True or False? “People will never exchange their high impact consumer lifestyle for one that they perceive is less – less fun, less satisfying, less comfortable.”
By Portia Sinnott, LITE Initiatives, Copyright, 2007
False. Most people simply need information and positive reinforcements to motivate them to establish new, lighter habits. As presented in the companion article, Shrink Your Ecological Footprint, time management is a key to living a low impact life and to developing new habits. Information is another key. The adjacent list is chock full of websites that promote the suggested actions. Here are some additional concepts to motivate you:
How To Shrink Your Ecological Footprint
LITE Checklist II
Check items you already practice. Draw a line through the impossible and circle a few you are willing to take on. Set a goal and go for it! Visit list again in a few weeks. See List I on front.
Walk or bike to an event or drive part of the way and walk/bike the remainder
Invite friends to carpool or take public transit with you. Bring route info and directions just in case.
Green your dinner party: www.earthdinner.org
Share weekly meals with neighbors and friends
Create a neighborhood space: www.cityrepair.org
Surf Your Watershed: www.epa.gov/surf
Buy local & organic: www.organicconsumers.org
One a day – short & sassy tips: www.idealbite.com
Safe beauty products: www.safecosmetics.org
More fun, less stuff: www.newdream.org
Responsible shopping: www.coopamerica.org
Be hip, learn to sew: www.stitchlounge.com
Vacation close to home: www.nps.gov
Walk/bike to school: www.cawalktoschool.com
Teach recycling: www.ciwmb.ca.gov/schools
Improve school lunches: www.food-matters.org
Plant a school garden: www.oaec.org
Green School Initiative – www.greenschools.net
Go Green: www.gogreeninitiative.org
Consider solar energy: www.ases.org
Visit DOE: www.eere.energy.gov
Change from diesel to: www.biodiesel.org
Zero Emissions: www.zeri.org
Zero Waste – Or Darn Close
In nature, biodegradability is the norm and there is no waste. Zero Waste, the application of that fact, ensures that products are made to be reused, repaired or recycled into the marketplace or nature. Seriously, we believe if it can’t be recycled – it shouldn’t be made!
Some people vehemently object to this term because reaching zero is impossible. Proponents consider it a worthy goal that shouldn’t be dismissed because it is too ambitious.
The State of California is leading the way: “Now, with recycling and conservation programs in every city, we are able to embrace the zero waste concept as our guiding principal and goal for the future.” www.zerowaste.ca.gov. It is not just in California, this issue is being collaboratively worked on all over the world: www.grrn.org, www.zwia.org
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
In the ZW worldview, the long-term responsibility for a product is on the producer of the item, not you the consumer or the local government agency that oversees your waste steam. The ultimate goal of EPR is clean, safe materials and production and the elimination of waste at each stage of the product’s life cycle. www.eprworkinggroup.org, www.productpolicy.org
Precautionary Principle – Do No Harm
If an action, policy or product might cause severe harm, the burden of proof should fall on those who are producing it. In other words, it must be proved to be safe before it is implemented – versus proving it is not unsafe. www.safecosmetics.org, www.noharm.org
Carbon Offsets and Personal Offsets
Trying to reconcile your actions with your values? Rather then sending money around the world (and through many hands), consider investing in greening your home or donate to a local non-profit. Internal trades are another story; no one needs to be 100% perfect. If you make an extra trip to the store tonight, plan to ride share or do errands on foot tomorrow.