April 26, 2013

More Sustainable Living - It's Not Easy Being Green

"It's not easy being green."
"Said it, you did."

I recently changed the NBA blog description. I thought it important to add the word 'More' in front of "Sustainable Living" lest someone think that I believe that the way I live (as spartan as it may be) is actually "sustainable". It's not. Or is it?

What I have found over the years is that Kermit the frog was right - it's not easy being green. Sustainability often seems like an illusive goal that is always just a bit out of reach of modern living folks.

But what is sustainability exactly, and do we have to become hunter-gatherers, or live in caves to attain this ultimate green goal?

There are many definitions of sustainability currently in use. One of the most commonly used definitions is from the 1987 U.N. Brundtland Commission Report:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The Earth Charter is more specific and envisions:
 “a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.”
Sustainability can be applied to ecosystems, nations, as well as the full range of our own individual activities. We can assess the sustainability of our countries and lifestyles, using a tool such as an Ecological Footprint calculator.

Whatever it is, it is clear that by any definition many countries, including my own, are a long way from realizing anything close to sustainable living. But we can work toward becoming more sustainable in our decisions.

Using a footprint calculator at the Global Footprint Network, I determined that I have an eco-footprint of about 3.9 global hectares. That sounds great compared to the average Canadian with a footprint of about 6 hectares, but it is still over the level of sustainability which is considered to be about 2 hectares.

I think they overestimated my footprint.

Over at footprint.org, at the end of the questions I was told, "Congratulations, you are living an ecologically conscientious lifestyle. If everyone lived like you do, we would need only 0.74 Earths."

The second calculator is more detailed than the one at GFN, and must use different methods because they say, "There are only 15.71 global hectares available per person on a renewable basis." My footprint was 11.66 hectares.

So am I living sustainably? It seems to depend on the footprint calculator one uses. Try them and see what you come up with. Either way, we can always get greener.

I Can Get Greener

There are a few ways I can reduce my footprint further:
  1. Ditch my vehicle and take public transportation.
  2. Live in a more energy efficient home.
  3. Eat more local foods, preferably grown in my own garden.
  4. Install a solar energy power system (even a small one would make a difference).
Living greener certainly will help reduce the all pervasive cognitive dissonance we experience over our current high consumption lifestyles. We know in our hearts that using more than our fair share, and more than the planet can replace, is not right.

It's not easy being green, but it is not impossible either. We may be required to make radical shifts to the way we live, but chances are our new sustainable lifestyle will be more enjoyable than the old one we need to leave behind.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6/06/2016

    This is the thing that I've trying to tell people for a long long time but they just blast me off that I'm too negative and other such stuff is thrown at me.

    Sam Billings: webdesign services uk


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