Living Lightly on the Earth in the City
| Daily Habits: |
* Eat lower on the food chain: less beef, more grains. Consider a vegetarian diet. Try working towards it by starting with one or two
meatless days a week. Eat seasonal fruit and vegetables from your bioregion.
* Walk or bike when possible. Use mass transit for long distances.
* Think before you throw away. Lots of things, like plastic bags, glass jars, paper, aluminum foil and envelopes can be used more
* Always carry a plastic bag with you for picking up litter.
* Recycle newspapers, office paper, plastics, bottles, kitchen metals, motor oil, and anything else recyclable in your area.
* Donate clothing and other items no longer needed to thrift shops or clothing bins.
* Carry your own "precycling kit" - cloth napkins/hand towel, cup, eating utensils, and string or canvas bag to avoid using
throwaway products provided by merchants.
* Limit the use of chemical household and garden pesticides (Use fly swatters and biological pest controls). Use natural cleansers,
such as vinegar and water, rather than synthetic chemicals.
* Take all hazardous wastes (such as acid drain cleaners, old flashlight batteries, oil-based paint, toxic pesticides and herbicides, and
other petroleum products) to a disposal center.
* Compost yard and kitchen wastes if you have the space to do so.
* Avoid excessive packaging. Check recycling codes on plastic containers; if they're not recyclable in your area, try to find
* Avoid fast food, except salad bars. Fast foods are inefficient in terms of energy usage and generally bad for your health because
of high fat, salt and sugar. Avoid highly processed or packaged foods.
* Join a food co-op. Support groups that encourage local agriculture and organic foods. Call a local environmental group to find food
food co-ops, CSAs or farmers' markets.
* Avoid cosmetics and other products which involve animal testing. (Call the manufacturers 800 number to find out).
* Think before you buy. Buy for the long term. Buy in bulk, buy local, buy direct.
* Whenever possible, buy products made from recycled materials such as paper.
* Buy energy-efficient refrigerators/air conditioners and other appliances.
*Buy biodegradable products and reusable containers.
* Buy used and reconditioned products. Better yet, don't buy at all; rent, borrow, share, barter.
* Install energy-efficient lighting such as compact fluorescents. Turn off lights when not in use.
* Install water-saving shower heads and faucet aerators.
* Use stairs rather than the elevator; if there are too many flights, take the elevator part way and walk the rest.
* Keep your appliances in good working condition. Vacuum dust from the condenser coils of your refrigerator which inhibits heat-
* If your toilets have individual tanks and the flush is too vigorous, consider reducing the volume of water in the tank by adjusting
the floater or displacing water with plastic containers filled with water. When renovating, install the new ultra-low flow toilets.
* Fix leaks promptly. Use water conservatively.
* Learn where your water comes from; learn how vital your watershed is to the life of the city, the Earth and the spirit.
* In cold weather, plug air leaks around windows and doors. Check door seals. If your apartment is overheated, rather than open
the windows, ask the building superintendent to adjust the heat. If the thermostat is under your control, turn it down at night
or when you leave the apartment. Using sweaters indoors also saves energy.
* In summer, block sunlight and use fans instead of air conditioners whenever possible.
* Use newspapers for gift wrapping.
* Support candidates who are ecologically sensitive with votes and with money and time for their campaigns.
* Join and support organizations that work for the earth and the environment. Become active in at least one organization.
* Observe closely the wildlife in your neighborhood - birds, butterlfies, squirrels, bees. Work to create more green space, including
neighborhood gardens in vacant lots.
* Plant a tree, a bush, a wildflower. Or adopt a tree or bit of open space to observe and take care of.
* Help educate your neighbors, especially your children. Share with others at work the values and importance of environmental
* Work on the establishment and enforcement of antipollution laws and laws that reward conservation, e.g. insulation, solar power,
etc. Promote gasoline taxes to generate revenues for transportation alternatives, conservation incentives, and/or environmental
* Consider a livelihood that contributes directly to sustainable development.
* Report noise, air pollution, and street hydrant water leaks to your local department of environmental protection.
* Begin telling success stories, helping others discover their eco-passions, and encouraging even the smallest actions.
* Don't watch TV shows and films that promote values that threaten our common future.
* Attend a spiritual or cultural celebration that enhances global sharing and understanding.
* Seek ways to invest in environmentally responsible companies, as through socially responsible mutual funds.
* Remember that you're not alone- there are others out there who share your frustrations, your angers, your guilt, your desire to
lead a more sustainable, spirit-led life. Seek them out.