Monday, January 12, 2015

Cutting through the jargon. Today's word: sustainable

Do you ever get confused by all the jargon being tossed around by green-minded folks like me? I know I do. There's organic, fairly traded, non-GMO, environmental, eco-friendly, sustainable... Sometimes it sounds like a foreign language! 

The most confusing to me is the term "sustainable," so I thought I'd flesh it out a bit for any of you who experience the same confusion. Some may say sustainable living is just a catch phrase created by a bunch of tree huggers. But they'd be wrong.

However, sustainability cannot be easily defined. It's like an onion with many layers and involves people choosing healthy lifestyles, supporting their communities (you know, shopping local and all of that), and even doing our part to contribute to the economy. Of course, it also is about green living and it involves local and global actions.

Here are some more defined definitions (thank you Google):
  • To keep in existence, nourish, maintain, or prolong
  • Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
  • Long-term preservation of biodiversity and natural ecosystems
  • Providing for the needs of the current population without compromising the needs of future generations
Sustainable practices are those that can be repeated without any negative consequences to the environment or to people's pocketbooks or bank accounts. 

See, it's not just about being green (which involves simply caring for the environment). It's a body of conscious choices that sustain a good life for us and for our grandchildren. Does that make sense? 

If people continue to think only of their current needs without regard to the future of this planet, the consequences will be immense. While you may not be able to make huge changes in your life or home, we can all make a difference if we choose a sustainable mindset. 

That means
  • Stop mindlessly tossing things into the trash. Ask yourself: Can this be recycled, reused, or composted? The lazy way is to toss it. The sustainable way is to care enough to at least contemplate the answer.
  • Turn off the water when it doesn't have a direct purpose. Does it really need to run while you're brushing your teeth or washing your hair?
  • Turn off the lights when no one is in the room. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Opt for local shopping, even if it does cost a wee bit more. Support your small mom and pop stores before they become a thing of the past. Walmart's not going to mind if you spend your dollars at the local market. But you can't say the opposite is true.
  • Don't pollute your yard and garden with harmful chemicals that kill the pollinators, like the bees and butterflies. Seriously... think about what you're doing!
  • Start using more reusable products rather than depending on disposables. In our home, we use rags instead of paper towels, cloth napkins instead of paper ones, and reusable dishes, cups, and flatware instead of throwaways (even for picnics and parties). And our grandbabies don cloth diapers, not Huggies or Pampers.
Are you starting to get the picture? I hope so. 

I'd love to hear your suggestions for sustainable living, so why not post a comment? The best part of community is learning from each other, don't you think?



  1. Great post on making it all a little bit clearer! Thanks for all the practical ideas too.

    1. You're welcome, Tammy. Thanks for taking the time to read it and to post a comment. Much appreciated.


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