Tuesday, April 15, 2014

30 Days of...ooops.

My 30 days of blogging about sustainability was derailed by five days of sickness and three days of recovery and catching up.  While I am pretty close to being up to date on work, school related business and performance matters I am not sure I will catch up on the blogging.

I will however complete the four part series mentioned in the prior post!

Stay tuned!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 7 - Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it Do or Do Without

"Use it up,
Wear it out, 
Make it do,
Or do without."

- Anonymous

Often used in reference to "Yankee frugality" the origins of the phrase are unclear.  It was popularized in the United States during the rationing years of World War II. Whatever the original source of the saying today it could serve just as well as a slogan for seeking to live a sustainable life in our consumption focused culture and economy.

This week I'll be writing a four part series focusing on each line of the saying and  answer the question of how we can make this old adage apply to our lives today.

Have you heard this saying before?  Do you apply it to your life today?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 6 - Buy Local

The buy local movement has been growing rapidly across the country.  Nearly every city has an organization to promote local business.  Here in Portland, Maine e we have Portland Buy Local that promotes local businesses.

There are numerous benefits to buying local.  The Portland Buy Local website lists several including...

...keeping your dollars local (studies have shown higher percentage of each dollar spent at a locally owned businesses stay within the community than those spent at national chains);

...environmental sustainability (aside from the shorter distance you may drive, or better yet walk, locally produced goods, especially food, have a lower environmental impact);

...supporting entrepreneurship;

...keeping your local neighborhood unique and diverse;

...and much more.

If you'd like to learn more about buying local in your community the American Independent Business Alliance can help you connect.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 5 - Walking

According to many estimates the average person gets the equivalent of 75 miles per gallon when walking. Compared to the average 24.6 miles per gallon of cars in the U.S. and the fact that walking is a zero emissions mode of transportation**, walking seems a pretty good environmental deal, and it is, but there are other sustainability related benefits to leaving the car parked.

Getting to know your community.  - Walking allows you to see your neighborhood up close and personal in a way that you simply can't do when passing through at 15 - 50 miles per hour.  You can get to know local plants and wildlife (yes, even in the city there is wildlife), frequent local business and say hello to your neighbors.

Health Benefits - Walking is good for you.  I'm pretty lazy about exercise.  I'm not the type to go to the gym or take an aerobics class.  With my feet as my transportation I usually walk at least a few miles per day just doing the activities of day to day life.  That's right a few miles.  Which means I'm getting quite a bit of exercise without any real extra effort.

** Human's don't have tailpipes but where we get our "fuel" is still important.  Farming in our country is very much tied to fossil fuel use.  Buying local and organic can greatly reduce the environmental impact of our human fuel intake.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 4 - Individual Sustainability

A video about individual sustainability.  It is an interesting approach to a sustainable life. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 3 - Energy Efficiency

I don't believe energy efficiency can be explained in 90 seconds as this video claims but, it does make the point that we can do a lot to reduce fossil fuel use through conservation.  Every light you turn off, every energy efficient appliance you use, ever inch of insulation you add to your home, every degree you turn down your thermostat results in lower energy use.  The less energy we use, the less fossil fuels we burn to produce power. 

While changing our power supply over to renewable sources is an admirable goal and one I hope to see achieved one day, energy conservation is something we can all do right now, today.  If every individual took steps to reduce their energy use it could have a great impact in reducing the environmental impact of energy production, and we'd all save a bit of money as well.  

Who is she (this impossible me)?

Other thoughts...

In my mind I have a vision of the person I want to be. In this vision she is always solitary...independent, though often standing in the midst of chaos - a busy office, back stage before a show, on a crowded sidewalk, she is calm and somehow apart from it all.  On her feet she wears stylish but sensible shoes.  She always looks well put together because she enjoys wearing things that make her feel beautiful.

She is strong, physically and mentally.  Taking care of herself is a part of daily life.  She is always well rested. While she has doubts about life they don't dominate her thinking. When she is in emotional turmoil she is able to set it aside so that she can take care of whatever immediate task life has put before her.  She is never overwhelmed because she knows her limits  She is passionate about many things.  She knows what she wants and she is not afraid of the hard work it may take to accomplish her desires.  

She is compassionate, offering a hand when others are in need.  She wants to save the world but knows she can only do the work of one person.  She attempts as best she can to live in a manner that lessens her impact on the earth.  

She wants to leave this earth having somehow made it a better place.

Lately I think of her and wonder, almost with a laugh, how I ever thought I could be this person? Yes, we are similar in many ways, passionate about what we do and about wanting to improve the world. I attempt to be compassionate but I stumble over jealousy, hurt and anger as most of us to.   I'm tired more days than I am not and I definitely fail frequently in the self care department.  I am overly emotional with some regularity and I struggle daily with self doubt.

I guess it's okay that I am not her.  It does seem like it would be a whole lot of work to be her and I'm not sure I'm really up to the task.  Maybe instead of seeing her as the me that I am not, I'll think of her as a sister or close friend because, even if she isn't me, when think of her I do feel a bit stronger and a little more capable.  It would be nice to know even if I am not her, that I at least have her on my side.

Note: I think there might have been a day, sometime in the spring of 2011, that I came as close to being her as I've ever been.  I should have noted the date but I was probably too busy being wonderful.