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What is Sustainable Living?

Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability. Sometimes that can mean not choosing to consume a product that is made using practices that don’t promote sustainability; and sometimes it means changing how you do things so that you start becoming more of an active part of the cycle of life.

We all know that climate change, global warming, depletion of ozone layer and resource depletion are real and their impact on human and animal lives can be devastating. It is an opportunity for people to adopt actions for sustainable living that can help them to reduce their carbon footprint or environmental impact by altering their lifestyle. Simple measures like using public transportation more often, reducing energy consumption, becoming more eco-friendly can go a long way in reducing your environmental impact and making this planet a clean and safe place.

16 Easy Ways to Practice Sustainable Living

1. Become a member of a community garden: It isn’t just about growing your own food, being a member of a community garden helps to promote sustainable living in your area. Gardens create green spaces and the garden waste can be mulched and returned to support healthy soil. Green spaces aren’t just important for your state of mind; in urban areas they can play an important role in offsetting carbon emissions.

2. Practice minimalism: Minimalism doesn’t mean living without anything, it means that you are making sure that everything you own and use is put to its maximum purpose. This means waste materials as well. With a minimalist lifestyle, you will recycle more, and be more mindful of the items you support being produced so that sustainability is emphasized.

3. Change the lights in your house: By changing the lighting in your home from traditional light bulbs to CFL, using skylights and more natural light you will reduce your demand on energy resources significantly. Using longer lasting, energy efficient light sources also reduces the amount of waste going into landfills significantly.

4. Become more efficient with your errands: You don’t have to buy a hybrid to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. By choosing to become more efficient with your errands you can create a system of sustainable living that is based in reducing the amount of natural resources you consume.

5. Start using natural cleaners: Take an hour or so to research some home-made options for natural cleaners. Vinegar and water can clean most surfaces, and the saponin from quinoa is a natural laundry detergent. By using natural cleaners you are reducing the amount of plastic packaging being made, and the amount of chemicals that are being introduced to the water system.

6. Walk, bike or car pool to work: The less personal use of your car you do, the more you and the environment will benefit. Sustainable living not only promotes sustainability by reducing pollution and the consumption of natural resource; walking or biking to work will also improve your health and reduce the strain on public health resources.

Even car-pooling assists sustainability as it can provide an increased social outlet that can improve the quality of life. Science has found that there is a direct connection between your quality of life and the sustainability of life that you will choose to lead.

7. Try to get on a more natural sleep schedule: Getting on a natural sleep schedule means becoming more attuned to the natural light in the day. Not only is this better for your health, it will begin to lessen the amount of power that you use while you are up.

8. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Reduce your need to buy new products. If there is less waste, then there is less to recycle or reuse. Learning to reuse items, or repurpose them for different use then what they are intended for is essential in waste hierarchy. Recycle old glass bottles or aluminium cans. Keep a recycle bin at your home and try making more trips to recycling station than to the landfill.

09. Unplug device when not in use: Most of the electronic devices keep on drawing electricity even when they’re off. To reduce energy usage, simply pull the plug when not in use. It will help you to save energy and reduce your monthly electricity bill.

10. Use daylight as much as possible: Sunlight is free and doesn’t cost anything. Using sunlight during the day helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity and your bulbs and tube lights are going to last longer.

11. Stop unwanted mail: Save natural resources by opting out from billions of unwanted mailings and simplify your life. Sites like www.catalogchoice.org offers free service to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more. It helps you to reduce clutter, protect privacy and save environment.

12. Practice keeping a “zero energy balance” budget: A zero energy balance budget means that what you take in, you also return back. This is really the core of all sustainable living. If you practice keeping a budget that has a zero energy balance, you will be surprised how your habits of consuming will change and reduce your imprint on the world.

13. Change your washing habits: This one is important to attain sustainable living. We wash everything too much. Not only has science discovered that our over emphasis on being clean has reduced our natural immune resistance to diseases (which require exposure to bacteria to develop), but each person wastes tremendous amounts of water when they bathe, wash dishes or do laundry. Practice taking short and times showers, washing dishes in a sink of water and then rinsing them and cutting down on the amount of laundry that you do.

14. Choose Renewable energy: Choosing renewable energy over fossil fuels is a great way to stop climate change and doing your part in making things happen. Install solar panels for solar water heating. Explore options of getting tax credit from the government. Speak to your utility is there is any way to add clean power to the grid so as to offset your carbon footprint.

15. Buy products with less packaging: Whenever you go out for shopping, always buy products with less packaging. The excess packaging on the stuff goes in your dustbin and from there it goes to landfills in most cases. It not only further contaminate the environment but also pose serious health effects to humans and animals.

16. Ditch the plastic: Plastic never goes away. It takes millions of years for plastic to decompose. Plastic can be found swirling in the ocean’s surfaces. It badly affects marine life. Every year large number of mammals, seals, sea birds are killed after ingesting plastic or getting tangled up in it. Its time for all of us to switch to reusable bags when we shop and ditch one-time use plastic water bottles.

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Plum season is near :-)

        How to Plant Plum Seeds From a Plum You Just Ate

It is possible to grow a plum tree from the seed of a plum you just ate. However, unless you are eating the fruit from a wild plum or other true plum, the chances of the tree producing the same kind of fruit are slim. This is because most plums come from grafted trees. Save several plum seeds from the fruit after you’ve eaten them, because not all of the seeds are viable.

Step 1

Wash the pits under running water to remove the plum flesh.

Step 2

Dry the pits and place them in a glass yar, but leave yar open.

Step 3

Place yar in the refrigerator for at least 90 days.

Step 4

Remove the pits from the yar. Soak the seeds in a bowl of tepid water for four to five hours.

Step 5

Mix equal amounts of sand and peat moss together in a bucket.

Step 6

Place a coffee filter at the bottom of a 4-inch pot and then fill the pot with the planting mixture. Fill as many pots as you have seeds to plant.

Step 7

Plant the pits 2 inches below the surface and cover with the soil mixture. Push the pit to this depth with your finger or use a small spoon to dig a hole for the pit.

Step 8

Water the pots thoroughly until water comes out the bottom drainage holes.

Step 9

Place the pots in a sunny window.

Step 10

Water to keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy or the seeds can rot.

Step 11

Transplant the plum trees outdoors after all threat of frost has passed. If the weather is still cold, transplant the small plum trees into 6-inch pots, and continue to grow in a bright sunny window.

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10 Tips for a More Eco Friendly Kitchen

1. Shop for groceries using reusable bags

One way to reduce the number of plastic grocery bags in a landfill is to use reusable shopping totes. Look for bags made of cotton, hemp, or other natural cloth or mesh and wash them between visits to the grocery store.

2. Clean your kitchen with eco friendly products

Toss aside any harsh, chemical-laden cleaners and use eco friendly cleaning products instead. Chances are your pantry has baking soda, distilled white vinegar, lemon juice or castile (plant-based) soap. These environmentally-friendly alternatives can clean your kitchen, household appliances, and laundry just as good as conventional chemicals without the harmful side effects.

3. Prepare your food on cutting boards made of sustainable materials

Cutting boards and chopping blocks are key components to kitchens, so why not buy one that’s functional and eco friendly? A wooden cutting board is a beautiful edition to a kitchen and harvested from a sustainable source opposed to plastic cutting boards or mats. Some wood types, such as fast-growing bamboo, even naturally reduce the growth of harmful microbes.

4. Nix Teflon pans

Although Teflon pans are convenient to cook with due to their non-stick properties, they are infamously known for releasing toxic chemicals. They also damage easily so they must be thrown away and replaced often. As an alternative, use long lasting sustainable products such as pots and pans that are made of heavy duty stainless steel or cast iron. Baking enthusiasts should use glass, metal, silicon or ceramic casserole dishes and trays.

5. Use eco-friendly utensils and dinnerware

Set aside the plastic utensils and Styrofoam plates, bowls and cups. Stock your cabinets with recycled glass cups and ceramic or metal plates and bowls. Add charm to your kitchen with wooden cooking and serving utensils. They work just as well as their plastic counterparts but look much nicer!

6. Opt for plastic free food storage in your fridge and freezer

It may be convenient to store dry or raw food in plastic containers but consider making the switch to eco friendly food storage containers instead. Look for items made of silicon, glass or metal. For containers that don’t have fitted tops, a food cover can seal the food properly and prevent exposure to air. Reusable beeswax wraps are an excellent alternative to plastic wrap because they fit all sorts of sizes and shapes with the added benefit that they are sustainable, and can be washed and reused.

7. Package your lunch in reusable sandwich wraps

Rather than packing lunch in a single-use sandwich bag, use natural beeswax wraps. These plastic wrap alternatives can be folded into packets and baggies of various sizes to easily fit sandwiches, crisps, biscuits or fruit to eat later.

8. Keep your home smelling fresh with natural products

Chemical air fresheners can expose you and your family to toxins and allergens. To make your home smell nice without the negative side effects, our favourites tips include simmering spices or aromatic plant oils on the stove, dropping a slice of lemon down the food waste disposer, or using houseplants to purify indoor air.

9. Deodorise and disinfect with vinegar or baking soda

Baking soda absorbs and neutralises smells and works well to deodorise kitchen curtains and rugs. Vinegar kills bacteria, mould and mildew and can be used to clean sinks, kitchen appliances, and cooking surfaces.

10. Create your own compost pile from biodegradable kitchen scraps

One you’ve incorporated reusable, sustainable items in your kitchen’s repertoire, you’ll be throwing away less rubbish. You can reduce this amount further by tossing your organic kitchen scraps into a compost bin that will later turn into nutrient rich soil.

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100 easy ways to be eco freindly

1. Reduce Food Waste

  1. Write down what is inside of your fridge before you go grocery shopping! Plan meals around the food that needs to be eaten first. 
  2. Buy less than you think that you need. We tend to over buy on food so remove on meal from your meal plan because you’ll most likely have an unexpected dinner out or leftovers! 
  3. Chop and store the produce when you get home from the store so creating meals is easy during the week. 
  4. Store your food properly so it doesn’t go bad! Head to this post for a list on how to store your produce plastic-free. 
  5. Ignore the dates. Best-by, sell-by, and use-by are NOT expiration dates. There’s no scientific way to predict the exact day something is going to expire so use your best judgement with smell and taste. If it tastes fine – it’s probably fine to eat. 
  6. Eat your ends and stems. Are you still throwing the tops of the carrots and beets out? STOP IT. They are delicious!! Beet tops make a great chard substitute and carrot tops make a delicious pesto. Check out this TV show for TONS of tips on how to use your scraps. 
  7. Save the peels of your onions, carrots, garlic, and celery ends to make a delicious vegetable stock that you can use to infuse more flavor into rice, quinoa, etc. 
  8. Use your freezer to freeze fruits and veggies you might not have time to get to before they turn. 
  9. Use slightly mushy fruits in smoothies or breakfast breads. 
  10. If you do have any leftover food, make sure you compost it! Get our guide for composting. 

2. Re-Think Transportation:

  1. Drive less. Like WAY less. 
  2. Opt for riding your bike. 
  3. Grab public transportation. 
  4. Create a 30 minute rule. If it’s under a 30 minute walk, walk or ride your bike. 
  5. Combine your trips so you’re not ping-ponging back and forth. 
  6. Take one less intercontinental or international flight this year and opt to vacation somewhere closer to home. 
  7. Pack lighter when you travel. 
  8. Carpool! Try to get a carpool sheet going at work so people can ride together to save on gas and cut down on emissions. 
  9. Pitch working from home for a day or two to reduce emissions… and work in your pajamas. ; ) 
  10. Switch to an electric vehicle and charge it with solar. 

3. Make your Home More Efficient:

  1. Opt for LED light bulbs.
  2. Install low flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets.
  3. Look into gray water systems or catching rain fall. 
  4. Install solar panels and a solar battery. Don’t own your home? Look into switching where your energy comes from with your electricity service provider or joining a community solar farm.
  5. Seal all of your windows and/or replace them with more efficient double paned windows. 
  6. Add insulation to your home. 
  7. Unplug your devices to prevent phantom electricity for being consumed. 
  8. Keep a bucket in your shower to catch the water while it’s heating up and use it to water plants or flush the toilet. 
  9. Wash your clothes in cold water. 
  10. Hang your clothes to dry on the line instead of using the dryer. 

4. Avoid Single-Use Plastic: 

  1. Say no to freebies. 
  2. Invest in a water filter for your home to avoid buying bottled water. 
  3. Buy several reusable water bottles and keep them full of filtered water so you can grab and go and be out the door. 
  4. Bring your own bags to all stores like pet store, hardware store, grocery store, etc. 
  5. Bring your own cloth produce bags to the grocery store or the farmers market. 
  6. Drink your coffee in the cafe in a real cup. 
  7. Bring a thermos to the cafe to get it to-go. 
  8. Bring your own container to take home leftovers from the restaurant. 
  9. Say no to straws. 
  10. Opt for plastic-free produce and food. 

5. Make Simple Swaps in the Bathroom: 

  1. Use a safety razor or electric razor instead of a disposable plastic razor. 
  2. Opt for a bar of soap instead of body wash. 
  3. Try a shampoo bar or use a refillable service like Plaine Products.
  4. Create a core of makeup that you use everyday, and one for special occasions and don’t buy ANYMORE than that. 
  5. Implement a ‘one in, one out’ rule where you only buy one product once you finish a product.   
  6. Use the correct amount of product. Often we use way too much product. Here’s a handy guide for how much you really need. 
  7. Cut your tubes open to get the last bit of product and don’t let any of it go to waste. 
  8. Put your toner in a spray bottle and spray it on your face instead of using cotton rounds that absorb a lot of the product. 
  9. Switch to reusable cotton rounds instead of disposables.
  10. Opt for a bamboo toothbrush. My favorite is Brush with Bamboo
  11. Opt for products in glass instead of plastic. 
  12. Look for beauty products with clean ingredients that are better for both your health and the health of the planet. 
  13. Install a bidet attachment
  14. Go for recycled or tree-free toilet paper. 
  15. Switch to reusable menstrual products like period panties, menstrual cups, and cloth pads.

6. Make Simple Swaps in the Kitchen: 

  1. Don’t buy individual servings of food. Buy larger servings and portion them out at home. 
  2. Use reusable dishcloths instead of paper towels. For more tips on ditching paper towelsread this blog post. 
  3. Avoid plastic wrap by switching to beeswax wraps. 
  4. Quit aluminum foil by switching to reusable silicone mats. 
  5. Store your food in glass containers like snapware or mason jars. 
  6. Swap plastic baggies for reusable silicone baggies. 
  7. Pack your lunch in a lunch box instead of a brown paper bag. 
  8. Use real plates and flatware. 
  9. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. 
  10. Clean-up with a simple homemade cleaner of 1 part vinegar / 1 part water. 
  11. Opt for looseleaf tea (tea bags are made with plastic!) 
  12. Ditch the Kuerig and opt for a trash free method like pour over, french press, etc. 
  13. Keep a stocked pantry so you can make all of your favorite meals quickly without creating trash. 
  14. Spend a few minutes prepping a few foods to help get zero waste dinners on the table fast. 
  15. Swap sponges for compostable bamboo dish scrubs

7. Live Local:

  1. Head to your local farmers market. 
  2. Start a small garden, even an herb garden in your windowsill. 
  3. Try to regrow your food from scraps like green onions or celery. 
  4. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) and receive local, farm fresh goodies straight to your door step.
  5. Support your local small businesses like local soap makers etc. 
  6. Find your local repair shops like tailors, cobblers, tinkerers, and wood workers to get all of your things repaired. 
  7. Eat with the seasons and enjoy the bounty of your region. Maybe even try your hand at preserving foods. 
  8. Shop your local thrift store or garage sales when you’re looking for new homewares, small appliances, even trendy clothing. 
  9. Join a local community garden where you can compost and even have a hand in growing your own food. 
  10. Get involved in your community by screening a documentary, hosting a clean-up, or giving a talk to help others live a more eco-friendly life. 

8. Re-Think Your Plate:

  1. Go heavy on the plants.
  2. Participate in meatless-Mondays
  3. Participate in wheatless-Wednesdays 
  4. Commit to eating plant-based two days a week or more if you can! 
  5. Opt for smaller plates of food and go back for seconds if you’re still hungry. 
  6. Make sure you actually eat your leftovers! 
  7. Make local produce the star of the show and lightly garnish with animal products. 
  8. Focus on crops that aren’t as water intensive like lima beans, corn, peanuts, quinoa, watermelon, radishes, spinach, etc. 
  9. Re-brew your tea leaves 
  10. Opt for local, in-season fruits and veggies as snacks instead of pre-packaged ones. 

9. Shop Consciously: 

  1. Support companies that have ethical practices. 
  2. Look for companies that offer warranties on their products. 
  3. Look for companies that are environmentally focused. 
  4. Purchase products that give back to environmental organizations like through 1% for the planet. 
  5. Pick products that have staying power and will last with your for years. 
  6. Ask yourself if this is something you could proudly pass onto your grandchildren. 
  7. Wait 30 days before making a purchase. 
  8. Buy less! 
  9. Look for recycled content and corporate responsibility programs where they will take their products back at the end of their life. 
  10. Look for items that can be repaired and mended. 

Well folks, that was 100 tips! I hope that you picked up a few new tricks that you can implement in your daily life. 

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10 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth

1.­ Pay attention to how you use water. The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, you’re doing something good. Got a leaky toilet? You might be wasting 200 gallons (757 liters) of water a day [source: EPA]. Try drinking tap water instead of bottled water, so you aren’t wasting all that packaging as well. Wash your clothes in cold water when you can.

2. Leave your car at home. If you can stay off the road just two days a week, you’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,590 pounds (721 kilograms) per year [source: EPA]. Combine your errands — hit the post office, grocery store and shoe repair place in one trip. It will save you gas and time.

3. Walk or ride your bike to work, school and anywhere you can. You can reduce greenhouse gases while burning some calories and improving your health. If you can’t walk or bike, use mass transit or carpool. Every car not on the road makes a difference.

4. Recycle.You can help reduce pollution just by putting that soda can in a different bin. If you’re trying to choose between two products, pick the one with the least packaging. If an office building of 7,000 workers recycled all of its office paper waste for a year, it would be the equivalent of taking almost 400 cars off the road [source: EPA].

5. Compost. Think about how much trash you make in a year. Reducing the amount of solid waste you produce in a year means taking up less space in landfills, so your tax dollars can work somewhere else. Plus, compost makes a great natural fertilizer. Composting is easier than you think.

6. Change your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last 10 times longer than a standard bulband use at least two-thirds less energy. If you’re shopping for new appliances or even home electronics, look for ENERGY STAR products, which have met EPA and U.S. Department of Energy guidelines for energy efficiency. As of December 2013, ENERGY STAR had helped families and businesses to save an estimated $295 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 2.3 billion tons (2.1 billion metric tons) of greenhouse gas emissions from being released over the past two decades [source: ENERGY STAR]. (Learn more about proper disposal of CFLs.)

7. Make your home more energy efficient (and save money). Clean your air filters so your system doesn’t have to work overtime. Get a programmable thermostat so you aren’t wasting energy when you aren’t home. When you go to bed, reduce the thermostat setting — you won’t miss those extra degrees of heat or air conditioning while you’re asleep.

8. Maintain your car. Underinflated tires decrease fuel economy by up to 3 percent and lead to increased pollution and higher greenhouse gas emissions [source: EPA]. Underinflation also increases tire wear, so it will save you money in the long run if you’re good about checking your tire pressure.

9. Drive smarter. Slow down — driving 60 miles (96 kilometers) per hour instead of 70 mph on the highway will save you up 4 miles (6 kilometers) per gallon [source: Consumer Guide Automotive]. Accelerating and braking too hard can actually reduce your fuel economy, so take it easy on the brakes and gas pedal.

10.Turn off lights when you’re not in the room and unplug appliances when you’re not using them. It only takes a second to be environmentally conscious.