Monday, September 22, 2008

Sustainability and what it means to me....

Webster's Dictionary has this to say about sustainability: sus·tain·able
Function: adjective
Date: circa 1727
1: capable of being sustained 2 a: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged b: of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.

My take on sustainability: Sustainability is more than the latest buzz word, it is a way of life. It is how we choose to use the resources we have available to us. Fundamentally I believe in leaving as small a footprint as possible as we move through life. Here is a partial list of the choices and changes my wife and I have made:

1. I ride a bicycle as my primary form of transportation. I'll walk the mile to Palisades Market instead of using the car. I will admit that since my campaign for Lake Oswego City Council I have been unable to ride as much as I would like. Bicycling also keeps my heart healthy and the weight down.
2. We downsized from 4 cars to 1 car over the past few years. But two were old English collector cars so they may not count.
3. My wife has a garden spot at Luscher Farm where she grows a lot of our own food. She has been there for 10 years and grows everything but the garlic, which I grow.
4. When ever possible we attempt to buy locally grown food. We love our local Farmers Market.
5. We minimize the use of herbicides and pesticides at home with no use in the garden.
6. We try to support local small businesses instead of big box stores.
7. We emphasize purchasing American made products which sometimes proves a challenge.
8. We love our curbside recycling of paper, glass, cans, etc. We also recycle lumber products at Rebuilding on North Mississippi in Portland. If you haven't been there it is worth the trip. We don't compost as we don't generate enough waste to make it feasible.
9. Replaced our cracked concrete driveway with a permeable driveway made with concrete pavers. Then recycled our old concrete driveway into steps going down to our backyard.
10. We replaced our old water heater with a tankless water heater. My wife and I have a difference of opinion on that one. I feel it is best used as a point source system as opposed to a replacement for a hot water tank. She likes it.
11. Over the years we landscaped our front and backyard with indigenous and drought resistant trees and plants friendly to wildlife. We have no lawn.
12. A few years back we installed a drip irrigation system making a significant reduction in our water usage.
13. I think compact florescent bulbs are great. They are energy efficient and produce a lot of light.
These are just some of the changes we have made over the years. It may not work for everyone but it does for us.

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