Sustainable Living

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“Sustainability” is the newest “buzzword” for 2020. Everyone is pitching the concept of “sustainability” in everything from food to fashion. How can you join the “sustainability” movement?

What is ‘Sustainability?’

Sustainability is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s use of the Earth’s natural resources. Reducing your carbon footprint by changing transportation, energy consumption and diet are the hallmarks of sustainable lifestyle.  

Ten Tips

In the Santa Clarita Valley, with an average of 280 days of sunshine per year, use the sun to your advantage. Sunlight is free. Install skylights to bring natural light into dark spaces. Using sunlight, instead of artificial light, during the day helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity.

Visit www.catalogchoice.org, a free service, to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more. Putting a stop to unwanted, or unneeded mail conserves resources and eliminates unnecessary trash. Be sure to switch to paperless billing for monthly utility, bank and other statements. 

It may surprise you to learn that science has discovered that we wash everything too much. This practice has reduced our natural immune resistance to diseases. Practice taking shorter showers, wash dishes in a sink of water instead of the dishwasher and cut down on how many loads of laundry you do each week. Combine loads to be sure you are doing a full load of laundry. Dry your clothes on a line outside, instead of using a dryer.

Unplug most electrical devices when not in use. Most of the electronic devices in your home, especially televisions, continue to draw on electricity even when turned off. Install a surge protector with an easy to reach on/off switch to easily turn on and off your energy vampires.

Getting on a natural sleep schedule means becoming more attuned to the natural light in the day. There are demonstrated health benefits to a natural sleep schedule, rising when the sun comes up and sleeping when the sun goes down. You will use less electricity, too.

Try reading more and playing more card and board games. Reduce your addiction to electronic entertainment. Put down the game controller and go outside for a walk. Buy a croquet or badminton set. Reducing your need for electronic stimulation by just one hour every day can help your sustainability profile. 

Combine weekend errands into one trip, instead of several. You don’t have to buy a hybrid vehicle to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. Smart planning can achieve a remarkable decrease in fuel consumption.

Instead of waiting in a long line of idling cars, polluting the air and consuming excess amounts of fossil fuels, drop your child off near school and have them walk to their class. After school have your child walk to a convenient and safe meeting place.

Reduce food waste. It is estimated that roughly 40%  of the food produced in the United States never gets eaten. Make a pledge to consume all the food you purchase. Eat leftovers and add more local produce to your diet, reducing the use of fossil fuels to transport out of season fruits and veggies to market. Reduce your use of red meat. Try a “Meatless Monday” diet. Giving up meat just one day a week will decrease your meat consumption by nearly 15%, effectively decreasing the problems (fossil fuel use, methane production and environmental destruction) associated with meat production.

Grow some of your own food. In the SCV you can grow food in your garden all year. Every so often an unusually cold winter will kill your winter garden, but that’s the exception, not the rule. Well-tended container patio gardens will thrive in winter and water-wise summer gardens, using drip irrigation, can provide a bounty of fresh, and tasty produce. If you don’t have space for your own garden, join a community garden. Visit www.communitygardensofsantaclarita.org.

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