“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
Whether you just want to take small steps in your current lifestyle to live more lightly and sustainably or you are planning to radically change the way you live, you have to start somewhere. Chase here and in this post I will go over some baby steps anyone can and, in my humble opinion, should take. Keep in mind these are just a few examples and is far from an exhaustive list. Feel free to contribute more ideas in the comment section below.
Wonder how many of you were expecting me to lead off with that. Getting your personal finances in order is a critical element of overall sustainability. There is no economic theory out there that can argue that the US economy, which is currently carrying $60+ trillion in public and private debt (by the way, that is approaching $175,000 in debt for every man, woman and child), can continue on indefinitely. You can not sustain infinite growth on finite resources so, at some point, simple math is going to force us to reevaluate how we live and spend in Western culture. In 2008-2009 we got a sneak peek and our solution was to delay the inevitable with…………..more public and private debt.
I could write a book on this topic but the book I would write has already been written. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is that book. It was immensely helpful to Victoria and I and helped put us in a financial position to be able to make more significant lifestyle changes.
For most people it is not feasible to produce 100% of your food. That is a HUGE undertaking but even a simple herb and veggie garden is a step in the right direction. If you have a little bit of room like we do, a raised bed garden is a great option. If you are a limited on space something like a counter top AeroGarden or an AquaSprouts Garden might work for you.
You can also take steps towards reducing the impact of the food you consume. Rather than going to the national chain grocery store and buying commercial food that is often produce hundreds and even thousands of miles away, buy local. Do more of your grocery shopping at local farmers markets and look into a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Check out localharvest.org to find our what is available in your area. The food will be fresher, healthier and you will be supporting your local economy rather than stock market prices.
Spend $20,000 on a solar power system for your home. Just kidding! There are so many simple low-to-no cost things you can do to reduce your energy consumption and save money in the long run. A few examples are:
- Reduce the temperature you set your heater on by 2 degrees.
- Increase the temperature you set you AC on by 2 degrees.
- Add insulation to your home.
- Seal any cracks and gaps around doors and windows.
- Turn off the light switch when you leave a room like your momma taught you.
- Turn off and unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
- Install high-efficiency LED light bulbs.
- Install thermal curtains on your windows to keep heat in or out depending on the season.
- Install a tankless water heater.
- Carpool, ride your bike, or take public transportation.
- Keep your vehicle well maintained and running well.
Water usage is becoming a pretty serious issue in some places. Just like energy consumption, there are a not of low-to-no cost steps you can take.
- Use a rain water collection system to water your lawn and/or garden.
- Install high efficiency shower heads.
- Speaking of showers…..be a little quicker!
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
- Don’t run partial dish washer or washing machine loads. Fill it up!
And there is so much more you can do, these are just baby steps. If you have any other recommendations, drop a comment and let us know.