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Create Permaculture, Start at Your Doorstep - 10 Tips to Sustain the Earth

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 92

I just got done taking the carbon footprint quiz and the Earthday Footprint Quiz. I thought I was doing fairly well with my consumption and thought I was being fairly energy efficient but I was wrong! I see that changes need to be made starting now! I have become greatly interested in permaculture, a conscious design system of diversity and sustainability whose principles are:

• Care of the earth

• Care of the people

• Distribution of surplus to others

It is a cultural revolution designed as gardening.

I do grow a large garden and produce at least half of my own vegetables, and even help my son produce food for the local farmer's market. I get most of my meat, eggs and dairy, from within a 150 mile radius, and support local growers. Actually, our dairy, chicken and eggs are within 20 miles, the beef is grass-fed grown by a cousin who lives 150 miles away. The only meat we get from far away is deep ocean fish which is rich in omega 3 fats, hard to get in the Midwest! We recycle our paper, plastic, glass, and metal, and we have a large compost bin rather than using the garbage disposal. We transfer all of that compost into our raised bed gardens. Our light fixtures all have compact fluorescent bulbs, and we keep the heat turned way down in the winter, and we even try to limit the air conditioning in the summer by having shade trees and screened-in outdoor spaces. But I guess that is not enough. According to the quiz it takes more than 5 Earth's to sustain my lifestyle. Part of the problem is that my daughter and grandchildren live in Europe so that means at least one long airplane ride per year, a huge carbon expenditure. I am sorry, but until I can no longer travel I want to visit my family! We also live in a rural setting and my husband has to drive 25 miles to work. The older home we live in is really too big for us, so we may need to think about moving, but that means moving the garden and starting over - ugg! So here is my plan and my 10 tips for you:

1. Insulate the water heater, and once it dies replace it with an on-demand tankless water heater.

2. Fix the leaks when we find them and install lower flow aerators to the faucets and replace toilets to low-flow models.

3. Weatherproof the house; add insulation wherever needed, install a radiant barrier in the attic, and re-caulk all of the windows and seams on the home.

4. Eat meatless one day per week, and eat meat only one meal/day on the other days. Smaller portions also work; a serving is only about 2-3 ounces. It has been estimated that 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are associated with meat consumption.

5. Dry clothes outside when possible

6. Turn off the car and go inside of the bank to reduce fuel, rather than using the drive-through. I plan to replace the car with a more fuel-efficient model soon!

7. Use biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products.

8. Take the car to the carwash rather than washing at home and don't wash it too often! Commercial carwashes use less water per wash, and they are also required to drain used water into the sewage system, rather than storm drains, which protects aquatic life.

9. Install a wind generator or passive-solar panel to offset electrical consumption.

10. Plant drought-resistant plants and install a rain-diverter that takes rain water to the garden or to a rain barrel to collect water for dry times or emergency.

Valorie J Prahl is an experienced gardener, health care provider, nutritionist, and mom. If you want to learn more about permaculture, garden design, raised garden beds, compost bins, cold frames, rain barrels or greenhouses visit her website at http://www.createpermaculture.com. Her site offers information to live more sustainably and products that will help you create a healthy productive permaculture garden.

Source: EzineArticles
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