It is believed that the concept of sustainable living began in the 19th century, long before solar panels, geothermal energy, and renewable energy were even thought about.
The need for a sustainable development became more apparent as cities began to grow and resources began to diminish in quantity and value. Considering environmental issues, sustainable living is simply a lifestyle that attempts to use renewable products and to take as little from the earth as is humanly possible. The definition of sustainable living means more today than when it was first considered almost 200 years ago. The three factors in maintaining a sustainable development and lowering the carbon footprint that are most crucial are energy consumption, transportation, and diet.
Probably the hardest factor to initiate is the social one because so many refuse to budge upon their long standing, wasteful, and inefficient ways of living. There is a changing of the winds and green energy has become more acceptable, bringing the social aspect online. He sees the world generally shifting to a renewable energy-based economy, reusing and recycling as necessary and developing a more diverse system of transportation to slow the use of the diminishing fossil fuels. It is evident that change is necessary to develop a sustainable society, and it is much better for the populace to work together to that end than to separate into communal or hermit types of existence. McDonough points to the compact fluorescent light bulb as a product that uses energy more efficiently, but shouldn’t be considered an effective design because it contains toxins like mercury, making it difficult to recycle. This entry was posted in Circular Economy and tagged circular economy, Cradle to cradle, Energy efficiency, green living, Jim Witkin, resources, William McDonough. Learn MoreSprawl-threatened CitiesChose a location and find out more about sprawl with this interactive map provided by the Sierra Club.
Learn MoreNational Flood InformationLearn more about current and past flooding from the United States Geological Survey resources. Learn MoreClimate WizardExplore the impact of climate change in the United States and world with this interactive climate wizard provided by the National Conservancy. Learn MoreSurf Your WatershedFind your watershed and discover the organizations that are working to protect water quality by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency.


Learn MoreStormwater Case StudiesSearch these stormwater treatment studies by state from the American Society of Landscape Architects. Learn MoreGreen Infrastructure ImpactsLearn more about how green infrastructure can impact water quality, flooding, water supply, and private and public costs from the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn MoreLandscape Performance Case StudiesSearch these case studies of landscape architecture projects and learn more about how to quantify the benefits of sustainable landscape solutions from the Landscape Architecture Foundation.
Learn MoreSustainable Sites InitiativeThe Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) program is an interdisciplinary effort to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. This year, and for the past few years, I’ve made it my mission to live a more sustainable life. Sustainable living means different things to different people, but essentially it refers to a way of living that uses as few resources as possible and causes the least amount of environmental damage for future generations to deal with. By living sustainably I am aiming to reduce the amount of natural and personal resources I use in my everyday life. We do all of these sustainable tips plus some others – use a library rather than buying books, grow as much food as you can, buy second-hand goods whenever possible, make gifts for people rather than buying them.
Living sustainably requires commitment and time – probably the biggest challenge for many of us with good intentions but very busy lives.
American Henry David Thoreau is considered the first person to write about sustainable development circa 1854.
The concept of reducing our carbon footprint in the world is the more modern way of looking at sustainable living because the world realizes that humans have not used resources wisely.
The wind turbine is great in flat areas where there is plenty of wind power to turn the turbines, but in some areas there is not enough sustainable wind to warrant the expense of the wind turbine. Socially, any means to conduct oneself in a sustainable living style must be acceptable to the community in which it exists. More than 400 products have been certified, from bricks to babies’ nappies to shipping containers used by the US Postal Service. Their new book, The upcycle: beyond sustainability – designing for abundance, makes the case that the sustainability movement has put too much emphasis on being less bad.


McDonough’s architectural firm recently designed a 50,000 sq ft building for NASA that purifies all its own water, generates more energy than it uses, and offers a healthy workplace lit by natural daylight and ventilated with fresh airflow.
Sustainable living is a hot topic at the moment as the world comes to grips with the realities of a changing climate. More than 500 billion disposable coffee cups are manufactured and disposed of every single year. Junk Mail accounts for more than 6% of Australia’s total paper use every single year, and yet only about 20% of it is actually read. I recently joined my library after many years away, I can’t believe how long it has taken me to go back, such great resources that more people should use.
Obviously, transportation taxes more on fossil fuel than anything else, but it is followed closely by heating, cooling, and electrical uses. Brown believes that sustainable living is poised to make some deep inroads into society in the 21st century. Instead, we should be designing for more good, leaving a beneficial footprint rather than just minimising our negative one. As a gardener, I’ve noticed that our summers seem to start later, last longer and get hotter and more destructive every year. Living sustainably ultimately costs less, smells nicer and, most importantly, makes me feel like I am part of the solution.
To me living sustainably needs to be exactly that – sustainable, so sometimes I’ll try things and they don’t quite work for me and I try not to be too hard on myself.




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