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Top 10 Tips For A More Sustainable Life

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

1. Grow your own food

Picking brocolli.
Picking brocolli. Growing your own food is essential for health and sustainability!

Start a food garden if you haven’t already. In today's world, there are many reasons to go back to this age old practice of cultivating our own food:

  • with the right gardening knowledge to cultivate rich soil, we can be sure that our food will be nutrient dense and feed our bodies giving us increased health and vitality

  • by growing organically, we can avoid the use of toxic chemical fertilizers and herbicides that then enter our bodies

  • the food you eat will be fresh picked and ripened from your garden right before you eat it, so it will taste better than food picked too early and transported around the world

  • eating locally grown food reduces our carbon footprint because the food doesn't have to be transported

2. What You Can Do To Recycle Waste

FOOD WASTE: Humans currently waste 40% of the food we produce. Luckily steps are being taken to resolve the end waste problem as you'll see in the video below. After you watch it, read on to find tips about what you can do personally.

  • FOOD SCRAPS: Utilize food scraps for worm compost or into main compost bin, along with weeds, grass clippings, & shredded newspaper. Add manure if possible.

  • COMPOST TOILET: Build a simple compost toilet if you have the space. Recycling humanure is very rewarding and a no-brainer as it's rich in nutrients we eat! You will need to compost it for at least a year or hot compost to be sure pathogens are eliminated.

  • REUSE PRUNINGS: Use prunings from shelter, ornamentals, & fruit trees (unless diseased) which are best chipped into small pieces. They can either be composted or used as mulch on fruit and ornamental gardens to keep weeds down and provide valuable nutrients.

  • REUSE PLASTIC & GLASS: Re-use old plastic or glass containers in many ways such as for preserving produce, cloches for young seedlings, or even stacked as walls in the green house.

  • REUSE TOILET ROLLS: Use toilet rolls to make great surrounds for leeks and celery to help them grow tall.

  • REUSE MATERIALS: Old clothes can be up-cycled into new ones or clothes for dolls even. Various materials or equipment can be recycled and made into funky presents instead of buying new ones. Two old bikes can be rebuilt into a working bike with a little effort and skill. Unwanted usable items can be gifted to recycling centres or OP shops for others to use.

3. Make healthy food, preserve

Being sustainable isn't just about the well-being of our environment. It's also about our own well-being. The top of the list for our well-being is to take care of our bodies with healthy food. Here are some ideas to help you look after your body.

  • Make lots of salads ideally from your garden. Include edible flowers such as nasturtiums.

  • Use fresh herbs as much as possible in meals, or in teas.

  • Research healthy meal options and try to make meals from what you have growing in your garden or from preserves you’ve made.

  • Eat in season food as it provides exactly what your body needs to function at optimal health for each season. You may notice you crave different foods at different times of year: root vegetables such as pumpkin and zucchini in fall/autumn and fresh raw salad in summer.

  • Avoid eating meat as it’s hard to digest and takes a lot of energy to produce. This will in turn reduce the impact on the environment.

  • Eat organic as much as possible as pesticides in food do contribute to ill health.

  • Avoid processed foods too, especially those with lots of sugar in them.

  • Make your own crackers, bread, kombucha, yoghurt and even soft cheese. It isn’t difficult, it just takes time. Take a cheesemaking workshop such as this one held periodically at our centre and community garden.

4. Reevaluate your budget…less is more

The less we feel we want the less we need to consume. Consumerism is a major driver in the creation of waste and the destruction the planet is receiving. Think before you buy. Think about where the product comes from. How long will it last? Should I spend more to get more? See "Be Selective".

5. Be Selective

We are all tempted by low priced items that seem like a bargain. But, they break easily and they don't last. Meaning they will likely have very little resale value and will end up in a landfill in a short time. And we all know that saying: "Easy come easy go." If we buy cheap stuff, we won't look after as well as if we had really invested in it. So purchase good quality equipment, clothes etc as these will last, will stay in good condition while using them, can be resold later, and are also more likely to be able to be repaired too.

6. Insulate your home

In New Zealand a recent law makes it so that landlords must get homes they are renting out insulated in 2019. Contact your landlord about this. Even if you own your own home there may be financial support to get the home you’re living in insulated. A warm home has many benefits, being drier is one. This means less mould and potential allergies like asthma. Insulation makes it quicker and easier to heat your home and holds heat longer, so it saves energy.

7. Trade/exchange with neighbours/community members

Neighbours helping out
Working together, we all thrive.

Get to know your neighbours. Sharing resources not only saves money and energy but also builds a sense of community. This is especially important in time of crisis. Jobs can also be done for exchange of other services directly or for other products other than money e.g. firewood, preserves, surplus items. Join alternative currency or Local Economic Trading Schemes (LETS). Create a neighborhood toolshed. Start a car club.

8. Get organized with transportation

Planning conserves energy. For example try to minimize trips by car to do shopping once a week rather than daily. Try and coordinate several tasks instead of one when going out. Carpool as much as possible. If doing longer trips, advertise on local FB Noticeboards or on Craigslist if you have a spare seat or can help getting resources collected/delivered.

9. Exercise for health

walking for health
Add more walking to your daily routine

Looking after our body through exercise will mean we stay healthy and will then need less support from the medical profession. Take bike trips with family instead of the car, even to do some shopping ‘kills two birds with one stone’ as they say. (But really who wants to do that?) Seriously, though if you can walk or ride instead of drive, do it! Look for ways to make exercise a natural part of your day rather than something extra you have to do, especially if you are short on time.

10. Balance work with family and interests

Balance work with family
These are moments you won't regret!

How many of us will wish we worked more on our death bed? Life is too short so change your lifestyle if you feel you work too much and spend more time with family, friends or doing things you love. Money definitely isn’t worth an earlier grave in my opinion. Four day working weeks are a better solution to help maintain a sustainable human not to mention happy family. This means people will have more time to do things together with others, helping develop community.

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