I’ve lived in the sustainability house for a semester, but the real question is, what is sustainability? Many of my house mates, including myself, have posted numerous blogs and our readers may not know what they mean, apart from what they read. It is very important to be sustainable and there are many things an average person can do, even if you don’t live in an eco-house like I do.
Sure, there are simple things like turn your lights off, or turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth. This is what you are told in elementary school, but this article will go more in depth as to what you can do to help the environment. When you do good things, you start to feel good.
Take into consideration the water consumption that you and may not even know you use. There are many things that you could be doing that could be causing water loss or unnecessary water damage/ usage.
- Eating meat, particularly steak can be extremely damaging and have a high amount of water intake. Although you may think it is just meat, a person needs to also consider many other animal products.
- http://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Report-48-WaterFootprint-AnimalProducts-Vol1.pdf << This link will take readers into a report that was completed to show the water consumption behind agriculture, and just why it takes a large amount of water for meat and animal products to be produced.
- On page 26, there are bar graphs that sum the water usage up to see what foods you can try and avoid, if you do not want to start avoiding these foods just yet, you can look to see which practice it more sustainable to consume them. When looking further into this article on page 29, a person can see more foods that are damaging with water including nuts.
- When looking at this data I am hoping that a person can conclude that cutting some animal products out of their diet can help conserve water on top of other efforts like showering for shorter periods of time, being conscious of what toilet they are using, or even making sure you have a full load for dish washing and laundry. There are many more uses for water that I have not covered here, like fruits, nuts, and vegetables (asparagus). It would be worth anybody’s time to investigate water consumption of the foods they eat.
Another great thing a person can do for the environment is compost!
- Composting is a great way to recycle organic matter that a person would otherwise be throwing away in the trash. At the Albright Eco House, composting is the act of breaking down browns like cardboard or paper and breaking down greens like vegetables, eggshells, and fruit. Both batches are then thrown together into one batch and they will eventually make a soil rich in nutrients found in fertilizers.
- You may be thinking, but I don’t have a garden, and neither do any of my friends. Which is okay, you do not need a garden to compost. There are many things within a community that people can be unaware of.
- This hyperlink will take you to all the composting places (located in U.S.A) close to you that sell compost. https://compostingcouncil.org/compostmap/My reason for giving this is because although certain individuals may not be able to compost, you can still set aside things to be composted. Many of these places a person can call and see if they will take donations, or they can find a local college/schooling system that might be composting. Before I moved into the Albright College Eco house I would always set aside potato peelings from the holidays, or leftover vegetables to set aside and give to house members.
Another thing a person can do to help the environment around them is thrift shopping! I get it, there will be nothing like the newest fashion, but usually you can find many things you are looking for used. If you do not like to shop thrifty, there are also many brands that are substantially better for the environment.
- this hyperlink in an article that goes into detail the reasoning behind why buying new clothing is not always good for the environment. It could be wasteful with water consumption, and cause water pollution.
- Being thrifty is good on your bank account, and often on style. I know many fashion majors here who will head to plato’s closet or goodwill and find many unique clothing choices for their style. You never know what type of clothing is waiting on the rack if you do not go out.
Apart from cleaning your diet, composting and thrift shopping, there are many ways an average person can make their life more sustainable. A huge flaw that someone can work on is their use of plastics and if these plastics are recycled.
- Straws are very wasteful and take a prolonged period to break down, it is best to say no to a straw and bring reusable ones.
- Reusable water bottles (glass, plastic, etc) are becoming more popular. It is very easy to buy water bottles with filters in them, or easily fill up at a water fountain.
- Instead of using plastic bags at stores, a person can bring reusable bags, and some stores may offer a discount for a person who does this. The reason it is so important is because plastic bags are very light and can blow away easily, polluting many places.
- When having a family picnic, usually people buy cheap and easy plastic sheets to cover the picnic tables, this is not sustainable at all. These large plastic sheets can easily find themselves polluting many different habitats, most importantly, oceans.
There are many other practices a person could do to improve the condition of the environment around them
- walk to places close by
- pick up trash when they see it
- focus on short showers
- ride bike to work certain days of the week
- use air conditioning less and open more windows
- most importantly, make other people aware and influence them to make good decisions
I am hoping this article can either open eyes of people who were unaware, change actions, an educate. Like I said before when you start doing good things, you start feeling good.
Until next time,