Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 Sustainable Living Goals

The beginning of another year and the traditional time for reflection on the past and plans for the future. In past years, we've been working on living more sustainably and have adopted changes in our lifestyle and behaviours as we thought of things.This year I've decided to actually make some sustainability goals upfront and then actively work to achieve them throughout the year. I hope it will help us focus our energies a bit more as it can often be overwhelming to decide what to do when there are so many options and so many pros and cons.

I've focused the list into the Four R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and the most important, Rethink. I haven't included things that we're already doing, though I might make a list of these in another post for reference.

2011 Reduce
  • Reduce overall waste in terms of what we throw out, either at home or out and about.
  • Reduce our consumption of meat.
  • Reduce car use.
  • Reduce electricity and gas use
  • Reduce water use by working on limiting showers to 4 minutes (Okay, I'm the biggest culprit here)
  • Reduce laundry by laundering items less frequently. Many clothes can be worn several times before they require washing and some things can be aired rather than washed. The will also help fabrics last longer.
2011 Reuse
  • Take our used printer cartridges to be refilled rather than buying new.
2011 Recycle
  • Learn more about what can and can't be recycled and where.
  • Take our pile of used batteries to the battery recycling centre (they exist here!)
  • Preference products made from recycled materials over new materials, especially for things like paper and plastic.
2011 Rethink
Last year we made a pretty big change in our lives by moving to Brunswick. This has brought with it some changes in our lifestyle that we're still getting used to. The challenge for 2011 will be balancing our commitment to live sustainably with some of the new aspects of our lives, such as:
  • Living in a much smaller house than in Figtree
  • Both of us working from home most days
  • Reduced income (I'm not working as much as I was in Wollongong)
  • Living with a chronic illness (Fibromyalgia), which unfortunately had a major setback with the stress of the move.
  • Living reasonably close to functional and regular public transport
  • Having a much broader range of sustainable and ethical choices available to us locally, such as local and organic produce, local designers and producers for things like clothing and homewares.
  • Living in a community that has a council with a number of sustainability initiatives
There are both incentives and constraints there so we need to rethink our approach to how we live.

Next post, I'll go into some more detail on how we plan to achieve our 2011 sustainability goals.

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