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Sustainable Living

Posted by Joyce Crosthwaite | February 26, 2014

Traveling Lighter and Better

Life is a journey. For most people, the journey involves accumulating and discarding a great many possessions along the way. For many, it also leads at some point to the discovery that what makes them truly happy is not the possessions they own and manage but gaining some freedom from them – down-sizing to focus more on the things money can’t buy – family, friends, freedom, time.

For these people, quality of life comes from making changes in the direction of more sustainable living. They shop more carefully, live more simply, generate less trash, perhaps work fewer hours and devote more time to the pursuits they find truly meaningful and rewarding.

Waste Wise Volunteers are interested in sustainable living because we are working towards a reduction of solid waste in Island County. For years we have worked to reduce the flow of trash leaving the home through composting, worm bins, recycling and other measures, and have emphasized smart shopping and reducing.

We also believe it is important to reduce the flow of “stuff” entering the home, thereby reducing the amount of trash that must eventually leave. With this new emphasis, we are exploring the degree to which consumption “consumes” our time, energy, money and resources, and the “why” behind it. Simple or sustainable living has become an all-encompassing method of incorporating this new approach.

In her book, Fifteen Steps to a Simpler Life, Victoria Moran explains:

Simple living is not:
Poverty and lack.
Self-denial.
Going back to the land.
Boring.
Giving up what you need.

Simplicity is:
Discerning the essential from the unessential.
Having room for the unexpected.
Savoring life.
Freedom.

Certain themes or concepts run throughout most definitions of sustainable living:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Clutter / stuff
  4. Ecology
  5. Health
  6. Inner values / spirituality

Several excellent books are available on sustainable living for those who would like to read more. They include:

  • Fifteen Steps to a Simpler Life, Victoria Moran
  • The Simple Living Guide, Janet Luhrs
  • The Circle of Simplicity, Cecile Andrews
  • The Yankee Way to Simplify Your Life, Jay Heinrichs and the Editors of YankeeMagazine
  • Your Money or Your Life, Jay Dominguez and Vicki Robin
  • The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Michael Brower and Warren Leon
  • The Nontoxic Home and Office, Debra Lynn Dadd
  • Better Basics for the Home, Annie Berthold-Bond
  • Easy Does It: A Guide to Resources and Programs for Sustainable Living, The Center for a New American Dream

Environmentally-friendly Household Cleaners