In mainstream society, we all know about recycling, reusable bags, fluorescent light bulbs, and the moves to wind power and solar power (renewable energies). There’s even a bit more awareness of composting.
- Eco Villages: Intentional communities that focus on sustainability by actively re-using, reducing and recycling in any ways possible. Many of these places grow their own food and use “off the grid” supplies of energy such as their own renewable sewage systems or wind, water, and solar power conversion systems.
- Composting toilets or low water toilets: Low water toilets use the least amount of water to “get things done.” In Japan there are even toilets with sinks attached to the top, so that when the toilet top refills with new clean water, you can use that water to wash your hands. Composting toilets get right to the point of sending waste right back into the ground. As an innovation to the outhouse or “ditch toilet” composting toilets allow for waste to be deposited into a container that is combined with mulch or wood shavings. After they are full they are taken out to composting bins or facilities to decompose into nutrient rich soil. Holes in the bottom of the container allow liquid to run out into the ground so the composting goes right. You can make these yourself, but for a more professional look, Lovable Loo, Environlet, and Sun Mar are good companies to purchase from.
- Food not Lawns, Edible Estates: These are initiatives to localize food supplies even beyond that of community gardens which are also efficient. Instead of tending to vacant lawn space, people turn this space into edible gardens. It allows gardeners to control the upkeep of their own food and to understand what naturally grows in their environment. By not buying out of the country or manipulating landscapes to buy out of season, edible gardeners hope to contribute to the reduction of the the chemicals used to manipulate and the fuel used to transport produce thousands of miles out.
- Getting off the grid. There are numerous ways to produce your own current and power through use of wells, solar power, wind power, water flows/wheels, non water septic systems, and hand powered tools and machines. Keith Thompson does it, in New Mexico. The Dervaes Family does it, in South Pasedena, California.
- Turning retired freight cars into homes. This is pretty simple. You take one or more old freight cars and fabricate them into livable space. It is a type of miniHome, turning box like things or trailers and turning them into stylish homes. More information here.
- I’ve also learned about getting along with public transportation and bicycles and how to do practical things, like grocery shopping, using these methods of transport (and accessories such as racks and luggage-like baskets).
- Aquaponics Systems: using fish to grow food. I heard about this one from my friend Brad.
- Greywater Recycling: Filtering and reusing the water used in sinks and washing machines.
- Family Cloth wipes: an innovation on cloth diapers; using cloth/rags in the bathroom to wipe instead of toilet paper and washing/reusing as one would do with a cloth diaper.
Am I willing to try all this? I can’t wait. 🙂
“Necessity is the Mother of Invention.”