Ironically enough, I have never been one to push recycling. Sure, I donate and try to re-sell use clothing, books, magazines, and many other items. However, it wasn't until I watched an episode of "You're Cut Off" that showed a family that lived in a self-sustaining home that my interest was elevated.
If you are not familiar with the VH1 series, let me enlighten you: Rich spoiled princesses are forced into a program to become independent women. Exciting television, right?
Entertainment value aside, I was especially fascinated in the last episode that I saw. Entitled "The Allure of Manure", the princesses were taken to an "urban oasis" where a group of farmers and hippies showed them how they live on little electricity, recycling, and the use of many interesting methods. The methods seemed pointless and useless to me, too, until they went into how much money they saved annually! If I remember correctly, they claimed that their annual utilities ball was around $600 dollars. WHAT?!?!? So, what can WE learn from these free spirited geniuses?
This family is an example of more drastic, although effective, practices. So, here are some more examples of moderately drastic measures that people have taken.
Farming is an activity that is profitable and low impact. Being "off the grid" with your own power system, food, and water makes you less dependent on others and reduces your environmental impact. Plus, you can also look into alternative energy and building materials when planning your own eco-friendly lifestyle.
While organic farming/gardening with natural pest control isn't necessarily drastic, how about a living roof? They reduce the amount of storm run off, control pollution by filtering the air, reduce noise levels, and cut down on the energy you use to regulate your home's temperature. In turn, the financial benefits are endless! When constructed properly, these roofs last for forty years- not seventeen years like typical roofs. Plus, they are very low-maintenance.
A Missouri couple recently went to drastic measures to reduce their carbon footprint. Their Earthship, or self-sustaining home, is made of many recycled materials- especially tires. With a composting toilet and glass wall used to maximize sunlight, among other things, this house will live off of the land. Continued on the next page