Our eco Buddhist community suggests the following easy but transforming measures to actively engage yourself in creating sustainable human and non-human environments for your family, friends, world and you.
1. Lighting. If every household in the United States replaced just three 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, it would cut down so much on pollution it would be as if we were removing 3.5 million cars from the road.
2. Watch where you shop. Big box stores (you know the ones, usually located in strip malls on the outskirts of towns where farm land used to be) move people away from town and city centers. When towns and cities first formed, they usually had a central merchant area, so people would walk, take mass transit, or some other transportation, get to the center of town, park (if driving) and then spend the day walking from shop to shop before heading back home.
3. Recycle. Sure, most of us do it to some degree. When it’s convenient. But there’s usually a lot more that we can recycle that we don’t. Like cereal and cracker boxes, perhaps? How about the number 4, 5, and 6 plastics? While your curbside pick-up, if you have one, might not take it, there are other places that will. Another alternative, though, is not to buy things that are overly packaged.
4. In the house. Use the microwave oven when you can. It cooks faster and uses less energy. Turn the heat down in the winter and wear sweaters. Keep the air conditioning at a minimum during the summer. Seal your windows and doors against cold-weather drafts; have an energy audit done on your house if you can afford it, to see where your energy leaks out. Have the furnaces cleaned each year and your air conditioner serviced.
5. Buy Local. One of the biggest expenses in so many of the products we buy is the cost of transportation. Whatever the product, if it isn’t produced in your backyard, you’re paying extra for it. This is especially true for food. We buy lettuce from California when we live in Connecticut, apples from the north when we live in the south, and all of this has to be picked, packed, shipped and then distributed before we finally get to eat it. Not only do we pay for the cost of the shipping (ie gasoline or diesel) and the packing, but they have to grow specific varieties that can survive the hardships of early picking and transportation, so we lose in numbers of varieties as well as in nutrition.
------The above article was written by Mr. Jerry Sawyer,
Buddha Gaia's First Coordinator, 2006