We have to start at home if we want to make changes in the world.
We have to teach our children to be sustainable and hope and pray it spreads to others.
We can make a small impact in our own lifestyles.
My kids and I like to clean up the wood and creek behind our house. Lots of trash gets swept away during storms and we don’t want it to impact the lovely wildlife we so enjoy seeing there.
We clear away plastic from our neighborhood pond every so often. We don’t want the frogs, turtles, and fish to get sick or hurt.
We recycle as a family. We pay extra for the recycling bin that comes every other week on trash day.
We try to remember to bring our own reusable bags when we’re shopping.
We try to reduce our plastic use. It’s really hard and is a conscious decision that our society makes really difficult.
We like to read nature books – like Rachel Carson, Barbara Kingsolver, Wendell Berry.
We love being outside, reading poetry. Some favorites are by Mary Oliver, Seamus Heaney, Christina Rossetti, Robert Frost, and Jane Yolen.
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.
How to be sustainable at home:
- Reduce. Stop receiving junk mail. Don’t buy what you don’t need. Purge and minimize what you do have. Be pickier and choosier about your purchases. Do you really need it?
- Reuse. We throw away so much that we could reuse in some way. Donate, sell, or upcycle. Start a share co-op/library for items you don’t use often. Plan a clothing swap with your neighborhood or town. Get crafty with hand-me-downs.
- Recycle. If your community doesn’t do a recycling program, ask about starting one. Sort and carry your own items to the nearest center. In some places, you can even get paid for returning bottles or cans! Some great tips for thinking beyond traditional recycling.
- Garden. Gardening is a wholesome family activity and teaches kids where our food comes from. It’s so satisfying to eat beans and salad from your own soil that you made yourself! If you don’t have room, you can use containers or find a community garden space.
- Conserve energy and resources. Get your windows, appliances, HVAC, gas lines updated or replaced for safety and energy efficiency. Use electric lawn equipment instead of gasoline powered. Save water with a dehumidifier and use that to water plants. Turn off lights when not in use. Replace bulbs or fixtures with high efficiency lights. Run dishwasher and wash laundry at night. Hang laundry to dry. Get a programmable thermostat and set it lower. Open windows instead of using air conditioner when it’s mild out.
- Less packaging. Buy items with less packaging that you don’t have to throw away or recycle. Bring your own cloth bags when you shop. Don’t use the plastic baggies for produce. You can use reusable lightweight mesh baggies instead. Use glass or stainless water bottles and beverage cups instead of throwaway styrofoam.
- Non-toxic cleaners. Harsh cleansers and soaps go down the drain and often pollute public waters. They’re also not healthy for us to breathe in the fumes or have the residue on our skin. Make your own cleaners with vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. We often make our own laundry soap.
- Combine errands. Reduce emissions by having one day or two each week to go out and do shopping, extracurricular activities, and errands.
- Walk or ride bicycles (or use public transportation). Most towns have bike lanes. Some towns offer deals once a month to cyclists and pedestrians to encourage this lifestyle. Get exercise and fresh air while running errands or shopping.
- Eat and shop local. Support local business and sustainable practices in your community. Eating slow, local, in-season foods is healthier and better for everyone – the farmer, producers, shipping, air quality, ourselves. Shopping at local farmers markets is fun! Read more about sustainable, local, in-season eating in this book.
You might also like:
- 10 Gifts for Natural Living
- Homemade Play Dough
- Homemade Soap
- Face oil
- Bug Spray
- Hair Spray
- Hair Wax
Remember that every purchase has an environmental impact and is a political decision.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
1In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.