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Feb 13 2011

Choosing To Live Green

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Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resource and their own resources, usually by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet.

Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in manners that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity’s symbiotic relationship with the Earth’s natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development.

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Sustainable living – the application of sustainability to lifestyle choice and decisions – is expressed as meeting present ecological, societal, and economical needs without compromising these factors for future generations.

Sustainable design and sustainable development are critical factors to sustainable living. Sustainable design encompasses the development of appropriate technology, which is a staple of sustainable living practices. Sustainable development in turn is the use of these technologies in infrastructure. Sustainable architecture and agriculture are the most common examples of this practice.

Sustainable homes are built using sustainable methods, materials, and facilitate green practices, enabling a sustainable lifestyle. Their construction and maintenance have neutral impacts on the Earth. Oftentimes, if necessary, they are close in proximity to essential services such as grocery stores, schools, daycares, work, or public transit making it possible to commit to sustainable transportation choices. Sometimes, they are off-the-grid homes that do not require any public energy, water, or sewer service.

A more sustainable means of acquiring food is to purchase locally and seasonally. Buying food from local farmers reduces carbon offsets, caused by long-distance food transport, and stimulates the local economy. Local, small-scale farming operations also typically utilize more sustainable methods of agriculture than conventional industrial farming systems such as decreased tillage, nutrient cycling, fostered biodiversity and reduced chemical pesticide and fertilizer applications.

Adapting a more regional, seasonally-based diet is more sustainable as it entails purchasing less energy and resource demanding produce that naturally grow within a local area and require no long-distance transport. These vegetables and fruits are also grown and harvested within their suitable growing season. Thus, seasonal food farming does not require energy intensive greenhouse production, extensive irrigation, plastic packaging and long-distance transport from importing non-regional foods, and other environmental stressors. Local, seasonal produce is typically fresher, unprocessed and argued to be more nutritious. Local produce also contains less to no chemical residues from applications required for long-distance shipping and handling.  Farmers’ markets, public events where local small-scale farmers gather and sell their produce, are a good source for obtaining local food and knowledge about local farming productions.

As well as promoting localization of food, farmers markets are a central gathering place for community interaction.

In addition to local, small-scale farms, there has been a recent emergence in urban agriculture expanding from community gardens to private home gardens. With this trend, both farmers and ordinary people are becoming involved in food production. A network of urban farming systems helps to further ensure regional food security and encourages self-sufficiency and cooperative interdependence within communities. With every bite of food raised from urban gardens, negative environmental impacts are reduced in numerous ways.

Priorities for Green Living

  • 1. Minimize Energy Consumption
  • 2. Reduce the Household Waste Stream
  • 3. Conserve Water
  • 4. Eat Less Meat
  • 5. Reduce Use Of Toxic Chemicals
  • 6. Decide Which Companies To Patronize
  • 7. Grow your own Vegetables

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  • Southern Suburbs, Cape Town