According to Eco Watch, an innovative website that promotes green living, Portland is the 16th greenest city in the United States. The site reported that 41% of our city works from home or walks, bikes, carpools or takes public transportation to work. We gained this title due to the quality of our air which we owe to the 300+ luscious parks in the Portland and Portland metro areas. Given that I have been an Oregon resident for some time now, being named one of the greenest cities in the US doesn’t surprise me. Another non-shocking discovery was that California, where I grew up, isn’t located anywhere on the list. I wasn’t surprised by this because until I moved to Oregon I hadn’t ever seen anyone make their own compost let alone have a recycling bin the size of their trash can. In fact, before I met my wife I can safely say I was leaving the biggest carbon footprint possible without even knowing it. Watching someone be so diligent and careful about being truly eco-friendly made me second guess the way I had been living my life. One of my first realization was that I was wasting money on products that I didn’t need and that were not only bad for my body, but bad for the environment. I think it’s really easy to live your life without stopping to question the routine things that you do. It is also easy to buy an eco-friendly cleaning product and tell yourself that you are now eco-friendly. My wife was raised to always give to the Earth as much or more than it has given to you; to live sustainably. That concept lead me to my research question:
How do I live a sustainable life?
“10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green.” Worldwatch Institute. N.p., 18 Apr. 2006. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.
- This article was written by the SustainableUS, the network for sustainable development in the United States. This article includes ideas as to how you can change your daily habits at home and at work to help reduce your environmental impact, save money and live a healthier life. The list is simple and straight to the point with ideas to help you “go green.”
Assadourian, Erik, Linda Starke, and Lisa Mastny. State of the World, 2010: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress toward a Sustainable Society. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.
- State of the World: Transforming Cultures is a collection of 60 world renowned researchers and practitioners pieces on how to turn our consumer world into a sustainable one. The book touched on everything from our over consumption of meat due to our society telling us that we need it; to government regulations on just how sustainable we are allowed to be.
“PlanetSave – Global Warming News, Science News, Animal News, Green Living.” PlanetSave. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.
- I chose this entire site as a source because it provides information on climate change, scientific discoveries, and politics that all involved sustainable living. The site points out the importance of leaving a smaller carbon footprint and what we can do to ensure that we live in a healthy environment.
What if I told you that the shampoo that you’ve bought for your children contains chemicals that are being absorbed into their blood stream each night during their bath? What if I told you that the farm raised beef that you bought for dinner has enough hormones in it to cause your children to begin maturing at earlier and earlier ages? What if I told you that you’re wasting your money on things like these that are harming not only you, your children, everyone around you and even the Earth that you walk on? These questions are what scared me into trying to minimalize the imprint I was making on this planet and to bettering the lives of my children. I feel like you can get a parent to do almost anything if you point out that it is harming their children and I want you to be scared, but I also want you to be aware and knowledgeable of how you can make the world your family lives in a healthier and happier place. I want to help you change your life to a sustainable one that not only benefits your family, but the families around you.
- Don’t take baths; take showers because they use less water.
- Don’t rinse your dishes before placing them in the washer, let the dishwasher do its job.
- Shop local. It’s cheaper because it is straight from the source and its more likely to be fresh.
- Eat less meat. As long as you are getting protein in your diet you’ll be fine; we don’t need meat to survive.
- In Oregon it is legal to collect a barrel of rain water for watering your garden or plants. This is easy and will save on your water bill each month.
- Contact Portland General Electric and ask them for their energy saving box. This is free and contains compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Telecommute to and from work. Consider moving closer to work so that these trips require less time and effort. Spending less on gas will not only save money, it ensures a higher air quality.
These are all simple tasks that will aid in a healthier and happier environment for our generation and generations to come. Some of these things will require a little extra thought, but that extra time will help to increase the quality of life for ourselves and our families. It is more than worth it to live this way.