look at this website :)

    • profile image

      Jen the Ecoventurer 5 years ago

      I have recently started my family on an adventure in living greener. I am trying to find ways to lessen our negative impact on the earth. Your website had lots of great tips for me. I am currently laying out beds in the garden to try and raise at least some of our own food. Thanks for being a great resource!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Jen the Ecoventurer - Thank you for your visit here and I am glad you found this article useful :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi, Cool - I love the idea of buying local when I can, especially local produce during the season. But then, I have to go out of my way, driving, to buy or pick it! What a conundrum!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image
      Author

      Coolmon2009 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      @Dolores Monet - I know what you mean, I always try to buy from Texas farmers here. Thanks for your comments and its nice to hear from you again :)

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