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10 Practical Steps for Sustainable Living


Raye gardens organically, harvests rainwater, strives to eat locally, and honors the gods from her home in the Pacific Northwest.


Why Be Sustainable?

Changing your lifestyle to be more sustainable offers opportunities to save money, build a stronger local community, increase the quality of your home and possessions, be more insulated against the collapse of larger systems, simplify, continue learning, be organic and contribute to a healthier style of living on the Earth.

The number one thing required is personal commitment. By making sustainable choices, all the rest flows from that. It doesn't take more money, but it will take continuous effort and mindfulness. The best way to truly achieve lasting change in your lifestyle is to take small steps and change specific areas that really mean a lot to you. Then once you are adapted to that change, you can pick a new situation to address or your first changes may naturally lead to others.

Here are my ten steps for having a more sustainable lifestyle. And yes, I'm working towards this myself.

Learn about sustainability

1. Learn the difference between "being green" and "being sustainable."

Being green frequently has nothing to do with being sustainable. Being green is more of a buzzword, a marketing concept and a way to turn a profit. Being sustainable means that whatever is being done has the least impact, the least waste and is a cycle or means that can be repeated indefinitely without cumulative damage or harm to living things.

Here are things which are considered green, but are in no way sustainable:

  • Hybrid cars - they use oil-based fuels, a resource that is very finite. They have parts that are costly in resources to make, and toxic to dispose of afterward. Owning a hybrid car is green, getting around by bicycle is sustainable.
  • Solar power - the sunlight part of solar power is sustainable, but the resources it takes to manufacture and dispose of solar panels and batteries is not. Switching to solar power is green, building a house that uses passive solar gain is sustainable.

2. Reduce or Eliminate Usage of Oil/Gasoline/Petroleum

This is the number one problem facing the entire world today. Oil, from which over 90% of the fuel and energy sources of modern civilization are based and powered, is an extremely finite resource. Scientists have already determined that we have passed "peak oil" meaning all resources of that type are now in decline. Almost everything plastic is based on oil. Almost all transportation is based on oil.

Learning to reduce and cease the usage of anything derived from oil is paramount to becoming sustainable. What supplies of oil the world has left are going to become critical in areas where there is no substitution for it. In the end, to truly become sustainable, one would have to eliminate all petroleum/fossil fuel usage from their life.

The Sea of Plastic

  • The Freecycle Network
    The Freecycle Network is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns.

3. Shifting from "want" to "need."

The whole point of advertising is to create a state of desire, to make someone want something that they actually don't require to conduct their life. First one has to learn how they have adopted this type of mindset. Then you have to stop thinking this way. Unlearning this type of behavior is part of the key to adopting a sustainable lifestyle.

This can involve not buying new products unless you truly and genuinely needed them. This can involve not owning multiples of things. This can involve not following retail trends or styles. Instead of paying for services like regular maintenance and repairs, learn to care for and repair the items you own yourself. It's interesting how you simplify when you really start to do-it-yourself.

One great rule for this is to look at every single item you own and ask yourself if you've used it or worn it in the last calendar year. If not, get rid of it. You'd be surprised by how much you really need and how much stuff you have in your life just because it got there and has been hanging around ever since.

This mindset also ties in closely with the next point listed below.


Reusable Bags and Containers

4. Eliminate Waste

In the late 1800s, the average American family generated a grocery bag's worth of trash per year. That refers to material that absolutely could not be reused again in any way. Presently, the average American individual generates nearly five pounds of trash per day! To truly reduce waste, you have to make changes across nearly every part of your life, looking for excess and either changing what you use or how you use something, or both.

Good areas to start reducing waste:

  • Packing - so much of what we buy and consume comes with excessive and wasteful packaging. Switch to buying in bulk, but also be sure to try to switch away from items that use unneeded and non-recyclable packing and wrapping. This applies to household products, food, clothing you buy and much more.
  • Gift-giving - Use recycled materials to do gift-wrapping, try using cloth wrapping that can be used again, or give gifts just marked with a cute bow or tag.

This type of thinking and action ties into the action below just as it is connected to the one above.

  • Fine Tool Journal
    Share the fascination of learning about hand tools - their history, their use, their beauty, their value.
  • Lehmans.com
    Your source for oil lamp parts, glass oil lamps, fireplace stoves, food preservation, gas refrigerators, food processing, aladdin oil lamps, apple peelers and blacksmith tools
  • Antique Farm Tools
    In pre-industrial societies, throughout the world, most people worked as agricultural labourers. Indeed many of the types of hand farm tools on this website might have been used by your own ancestors...

5. Buy for a lifetime AND take care of it.

Instead of using disposable things made for a one-time use, a sustainable thinker goes for quality, getting tools and goods which are made to last a lifetime or longer. Instead of just throwing things out when they aren't perfect, things get maintained and repaired so that they can be used again and again. Many items that used to be made from metal or wood are now crafted from plastic and won't last for decades. People are also not used to performing regular repair and maintenance on their own appliances or homes.

Ways that good used to be durable and became disposable include

  • Pens - Use a fountain pen and not a disposable one.
  • Lighters - Use a refillable butane lighter and not a plastic disposable one.
  • Razors - Straight razors last longer than a lifetime and get resharpened instead of thrown out.
  • Shoes - Good quality leather shoes get resoled when they become worn and last for many years, not just a year or two.


6. Location, location, location

As part of addressing issue #2 above, it's important to cultivate a local lifestyle. The more you can conduct your life and needs local to where you live, the better. It's going to become too costly to ship items and goods over long distances. Those apples from New Zealand that you get at Trader Joe's? Totally not sustainable.

Patronizing local businesses eliminates cost of transportation and effects of pollution. It also creates diversification of small businesses which feeds into the growth of smaller, localized economies.

Rain Barrels

7. Conserve Water

As much as the media is putting a lot of attention and focus on oil and petroleum, one of the biggest problems that the world will face soon is going to be water. Water is a natural resource and for thousands of years, it fell freely from the sky and flowed across the surface of the planet and anyone who needed it had access.

Industrial society changed all that. Companies claim to own the rights to water, forcing people to pay for something that used to be free. Carelessness for this precious resource has led to depletion of water in some areas, and terrible contamination in others. As the human population grows, having access to clean and plentiful supplies of water will change radically. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has estimated that by 2030, almost half of all people on Earth will live in areas of high water stress.

When you rinse your lettuce to make a salad, how can you reuse that water instead of just pouring it down the drain? When you start your shower, do you catch the water that comes out before it becomes hot and use that for anything? Every time you go to pour water down the drain, think about if it really could be used for something else instead.

8. Learn To Grow Food

If there is one thing that all humans used to be sustainable at and now are just about as far from it as you can get, it's producing food. Once upon a time, every family produced all of their own food and nowadays, you'd be surprised just how many people have no idea how food is produced or where it comes from other, and how many have never cared to wonder.

Large scale food production has increased pollution, supports food systems that are more at risk of breaking down, contributes to a devastating loss of biodiversity, encourages waste and excessive consumption of resources. Even if you have a small garden, it can provide tasty and healthy food. Talk to your neighbors: if everyone grows slightly different things, you can pass along the extra when the harvest comes or share foods in season.

9. Do It Without Electricity

If there's something where you can complete your task or get the job done without electricity, try and do it that way. Electricity is most often derived from a process that uses fossil fuels, or uses some other precious resource, and generally is non-renewable. For hundreds and hundreds of years, humans lived without electricity and now you'll find people who spend their weekends in RVs with satellite TV, microwave ovens, air-conditioning and generators saying they are roughing it. Compared to how millions of people live day-to-day in the world, they aren't.

A few ideas to get started:

  • Dry clothing on the line instead of in the dryer.
  • Use manual kitchen tools instead of electric ones.
  • Use manual yard tools instead of electric or gas-powered ones.
  • Exercise using just your own body instead of going to the gym.

  • WattzOn
    WattzOn is a free online tool to quantify, track, compare and understand the total amount of energy needed to support all of the facets of your lifestyle.
  • EcoFuture: All-Consuming Passion - Waking up from the American Dream
    Statistics, compiled by the New Road Map Foundation, describing USA consumption patterns and their effects on our personal lives, the lives of other human beings and the environment.

10. Change Your Lifestyle Now Gradually

There's a lot of increasing evidence that the modern, Western lifestyle (most notably the American version) isn't going to be possible for much longer. Too much fossil fuel is consumed and too much water is wasted. Environmental pollution just keeps increasing even as stricter rules are put into place. Larger systems keep evolving, but they are often endangered by small breaks in their process. Look at product and food recalls for examples of this.

Start to make sustainable changes and choices in your lifestyle on your own terms and at your own pace before the world situation demands it. This makes it more adaptable and adjustable. Think of how people who survive natural disasters are traumatized by the sudden loss of everything. Many of the ways we live and modern conveniences may be going away or being reduced in the next few decades and by shifting how you live and consume, you will make yourself more adaptable to these changes without shock or loss.

What Are Your Thoughts On Sustainability?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on May 01, 2016:

Just paying attention to waste is a great way to start being more sustainable.

Gjergj Pepaj on May 01, 2016:

Consumers should pay more attention to wastage! Be more sustainable and contribute to a healthier environment. Good article! Thank you.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on April 26, 2016:

Anna Marie, I'm doing some water barrel maintenance ahead of the summer water rates kicking into effect right now. All the little bits do wind up shifting a lot.

Anna Marie Bowman from Florida on April 25, 2016:

Some great tips. If we all did a little more, took a few small steps towards being sustainable, it would make a huge difference. And, almost all of these tips can save you money, as well. It's an extra incentive.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on April 25, 2016:

Apt rubbish, thanks for reading!

Apt rubbish on April 25, 2016:

This is an excellent explanation of the difference between "green" and "sustainable". Thanks

Molly Madley from San Francisco,Ca on September 21, 2015:

I totally agree with this!

Arun Dev from United Countries of the World on July 15, 2015:

This is a really good issue you have written about. Sustainable living is very important. You have to be responsible as a human being.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on March 23, 2015:

Marisa, I volunteered at a "green faire" and it was clear it was all about shopping and generated TONS of garbage, and that really shifted things for me. And I have a devotedly, low-impact housemate who has lead the charge on our end, and we keep finding ways to reduce what we use.

Kate Swanson from Sydney on March 23, 2015:

This is an excellent explanation of the difference between "green" and "sustainable". I think a lot of people "go green" and feel smug that they've done their bit, whereas often it's not as effective as they think.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on March 22, 2015:

Thanks, Kristen! We just keep working on our sustainability at my house and slowly it's getting better.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 22, 2015:

Great hub Rae on how to live for a fuller and greener life. Very useful. Voted up!

Sarah Forester from Australia on February 24, 2014:

Great tips! I'm always looking for ways to try live greener. I'm hoping to build in the next few years with that goal in mind.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on September 30, 2013:

Haza, it depends on what's being upcycled and how. If the upcycle process uses a ton of non-sustainable energy and new materials, that defeats the purpose.

Haza on September 30, 2013:

What about Upcycling, what do you think about that?

LongTimeMother from Australia on May 08, 2013:

lol. I attempted life without the 'net for a while, but instead of simply feeling like I was off the grid, it was like feeling I was off the planet. :)

I think there are definite advantages to our isolated existence of past decades, but it is hard to imagine suddenly going back to snail mail and hearing news from the other side of the world a week after the event. Won't we all get a shock if that day comes!


Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on May 06, 2013:

LTM, batteries and electrical usage for moden appliances/technology is the big debate in many off-grid communities and families trying to be more sustainable. At present, the lifestyle most people have has some very unsustainable habits built-in to them. The Internet is unsustainable from top to bottom, which is going to make it a huge challenge at some point in the future when we can no longer sustain it.

LongTimeMother from Australia on May 04, 2013:

Hi relache. I live off the grid, grow my own food, collect my own water, and take advantage of passive solar design. But I can't imagine life without my solar panels and batteries , or my solar cooker.

I consider them a necessary part of my sustainable lifestyle, but I'm always open to considering other good ideas for options. What would be a more sustainable option to deep cell batteries in a world where internet connection, for instance, is a must-have?

I can't think of one. Has your research revealed anything you can point me towards? (Living off the grid makes it difficult for me to spend too much time searching the net.) Thanks.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on August 14, 2012:

If you take care of your car and use it only when absolutely necessary, there's no reason it won't last for many decades or your lifetime. If you live in a city with public transport, you may be able to live car-free, which I have done for nearly 30 years now.

Mutala Maipambe on August 14, 2012:

does point 5 apply to vehicle use. for how long should we use our cars. good one.

RichardPac from Sunny Florida! on April 23, 2012:

Awesome suggestions, thank you very much for sharing. The need vs. want will also help reduce spending acros the board. It's a trick our financial planner told us awhile back and it really works well!

Reve from Dhaka on March 21, 2012:

Must say, these really awesome tips. For making sustainable living, you will need to make proper plans as it should be a long term process.

Eugene Hardy from Southfield, Michigan on March 03, 2012:

I love your Hub!

Your Hub is a good blue print for how we to change the way we live. Modern industrial resources are thinning out, and trying to live sustainability within our communities will lend economic support to everyone's neighborhood.


alipuckett on February 17, 2012:

Great hub! I think these are tips that anyone can appreciate. We can all learn something even just from making the distinction between what we want and what we need.

Christabel Evans from England, UK on February 16, 2012:

This is a great hub. We all want the world including our environment to be a better place. Thanks for sharing.

Melis Ann from Mom On A Health Hunt on February 02, 2012:

Well written hub! You're right - green has become a buzz word. Ultimately, I think people want to act sustainably but don't understand that it's not necessarily the same as being green. Voted up!

ricksterK from Left Coast on January 24, 2012:

Very nice. For more ideas and information:


Molly Kathleen from Portsmouth, NH on August 30, 2011:

Great Ideas! Every little bit helps! If every person in America chose to do just one of the things you mentioned above, then we would all be in a better place! Bravo!

cabinco on August 21, 2011:

great content, we all need to change our thinking and go "green"

PETER LUMETTA from KENAI, ALAKSA on August 17, 2011:

Very good suggestions and ways to become self-sustaining. A good idea also before it becomes necessary. The way things are going this HUB could save your life. Thanks for the help,


Paradise7 from Upstate New York on August 17, 2011:

Great hub, and it's an evergreeen one, too!! More and more people will tap into these ideas as resources become scarcer. Thanks, R.

Perfect Shop Girl on January 23, 2011:

Fantastic hub Relache! I love all your ideas. We try to do our part, but it is true we can always strive to be more sustainable.

adair_francesca on December 07, 2010:

Great hub! I love all the information and details you said. All those things are simple and everybody can simply try and do it.

Esori on October 22, 2010:

Great hub, I really enjoyed reading about this. I'm not nearly as sustainable as I'd like to be (in more ways than one) but this provides a very good outline for how to get started!

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on September 30, 2010:

Excellent Hub! Love the 100 mile example - awesome!

Body weight exercise is one of my favorite - thank you for including.

Very well written and thought out Hub.

lindsays5624 on September 19, 2010:

I like your distinction between being green and the gola of sustainable living. This is fundemental to make advancement in this area.

surf traveler on June 24, 2010:

Great hub relache. You addressed the common problem of people being fashionably green. It's very hard for people to shift gears and live a truly sustainable life.

aedinsy on June 24, 2010:

Awesome hub! You've hit it on the head. People need to change the way they think about conservation and going green. Wants from needs, purchasing for the long run,.. etc. Great job!

Moesky on February 23, 2010:

Inspiring hub. I live in Amsterdam, and most of the trash goes out onto the streets. But it is common here to pick up furniture that's been thrown out too. I, and many others, have furnished their whole house this way.

Latrelle Ross on February 20, 2010:

What a great hub! I live sustainably and this is a fantastic introduction. And I have to answer Nelle: if you like having literature in your living space, then the e-reader is more sustainable than books, especially if it is a device that you don't have to upgrade to the latest model every two years and uses little electricity to operate. But the library will always be more sustainable.

Can't wait to read more!

Mama Sez from Canada on December 26, 2009:

You presented great points here. It is really a struggle to become sustainable but we just keep on trying. We are growing vegetables organically (backyard only) from time to time, we reuse plastics from the grocery, sell old newspapers, bottles and plastics for recycling, save water and electricity, compost our biodegradable wastes, have clothesline to dry our clothes and lots of other things, but still we cannot do away with our diesel-fueled car and the heater for taking a bath (we don't have solar panel in the house). I hope the small steps we are taking will still lead us to where we want to be.

Laura Deibel from Aurora, CO on December 22, 2009:

I think we will go green or we will go grey. We must preserve for our children. -- Laura in Denver

Energy Guild from Ripon, WI on December 16, 2009:

You certainly have a great way of explaining green versus sustainable. I remodeled my kitchen a few years ago with recycled maple flooring I got for free from the local high school and by ripping out (carefully) a large built in made of birch and maple in my garage. The entire project only cost me $1,000... and a lot of time. Looking forward to more hubs.

culinarycaveman from Dem Woods, Sussex, England on December 12, 2009:

Loving this hub.

Are 7 billion people sustainable?

I don't want to stop individual sustainability but 7 billion aspirants of consumerism (or even 1 billion) is impossible.

What you say about ant and need is so true.

One of our biggest faults is not knowing what we need to be fulfilled, until people realise it is not a new porsche or flat screen TV but something inside that is free that enables happiness.

Bring forth the revolution.

anglfire693 from Detroit, Michigan on December 10, 2009:

Great hub! Great ideas! I agree with the start changing your lifestyle gradually now! Life is crazy and it's hard to make big changes all at once!

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on December 10, 2009:

Very nice and well written hub - Thank you!!

Georzetta Ratcliffe from Pennsylvania on December 06, 2009:

Great hub. However, I have to admit that a lot of my interest in sustainability has as much to do with my being broke as it does with concern about the environment.

It seems to me that "green" often means expensive while "sustainable" tends to be affordable.

Bail Up ! on December 04, 2009:

Good eye opening article especially defining the difference between green and sustainable. We all know we should do more, thanks for providing specific tips vs general ideas. Enjoyed it.

itcoll on December 04, 2009:

like you said,commitment plays the most important role in this matter.nice tips relache.

triplet on December 03, 2009:

If we could only think, is this a want or need, before we make a purchase. We would have fewer finincial problems.

Great article

Ibrahim Berr on December 03, 2009:

Amazing Hub thank you for the info, it was truly an eyeopener

QuadDamagePT from Torres Vedras on December 03, 2009:

Real nice hub! Thanks!

Dr Suleiman Dex from Northern Great Steppes on December 03, 2009:

This is a very well-developed "How To" Article. There's a lot of talk about "doing something for the Environment", but this gives some Concrete Ideas. Good Article! 'DeX'

Coach Albert from San Francisco on December 03, 2009:

Awesome hub! Thanks for saying what needed to be said. As someone who commutes by bike, I resent all the "green washing" being done by corporate giants.

Jennifer D. from Canada on December 02, 2009:

Great hub. I would like to offer a number eleven: Use birth control to reduce the overall population of humans on this small planet.

smjaegerr from Dallas, TX on December 02, 2009:

Nice, thought provoking post. It's very interesting to take note of when you truly begin to think differntly about the choices you encounter. I've completely revamped the way I approach so many day-to-day things in an effort to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It's nice to catch yourself making the sustainable decision without even batting an eye.

elisabethkcmo from Just East of Oz on December 02, 2009:

great hub with very important info for all of us...

to take personal responsibility in learning to live simply and to stop over-consuming

tphajara2 on December 01, 2009:

Good and informative.Yes one must have personal

commitment to make sustainable choices.

Jennifer on November 30, 2009:

Excellent hub!

ocbill from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice on November 30, 2009:

very good points. Also, exactly the reason I did not go shopping on Black friday. I would buy things I do not need. But I did participate on Cyber Monday for something I will need.

Did you know that produce that is transported loses a lot of its health benefits? i don;t have the source but it is credible. Buying local food is very important.

Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on November 29, 2009:

Great hub. I don't keep old possessions piled around my house. If I find these of value to others after they have outlived their use for me, it's easy to hand them down. "There's cash in trash", so my beneficiaries love to hang around for these hand-me-downs. I don't burn, I "think green".Thank you for your informative tips.

bengriston on November 29, 2009:

Buying for a lifetime is a good tip. Too many are stuck in this disposable society we are in.

MikeNV from Henderson, NV on November 29, 2009:

The number one problem facing the world today is not oil, if it were we would all be better off. The number 1 problem is the inequitable distribution of wealth. It's sad that we live in a country (USA) where food is left to rot in the field because it's more "profitable" to do so than to harvest it. Yet people are starving right here in the United States. There is not reason to "do without"... a fundamental shift in the way we allocate resources and use them has to happen. And the first way to make this shift happen is to stop buying "cheap". So many people jump on the cheapest... but there is a cost to doing so. Buy products that last! The Automobile Industry intentionally builds vehicles that do not last in the name of profit. This has a huge back end "cost" on natural resources. People are too material driven and miss the point of living. Nice hub. Voting up!

Madison from NYC on November 29, 2009:

Very good and informative hub, thanks!

Truth From Truth from Michigan on November 29, 2009:

good post very informative.

terrowhite on November 29, 2009:

You have given some good information on substantial living.. nice hub, loking forward ti read more from you :)

Organic Living from Australia on November 29, 2009:

Great info! I honestly believe that if we all make little changes to the way we live our life we can make a difference. There are so many things we can do and then 10 things you mentioned are a great start.

MagicStarER from Western Kentucky on November 29, 2009:

How wonderfully you handled this topic - A+ for you! It literally consumes me 24/7. Now, going by your analysis of the definitions of "green" and "sustainable", which could we say that energy obtained with wind turbines classifies as?

I understand that it requires energy to make the solar panels, probably does to make the parts for the wind turbines, energy collection system, etc, too, but couldn't we say that getting off the grid by using alternative, renewable energy is both green AND sustainable?

Just wondering... Because we have to make this saving of energy resources obtainable by all. Those who live in extreme climates must have some sort of means of heating or cooling that makes sense. Guess I need to go look up passive solar and see what I am missing?

To see what grassroots global communities are doing about preparing for post peak oil, and to join your local movement, please see TransitionsUS.org

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on November 28, 2009:

Great hub thanks for the reminder...

salt from australia on November 28, 2009:

funny, I always saw sustainable as the corporate green.. thanks. I still love my car and drink bottled water, but I grow my own vegies, use recycled products including clothing and furniture.. I think too, that oil is a better fuel than gas for motorvehicles as it is less drying of the air... and I believe in precipitation.

save old and valuable growth forests, that to me is green, plantation timber is sustainable... funny how I see it the other way around. I find it ironic that people pay to plant plantation trees whilst great forests are being cut down for profit, that have some of our greatest natural assets in them.

An industry to preserve and value our forests is needed.. before we have cut them all down.

advisor4qb from On New Footing on November 27, 2009:

We used to wrap presents with the funny papers from the newspaper sometimes!

ehollis from Bath on November 27, 2009:

Yes, we need to look after the future of our children children, and teach they the value of life not in terms of money but in term of what we have around us.

articleposter on November 27, 2009:

Another great post, no wonder you have 100 Hub score and good use of photograph as well. thanks

J Rosewater from Australia on November 27, 2009:

In a way, eReaders do minimise the use of paper, the toxicity of ink, the waste of unwanted books and the reduction in warehousing and transporting books. So there is merit there. On the other hand, I also believe in sustaining tradition, which is a sentimental and emotional need for many. I think the magic words in this hub are 'gradual' and 'learn', to which I shall add 'balance'.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on November 26, 2009:

We just all need to use our common sense more often

nextstopjupiter from here, there and everywhere on November 26, 2009:

Great inspiring hub, it should be taught in every school!

BookFlame on November 25, 2009:

You've inspired me again.

Elyse Eaton on November 25, 2009:

I much prefer the idea of sustainable living than merely "green" living. So glad for your insight and suggestions.

Caroline on November 25, 2009:

I agree with Becca. I wish that everyone would do these tips that can really help protect our mother earth. Some people tend to be careless of what they do. I hope they will always remember that we have only ONE EARTH to live in.

This is very timely as we have been experiencing the effects of global warming immensely this year. This is also very practical in this time of global economic crisis.

Thank you for sharing your valuable thoughts =)

Dain on November 25, 2009:

In regards to the media, I don't think they create wants - in fact they create "needs" - If though in reality these "needs" are really want the marketing campaigns main job is to make us think we NEED it and we cant live with out it and sadly mass-society for some reason listens to the media with the same faith that a child listens to a good parent with. This is one thing about the world that will always baffle me - But then I was raised on tropical island in my formitive year and life was much simpler there.

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on November 25, 2009:

A grocery bag's worth of trash per year! That really blew my mind. Thanks for putting out such important information and wise advice. Even taking those baby steps towards living more sustainably can make a world of difference.

Despite the fact that I choose to call myself "green lotus", I applaud you for putting out this information and pinpointing the difference between "green" and "sustainable". I do feel good knowing our design firm only specifies sustainable products and is discerning when it comes to the many "green" products out there. While "sustainable lotus" would be more accurate, I shall remain green for what it's worth and for aesthetic purposes:)

dusanotes from Windermere, FL on November 25, 2009:

Thank you for the best definition of green I've ever seen. I do prefer something being sustainable, rather than green, which as you say is just a catch word and means different things to different people. A very political word.

Thanks, Relache.

Don White

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on November 25, 2009:

You have some great tips here. Some are actually a bit scary, but you are right, we will have to stop wasting and use our own energy a bit instead of electricity. When it comes to reuse we have to, of course also think about the detergent you wash that reusable bottle with!

suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on November 25, 2009:

Great advice. We try to do some of these things. The city e live in is very environment- concious as a whole and sustainable living is a common conversation.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 25, 2009:

It's my hope that people who read this hub realize that such changes go beyond just helping the environment.

Becca Hubbard-Woods from Outside your window. on November 25, 2009:

Thank you for the great tips. If everyone would do just some of the tips you've listed here, it would help the environment immensely. Great job!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 25, 2009:

Using the library more is on my list of things to incorporate more. All those books I buy to read can be read for free. DVD rentals are free too. And then neither winds up taking up space just sitting in my house, not hardly being used.

Nelle Hoxie on November 25, 2009:

In some ways Matt and I do well, grow organic veggies, live in a small house to minimize heating needs, exercise is walking and yoga. But in other ways wants throw us off track. Is my nook e-reader really going to reduce waste? or should I just have started using the library more?

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