Sustainable Living Tips

03/18/2010 05:12 am 05:12:02 | Updated May 25, 2011

From Associated Content, by Eric Shutt:

Sustainable living is pretty easy and involves a lot of doing nothing. But it's a different kind of nothing than we're used to.

When it comes to sustainable living, we need simple ways to make the sustainable choice, regardless of time, place or political debate. These choices need to be ones that we can make over and over again, without fear of making the wrong decision. Here are a few tips to start us off right.

Save More

Save more money. Save more energy. Save more of everything you use. Saving more means using less. To think about consumption in terms of savings is to rethink what we don't need to do -- how much less we need -- to be sustainable.

We need to consume less. So even if we as a society can make more, we need to choose to use less. So stop buying things you don't need. Buying less equals saving money -- a win-win for sustainability.

For example, increasing the efficiency of how you use energy at home can dramatically lower your energy bills.

At any time, in any place, saving more makes for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Think Locally

Transportation is the top contribution to energy consumption in the United States. It's simply more sustainable to stay closer to home. Plus, it's easier.

A joint report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Public Transportation Partnership for Tomorrow claims that public transportation uses 50 percent less fuel than personal vehicles, without even considering the debate on SUVs. "Every dollar communities invest in public transportation generates approximately $6 in economic returns," according to APTA.

It's also cheaper, cleaner and generates more hometown revenue. Local is more sustainable.

Eat Less Meat

Producing meat requires an incredible amount of land and food. That's especially true considering the amount of land used to grow meat that could be used to grow even more food. Don't worry about eating local, don't worry about being vegetarian, simply eat less meat.

"It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh. It's shockingly inefficient to feed plant foods to farmed animals and consume their flesh rather than eating the plant foods ourselves," points out.

Demand for meat is also increasing at an unsustainable rate. According to The New York Times, the world's total meat came to 71 million tons in 1961. By 2007, that number was estimated to be 284 million tons.

Less meat is more sustainable.

Now What?

Not everyone needs to act on all of the problems above. And we don't need to do something all at once. Simply taking an honest look at how we're living now, versus what sustainable living might look like, can be enough to start us on the road to making a difference in our own lives, and in the lives of those around us.

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