Guest post by Erin Demory
The concept of sustainability is best defined simply as “meeting our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In honor of Earth Day this month, here are some tips for creating a more sustainable home. It is always good to learn new ways to reduce our consumption and burden on the earth, and also to review more common practices that regularly reminded us of the importance of our commitment on this journey together.
Yard and Garden: A garden is a great family project. It puts fresh food on the table and helps reduce the amount you need to buy at the grocery, cutting down on transportation which uses fuel and creates pollution. Growing it yourself is healthier, more economical, and fun! Instead of sending more to the landfill, start a compost pile or bin with leaves, yard debris, and food waste. Over time and with proper care, you will be rewarded with fertile compost for your garden. Rain barrels are a wonderful way to conserve water. They collect runoff rainwater which can be used at a later time, especially in the yard, garden, for washing cars, pets, and dirty little feet after playtime.
Sustainable Inside: Inside the house, consider water saving shower heads, low flow toilets, and water efficient appliances. Sometimes just fixing leaky pipes can save thousands of gallons of water. When it is time to replace appliances, consider more energy efficient models. Hanging clothes to dry can save energy and money on your electric bill, and it can be fun for little helpers! Save energy and money by weather-stripping windows and finding ways to let natural light in during the winter and shade in during the summer (skylights or landscaping around the house with deciduous trees).
Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: In the reduce, reuse, recycle triangle, recycling is actually the least desirable action item. It is much better than adding trash to the landfill, but reusing items that still have some life in them is much better for the environment, and finding ways to reduce your consumption is even better.
Make Wiser Purchasing Choices: There are more sustainable products on the shelves every day. Look for products you can reuse and are less of a burden on the environment. Examples: Glass water bottles and re-usable lunch containers, recycled paper products, rechargeable batteries, products made from renewable materials, and cloth diapers.
Non-toxic household cleaners: Chemical cleaners, and even many “natural” cleaners contain synthetics which go down our drains and into the water supply. Some are persistent, carcinogenic, and toxic and can accumulate in the environment and be dangerous to animals and people. Consider DIY cleaners with vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, lemon juice, etc…or go with a trusted brand of organic cleaners, such as the Miessence MiEnviron products.
Non-toxic body products: As with the above mentioned cleaners, many body care products on the market contain harmful chemicals. Of the 10,000+ ingredients on the market which are used in body care products, 89% have not been well tested for safety and many are known environmental toxins. Sometimes deciphering what is truly safe and eco-friendly can be tricky due to greenwashing and the lack of regulation in the market. Just reach out to your Miessence Representative who will be happy to assist.
Eat organic: Organic food is a better choice for our bodies and the Earth. Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future. Modern agricultural practices are typically destructive to the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world.
Get Involved: Many cities have a sustainability institute or local non-profit organization promoting sustainably awareness and programs. Reach out and get involved with your local group to meet other like-minded folks and learn more ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle and home.
Happy Earth Day Everyone!