Sustainability: The Basics

Sustainability The Basics

Once upon a time, not long ago, those who believed in cleaner living were considered outside of the mainstream. Fast forward a decade or two. Scientists have declared Earth in crisis—a planet sickened by its caretakers. Whether it’s driven by necessity or survival, most of us have adapted to a more responsible approach to the environment.

We look out from our energy-efficient windows onto our green yards, up to the blue sky, and just for a sparing moment imagine scientists are wrong. Colors are brilliant. Wildlife shifts in the trees. All is right in the world.

But it’s what we don’t see that worries scientists. And it’s not just the land. Our waterways, are in dire trouble and face serious, even irreparable consequences.

Clean water is Earth’s most valuable asset, so let that guide decisions. Gain knowledge through trusted sources and utilize creative solutions when possible.

Perhaps most importantly, break old habits built from apathy or misunderstanding:

Recycle:

If not properly recycled, plastic, cans and bottles can find their way into our oceans, rivers and ponds. This seems obvious, but they are far too often found in our waterways.

Reduce Runoff:

Stormwater flows unhindered across hard surfaces and into storm drains. The flow of water picks up pollutants along the way. Integrate porous materials—or a rain garden—in your landscape to reduce runoff where possible.

Minimize Chemical Use:

Eliminate or reduce the use of chemicals. Chemicals from households and farms, not properly recycled, can runoff into area waterways. The internet is populated with organic solutions, pet and human-friendly.

Pet Pick-Up:

Pet waste contains bacteria that, if not cleaned-up properly, can be absorbed by runoff and find its way into rivers and streams. Bonus: proper clean-up will help avoid an eventual and unpleasant reminder to pick up after Rover.

Wetlands:

Wetlands serve as a natural filter that keeps chemicals, excess nutrient and sediment from ending up in a waterway. Trees and other large plants also act as filters to help keep lakes and rivers clean.

Car Care:

Take good care of your car, and you’re taking better care of the Earth. Reduce leaking oil, antifreeze and other additional chemicals by ensuring your car is properly maintained.

Proper Disposal:

Hazardous material including motor oil, paints and medications should be properly disposed. Don’t flush it down...most communities offer weekend disposal events just for this purpose.

What began as a movement is now a lifestyle, adopted as part of a culture with a growing awareness towards environmental responsibility. Change does not have to be difficult or expensive or complex. The simplest changes in practice can literally make a world of difference.