Beyond energy efficiency
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability refers to the reliability of a system over time. The determining question to ask is: Can this practice be maintained indefinitely without causing harm or degradation as a long-term consequence? We must ask these questions of ourselves in many facets of life, especially in industrialized nations. As a society, we have access to almost anything we can think of, and it’s up to us to self-regulate. We have the economic, legislative and resource power to affect the world on a mass scale. To quote Stan Lee, “With great power comes great responsibility.” To maintain our integrity, our health and our planet, we must consider the consequences of our actions, and make choices accordingly.
Lifestyle Tips for Sustainable Living
Less is more! When possible, just use less. A simple example is not double bagging every grocery item. Another way to look at this is efficiency. By increasing the efficiency of your vehicle and home, you are saving energy and resources. So, get that drafty window sealed up!
In a throw away society, this can be a tough one. We are so accustomed to buying one-use products, which are harmful because they take a long time to break down. Instead, buy products you can re-use like a metal water bottle, a reusable bag, or a retractable straw.
Purchase products that are recyclable and/or made from recycled materials. We can save billions of trees from being cut own by re-processing what we already have. Some materials are easier to recycle, and items like glass are ideal. Glass is natural and recycled by nature!
How often do you read the label on your products to see what is in them, or if they have been tested on animals? All the terms can be intimidating, which is why research is so important. Every product has a journey before it reaches you. Be mindul of what you are buying.
Supply V. Demand
Demand dictates supply. Put simply, the consumers have the power to determine what goods and services are made and sold. If no one is buying the products that are toxic, they will discontinue to be manufactured. Where you spend your money is your vote for what you support.
When in Doubt, go the Natural Route
Products that are organic, biodegradeable, and non-GMO are better for the environment and our bodies. Yes, it might cost a couple dollars extra, but thats a small price to pay. Also, these costs are likely to drop over time, as the market improves.
Creating a sense of autonomy for yourself liberates you to make choices that are ahead of the “curve”. You can do this by starting a garden, using solar products, and utilizing nature. When you provide for your needs, you are no longer reliant on a wasteful system.
Start a garden with little to no cost, by using seeds and growable sprouts from fruits and veggies you already have around the house. Poke holes in the bottom of an old bucket for planting. Use soil from a home-made compost system. Add sunlight, and vaula!
Invest in Renewables
Don’t be intimidated by solar panels and other renewable alternatives. The initial cost can be very low, as payment plans are used to take estimated savings into account. Once they are paid off, any savings you make is money in your pocket. Plus you’ll always have energy!
Support local produce. Not only are you helping small businesses, but you are shortening the distnace food travels. This food is more likely to be fresh, organic, and nutritious. Find a farmer’s market near you, and you will know exactly where your food is coming from with what process.
Resources for Sustainable Living
Below, we have provided a list of useful resources to help improve your ecological impact. These companies have designed products with humanity in mind, so please take a look! Pick an item you like and support a good cause today. Beyond Energy Efficiency is not affiliated with these companies in any way. These are companies we want to support because they align with our values and sustainable living.
The SubPod – subpod.com
Take the guess work our of composting. This company has created a composting system that combines compost technology with soil biology and worms. Close the nutrient loop with your food leftovers and get back a great soil addition for your garden. Plus, you’ll get an informational packet to guide you every step.
Coco and Seed – cocoandseed.com
An independently owned company created for the purpose of connecting folks in small spaces to their own food production. A variety of different sprout options for at a small scale provide a well-rounded and highly nutrient dense addition to your diet. Plus, there is the added benefit of feeling empowered in your food sovereignty and connection to what you eat.
Grove Collaborative – grove.co
This is a pretty incredible database of high quality products that can be sent as a monthly delivery right to your door. The packaging is all recyclable and the products cover all kind of ground from kitchen to self care to bathroom to men’s care. Our favorite products are Seedling Toilet paper, made with quick regenerating bamboo instead of trees, and the Woolballs Dryer set which helps decrease dryer time, saving you energy and time.
Earth Breeze – earth breeze.com
The original and much replicated, lightweight and space efficient laundry detergent alternative. Instead of heavy, bulky, watered down detergent, this company has created a low-chemical condensed laundry strip. It very effective for most laundry, and ships in space saving, recyclable packaging.
Nearby Naturals – nearbynaturalsfl.com
If you love mushrooms, this company is a great resource! Another provider of home-grown food, you can explore cultivating different fungi within your own home. From medicinal to the culinary their packages offer a whole system to supplement your diet and your wellness.
Pela Case – pelacase.com
This company makes entirely compostable phone cases. They are made with hemp and bio plastics. Pela Case will even take back old cases to compost in their own facilities. That way there is no hassle of finding industrial composting facilities in your area. Even the packaging and shipping materials are minimalist and recyclable!
Lucy Light – mpowerd.com
If you’re a traveler, this is one of those off-grid must haves. The Lucy light is a lightweight, compact solar powered light. There’s even an energy port to charge your phone. Mind you it’s a small solar panel so it takes longer for energy sucking gadgets like phones, but it will help you out in an emergency and the energy efficient LEDs pack a powerful illuminatory punch.
Thinx – thinx.com
This is a truly revolutionary idea in women’s care. This multi-layered underwear is for female bodies who experience their monthly cycle. It can be rinsed and tossed in the wash after use. In the world of menstruation, the market is flooded with single use products, often containing plastics and toxic chemicals. This is a welcome change.
Suggested Reading for Sustainable Living
The oldest known guide for all things seasonal. The Farmers Almanac is an annual publication that gives insight gardening. Topics inculde the best growing times, the role of astronomy, tidal charts and much more. It’s a great resource for aspiring gardeners.
Self-Sufficient Backyard by Ron and Johanna Melchiore
An in-depth guide to transform an acre of land into a food forest. This couple decided after years of living a conventional lifestyle that they needed a change. They got a piece of land and learned how to tend it over the years, and now lead a thriving, fully self-sustaining life.
Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher
In ‘Small is Beauitful’ the author explores the conservation of resources. By pointing out the consequences of mega systems like large cities, he reveals a new paradigm in which smaller communities can make us stronger. In this way, we can build unique systems that pertain to the individuals needs, rather than using a “one-size-fits-all” approach. It truly matches the theme for sustainable living.