Sustainable Living

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Yussuf Kabiru Abayomi
University Of Ilorin,
Department of Biochemistry (300Level)
02/10/2012
sustainable living
Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the earth's natural resources and his/her own resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their “carbon footprint” by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet. Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the earth's natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development. Lester R. Brown, a prominent environmentalist and founder of the Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute, describes sustainable living in the 21st century as "shifting to a renewable energy-based, reuse or recycle economy with a diversified transport system." Sustainable living is fundamentally the application of sustainability to lifestyle choice and decisions. Sustainability itself is expressed as meeting present ecological, societal, and economical needs without compromising these factors for future generations. Sustainable living can therefore be described as living within the innate carrying capacities defined by two factors namely; Sustainable design and sustainable development which are critical factors to sustainable living. Sustainable design encompasses the development of appropriate technology, which is a staple of sustainable living practices while sustainable development in turn is the use of these technologies in infrastructure for economic development without polluting the environment. To live sustainably, the following needs must be met without causing any serious damage to the ecosystem and with minimal utilization of the earth resources. Some of the needs include;

1. Shelter
2. Food
3. Clothing
4. Water
5. Transportation
6. Power

SHELTER

Sustainable homes are built using sustainable methods, materials, and facilitate green practices, enabling a sustainable lifestyle. Their construction and maintenance have neutral impacts on the earth. Oftentimes, if necessary, they are close in proximity to essential services such as grocery stores, schools, daycares, work, or public transit making it possible to commit to sustainable transportation choices. Sometimes, they are off-the-grid homes that do not require any public energy, water, or sewer service. If not off-the-grid, sustainable homes may be linked to a grid supplied by a power plant that is using sustainable power sources, buying power as is normal convention. Additionally, sustainable homes may be connected to a grid, but generate their own electricity through renewable means and sell any excess to a utility.

Sustainably designed houses are generally sited so as to create as little of a negative impact on the surrounding ecosystem as possible, oriented to the sun so that it creates the best possible microclimate and provide natural shading or wind barriers where and when needed, among many other considerations. Sustainably constructed houses involve environmentally friendly management of waste building materials such as recycling and composting, use non-toxic and renewable, recycled, reclaimed, or low-impact production materials that have been created and treated in a sustainable fashion (such as using organic or water-based finishes), use as much locally available materials and tools as possible so as to reduce the need for transportation, and use low-impact production methods (methods that minimize effects on the environment). An example shown below is a sustainable home cartoon picture by Vincent Howell.

FOOD

Industrial agricultural production is highly resource and energy intensive. Industrial agriculture systems typically require heavy...
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