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Living with Nature In Mind
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by Janet Haug | 2006

Janet is a Sierra Club member in the Mt. Vernon Group of the Virginia Chapter. She recently completed a Masters Degree in Business with an emphasis in Environmental Studies from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio.

Living with nature in mind, Sustainable Living, is about living your values of making the environment a priority in your life. It is a lot easier to do than you would first think. Not only are our lives enriched when we can live in an area that has clean air, water and healthy food, but amazingly our efforts impact the areas surrounding us as well. What can we do to keep improving our environment? What can we do to help improve the areas around us? You can start right in your own home by using renewable energy resources, creating less waste, and consuming wisely.

Some Facts

To improve your daily habits you need to first take a look at how well you are doing. There are several measures you can use. www.myfootpring.org is found on the web and easy to use. You can also read Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel and take a more detailed self-assessment. These are simple but effective measures that show you the impact you make on this planet by assuming everyone makes the same choices as you. The ultimate goal is to live in a way that causes the least pollution yet allows you live comfortably with the limits nature. Nature is very resilient and can survive through many extremes. People and wildlife still survive in polluted and congested areas. What we are shooting for is not survival but a balanced ecosystem where people and nature can live in abundance and diversity.

What can you do?

Are you light, medium or ultra nature minded?
After you take an assessment on how you are living, you more clearly see how often you keep nature in mind. Now you can start making changes to help you achieve the goals of Sustainable Living. Living with nature in mind doesn’t mean you have to give up style, comfort or convenience. It means thinking creatively each day.

Living Nature Minded
A living light person is a just starting to live with nature in mind and in some cases will save you money. You may recycle your cans or plastics when convenient or try to not to waste energy by turning off your lights and appliances when you leave your home. Here are a few steps you can take to begin your journey towards sustainable living. A medium minded person has experienced the benefits of Sustainable living. You watched your energy bills decrease and you make fewer trips to the trash bin because you are creating less waste. An ultra minded person may have been brought up with living with nature in mind and many of these suggestions are old habits for you. Reenergize your commitment to nature by thinking creatively about living with nature and helping your neighbors to live Sustainably.

New steps you can take:

Purchase energy saving appliances
Buy more fresh produce
Learn about your local ecosystems
Buy a plant
Use mass transit, carpool, make your next car a hybrid
Take advantage of environmental tax incentives
Choose a renewable energy provider for your home
Invest in companies that endorse sustainable design and development
Watch what you put down the drain or pour into the ground
Take a walk in your neighborhood or local park
Turn your lawn (if you have one) into a Freedom Lawn (eco-landscaping)
Keep Living with Nature in mind at your workplace
Teach others how to live sustainably

So start today and make these little changes in your life. Set the example in your community and encourage others to join you in Living with Nature in Mind.

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