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User talk:KVDP/Appropriate living for one person

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Pasted from "Indestructables"?[edit]

From what I can tell, this entire article is pasted straight from instructables--www.instructables.com/id/9-simple-measures-to-become-green-healthy-and-soc/.  The instructable might be partially copied from a book, since there are pictures of self-help books?  I don't know.  The topic has a chance of being good; the current article is hopelessly difficult to read and seems to suffer from One True Wayism.  Or perhaps it is just the author's personal plan (he or she often says "we will do this, then we will do this...") and we need to make it more applicable to others.  He or she has a total plan in a zip file included; it's not a very definite plan, but it is certainly some research.  I am re-arranging the way that the original author laid out the information, breaking it down into categories, and re-sorting some of the categories before re-writing entire sections for clarity.  I welcome all additions.  --rejoicingapathy

I agree. Thank you for working on this! --Lonny 22:12, 5 November 2010 (UTC)


At this point, the article barely resembles the original on instructables. Should we take out the "this is from instructables" tag? Two conflicting problems: (1) Additions are needed, particularly for awesome stuff to do for Further Activities, I am way too lame to do this. (2) It is already kind of too long. Are there parts that should be paraphrased? --rejoicingapathy

If there's really only a few sentences the same as the original, then the notice can be removed. Otherwise, it's ok to leave the notice, since it notes that it's modified. (Actually, the permission statement isn't clear enough as it doesn't make clear that the writer understood the license; but I won't make a fuss as I think with continued editing, any potential copyvio will disappear.)
I'm not sure how to deal with the page... I feel more comfortable having all this information on different topic pages for each suggestion. Then a kind of overview or guide page like this could be very brief, maybe just a sentence on each suggestion, with a relevant link to an excellent page that can help people with taking action if they need it. --Chriswaterguy 09:30, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Revert[edit]

I reverted it back to the original version, since the article is going the wrong way, see user talk:Chriswaterguy I placed the old version below.

Old version[edit]

This page may require cleanup.
Please discuss this issue on the talk page.

Comment: Very hard to follow. Needs descriptive headers, and paragraphs broken up. But depends on the intention for this page - leave comments/questions on discussion page.


Each person must set up their own personal strategy and standard for appropriate living.  To live appropriately is to live in a manner that is sustainable by the earth and your resources, with the least amount of pollution to the environment and dependence on limited resources.  The quest for appropriate living requires changing portions of one's lifestyle, for example, transportation, work, food production and processing, and possessions, such as converting one's home to an environmentally friendly one.  Steps to live appropriately will vary according to each individual situation. This article will contain general suggestions for appropriate, sustainable living.

Assessing your strategy[edit]

The first step you take is one that you will have to continually make in a quest for appropriate living.  Based on your resources, region, finances, skills, and community, you will make your own analysis of the costs and benefits of lifestyle changes.  You will have to do your own research to know what will be the most successful for you.  This article will hopefully provide suggestions that could be useful to a wide variety of people, but use your own judgment and do your own research.

Recording progress[edit]

Some people find it useful to have a record of their strategy for appropriate living.  This could be a personal notebook or an online blog, or any method that works for you.  A reliable place to record information can be useful to track and remember experiments and research, successes and failures, and ideas for the future.  If you intend to purchase a computer for this purpose, you could research environmentally friendly technological options such as energy-efficient subnotebooks.

Educational resources[edit]

Books, magazines, and websites contain information that will teach you practical skills for living appropriately.  Libraries are a valuable source of information.  You may also learn from friends, neighbors, community members, and organized workshops.

Physical resources[edit]

You will have to acquire new ways and materials of living to make your lifestyle more sustainable.  This might be a small thing, like an energy-efficient light bulb, or large-scale constructional materials, such as for a greenhouse or water collection systems.  Whenever possible, it is ideal to re-use materials that might otherwise have been wasted.  Second-hand stores, civic amenity sites, the freecycle network, and Freegle are good places to obtain resources that would otherwise have to be purchased first-hand. Dumpster diving is a popular way to find a variety of resources that have been discarded by others. Junkyards may be used to obtain car components, pipes, and even less common materials such as wind turbine magnets.

Waste Reduction[edit]

You can reduce waste by substituting less wasteful products into your life, as well as changing what is regarded as waste.  In modern society, people often send discarded resources to landfills or sewage systems rather than reusing, recycling, or composting.  Here, this article suggests responsible techniques for disposing of resources that would otherwise be wasted.

Reusing[edit]

If you intend to downscale or de-clutter your home, you will find materials that you no longer need but could be usefully passed on to a new owner.  These materials should be gathered to distribute to friends, neighbors, the civic amenity siteFreecycle, or any other collection point for second-hand goods.  You can also find new usages for old materials, such as transforming a broken toilet into a garden planter

Recycling[edit]

You will need to research recycling in your own region to discover community recycling pick-up and recycling centers, and what can be recycled using these resources.  You will need to make a system for regularly disposing of recyclables.  Glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper can be recycled in most places.  Batteries and electronics are collected at some recycling centers, so that they do not go to landfills and pollute the soil and water beneath it.

Composting[edit]

Composting is a technique of converting organic material into rich soil for a home lawn or garden. Kitchen waste can be composted in an outdoor compost heap, an indoor or outdoor bin, a worm composting bucket, or other ways.  Yard clippings and livestock manure can also be composted, using larger scale methods. Some regions have local composting centers or pick-up for those who do not know how or have space to compost their own organic scraps.  Composting toilets can transform human manure into rich compost, while also pollution of sewage systems and the waste of fresh drinking water in standard toilets.

Conservation[edit]

Conservation, or protection of resources, is an important way to reduce waste. Each person can make their own ways of conserving water (turning sink off when brushing their teeth, showering less frequently or for less time) as well as other resources by the choices they make. In order to conserve, people must think hard about what resources they waste during the course of ordinary life.

Reduced waste disposal[edit]

Try to reduce your acquisition of materials that will become waste. This is especially true when you are purchasing materials first-hand. For example, individually wrapped candies will have more plastic waste than a large sweet. When acquiring large possessions such as furniture, obtain materials that you expect to last and preserve them against damage by water, insects, rodents, and sunlight.

Depending on where and how you live, some waste might be burnt (such as scrap wood, diseased crops, cardboard) or buried. When burying materials, be aware of groundwater and soil contamination. If you have access to a landfill, it may be preferable to use it than contaminate your own land.

Resource consumption[edit]

When it comes to yourself and your household, you will make daily decisions about what resources to use and how to use them.  On a small scale, you can fashion your life to rely on appropriate sustainable resources.  Think about what you eat, where you live, and what resources your lifestyle utilizes. All people need air, fresh water, food, and shelter in order to survive. Beyond survival, people strive for an enjoyable life that can be easily maintained, and it is possible to appreciate this without excessive resource consumption. Every person is intertwined in systems that provide them with resources for their lifestyle. In Western society, these systems often involve huge multinational corporations, extensive shipping by land and sea, and corporate retail stores. While many people cannot eliminate the influence of these systems, everyone can attempt to become more self-sufficient and environmentally conscious. At the same time that you think of ways to eliminate waste, you can also think of ways that you can provide natural, sustainable, appropriate resources to replace unsustainable lifestyle materials.

Depending on your needs and plans, you may find that you could best reduce your ecological footprint by re-locating. This might mean leaving a suburban area for an urban area where you have access to more discarded or second-hand materials, or leaving an urban area for a rural off-the-grid setup where you have the ability to harvest your own food and power. Determine what kind of location is right for you.

Local and community systems may already be in place to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle. If not, you could help introduce new systems to your community. Free stores, farmer's markets, community education, and public libraries are just some of the resources that could help your community live in a more sustainable way.

Income[edit]

In modern developed countries, many people work at jobs that have little or no positive impact on their communities and lives in order to gain financial benefits. In your search for income, try to focus on meaningful jobs that positively effect your community, environment, or other area that you feel strongly about.

There are many volunteer opportunities for those who are financially able to take them. These may be organized by local or national government, or non-governmental organizations. WWOOF and helpx are two international organizations that allow hosts to register for volunteers to live on their organic farms or homesteads, learn skills involved in running the farm or homestead, and provide the volunteers with food and shelter.

People who own land may be able to provide themselves with most necessities of life and trade or barter for any additional resources, without relying on monetary income.

Shelter[edit]

You want to live in a place with access to fresh water and food, as close as possible to your place of work or other places you may frequently commute, and in a location where you can enjoy yourself and follow your plan for appropriate living. You may live alone, but it is more resource-effective and economical to live in a group.

You may buy land with no home and build your own shelter, or rent an apartment with no land, depending on your personal circumstances and requirements. An empty industrial building or complex can be rented and renovated for residential usage. If you want to live in a large communal setting, complete abandoned villages may be usurped. On a small scale, squatting can find you a home in urban areas free of charge, but check your local laws and regulations.

If you make your own home, determine appropriate construction technique and materials to build your home.  This should be based on your land, climate, and your financial and natural resources.  While lumber can be harmful to the environment and is less insulating than other options, a log cabin is a viable option if you own forested land.  You could use discarded materials that may otherwise go to a landfill, such as in Earthship construction. Cob building requires only clay, sand, straw, and water, which can often be found on-site. Find the style of building that works for your life and your site.

Mobile homes[edit]

You can purchase a pre-made mobile home or recreational vehicle new or second-hand. You can also use do-it-yourself techniques to convert unused materials from junkyards into your own mobile home. Engine conversion and rigging the vehicle with self-sufficiency systems may could be done in large vehicles, such as school buses. Your home will depend on the resources and materials you have access to.

Houseboats and float houses are another way to maintain mobility of your home. Older boats, damaged boats, and confiscated boats by the Navy can obtained for low cost and modified so that they are suitable to live in. While powering a boat using a conventional gasoline engine is very energy-inefficient, boats can also be powered using sails or environmental/zero-emission engines. They may even be fitted with self-sufficiency systems.

One drawback of a mobile home is that, without access to land, certain provisions such as food production and large-scale composting will be difficult or impossible to implement.

Transportation[edit]

Transportation is necessary to get yourself and your resources around.

Human- and animal-powered transportation[edit]

For local personal transportation, human-powered vehicles are ideal: bicycles, skiing, and skates are some options. To transport greater capacity, you can use self-pulled wagons, sleds, or bicycles fitted with trailers. These forms of transportation are ideal because they have minimal environmental impact and are a source of healthy exercise, but they may not be appropriate for long distances, heavy or bulky freight, or large groups of people. Velomobiles are one human-powered possibility to transport materials.

When available, animals can be used to supplement transportation. Camels, horses, and other animals can be ridden for further distances and faster than a human can walk. Draft animals such as horses, oxen, and donkeys can be used to pull carts.

Powered transportation[edit]

In order to transport yourself and resources, you may need to utilize transportation powered by electricity, fossil fuels, or alternative power methods. Keep in mind what your lifestyle will require you to transport. If you are going to purchase a vehicle, make sure it is not larger than you require. Weigh options of energy efficiency, cost, and emissions in order to determine what is right for your lifestyle.

Alternative power transportation ideas[edit]

There are many experimental and alternative ideas to modern transportation. Alternative fuels and transportation can be seen in compressed air vehicles which run off of compressed air, vehicles converted to run off of hydrogen, oxyhydrogen or liquid nitrogen ICE, vehicles with pre-existing diesel or biodisel engines that can be re-outfitted to run off of waste vegetable oil, cars converted to run off of electric energy, and vehicles that can use hydrogen fuel cell or flywheel energy storage-powered engine, which are emissionless.

You could build a do-it-yourself car (from a kit or entirely custom-made, as with the locost-car), or build a sand rail or buggy yourself. These do-it-yourself-conversions and vehicle building options are only possible if you live in a country where this is legally allowed.

Mass transit[edit]

Taking mass or public transportation is more energy-efficient than using personal transit. Urban and suburban areas often have buses and/or rail transportation available to the public. Carpooling or other forms of communal transport can reduce pollution from vehicle emissions.

Food and drink[edit]

Food and drink are resources that all people need. There are a variety of ways to produce your own food in a sustainable way. Food produced at home or in the local community is more sustainable than food that must be shipped or trucked long distances.

Dietary decisions[edit]

In order to live in a more sustainable way, there are diets that will allow you to reduce your pressure on the environment. If you are obtaining food from outside sources, your decisions on what to consume will determine the environmental impact of your diet.

Vegetarian and veganism are one way that people reduce their dietary footprint. This decreases the carbondioxide requirements needed for the food's production. In addition, it will allow us other benefits as increased health. Further advantages are that we can decrease our expenses, increase our self-sufficiency, decrease dishwashing-efforts (less fat leads to less scrubbing) and increase shelf life of the products.

Freeganism is the practice of eating foods that would otherwise go to waste, such as by dumpster diving. This reduces landfill waste and provides a low-cost option to obtain nutrition.

Organic food is an emerging market in the developed world, and still a common production technique in the developing world as it has been for thousands of years. Organic foods are produced without using chemical pesticides, growth hormones, or genetic modification. Organic foods can be found at local farmer's markets, or increasingly in grocery stores. You should make yourself aware of your government's standards for organic food, which may allow some chemicals and pesticides to be used.

Agriculture[edit]

Practicing sustainable agriculture is one method of producing your own food supplies. This can be a small container garden or your own forest garden. There are many ways of producing your own food in an environmentally safe, appropriate way depending on your resources of land, time, money, materials, and climate.

Xeriscaping techniques are used to reduce the amount that you must water your garden, saving both water and your time. It is preferable to use plants native to your environment, which often need less watering and have beneficial effects on the insects, bacteria, and other environmental features of your garden. Biological pest control reduces or eliminates the need for chemical pesticides. Forest gardening is another method to mimic the natural cycles of a forest in nature in order to create a sustainable system to feed humans and animals. This provides a natural environment for beneficial plants, animals, fungus, and bacteria.

Animal husbandry[edit]

Animals can be raised for human usage in meat, eggs, milk, and other animal products such as wool and manure. A variety of animals are across different areas of the world.

Beekeeping is a way to produce honey and also provide pollination for your crops and local wildlife. Silk worms can produce textiles.

Large livestock such as cattle, goats, swine, camels, llamas, sheep, and others can be used based on your local bioregion and your pasture access. Some of these livestock can produce milk, which can be used in baking, dairy products duch as cheese-making, and drinks. It can also be used as livestock feed, such as for pigs.  Small livestock such as rabbits, iguanas, frogs, pigeons, and more can be easy to raise with a higher meat yield for small land usage.  Poultry such as chickens are very common on small homesteads, and can even be used in urban lots or other instances of limited space. There are many guides on keeping chickens and ducks for meat and egg production.  Aquaculture involves animals such as fish that can be raised in aquariums, or outdoors in natural or man-made water sources.

Besides meat, milk and eggs, animals also produce a variety of usable resources. All animals produce manure for compost. Some animals can work for your benefit, such as by pulling a plow, clearing land and eating invasive weeds, consuming household refuse, or protecting yourself and livestock from predators. Animals can also produce textiles such as hides, feathers, wool and fur. Animals form social groups and provide companionship for each other and their human caretakers.

Food foraging[edit]

Food can be foraged from wild-growing plants, discarded or wasted food sources, and other places. Dumpster diving is one way to forage for food in urban and suburban areas. Dumpsters may also contain organic material appropriate for composting in order to produce fertilizer for home crops. Fish and other aquatic foods can be obtained from lakes, rivers, and oceans. Deer, fowl, and other game animals can also supplement a diet.

Food storage and processing[edit]

Food preservation is important in order to keep a steady supply of food following a harvest. There are many different ways to preserve food, based on what it is and how long you need to preserve it. When processing food, it is often desirable to add herbs, spices, and other additions so that you have variety to your foods. You should think about recipes you would enjoy in order to create a plan to grow or otherwise obtain these food additives.

Dehydration eliminates moisture to prevent food from rotting. A solar dehydrator is one way to dehydrate food products. Dry beans and grains can be stored for very long periods of time.

Canning preserves food by using high heat to kill organisms and keeping the food in an air-tight sealed container. Meat, vegetables, fruits and more can be canned.

Pickling or salting/brining can reduce damaging organisms in food in order to preserve it.

Refrigeration can chill food to slow decay processes using commercially available refrigerators, cold storage, or any other method of chilling food.

Smoking is a method of preserving meats and cheeses.

Nutrient recycling[edit]

When you have land where you can live and produce food, you want to make sure that you keep your soil healthy and conserve your resources. Graywater limits your fresh water usage while providing water and nutrients to plant life. Compost kitchen scraps, garden and yard trimmings, and human and animal manure in order to provide your soil with the nutrients it needs to produce abundant, healthy growth. It will keep costs low and lowers the need for additional watering, which reduces the size of your water collection system. In order to practice this, you must research a variety of topics, learning how to create a balanced compost, maintain fertile soil by crop rotation and other methods, and determine the best nutritional diet for yourself, your home, your livestock, and your crops.

Water[edit]

Depending where you are, you may get water from rain water, local water treatment facilities, a well, or fresh water sources.

Rainwater harvesting requires you to catch rain water from a source (such as a roof) and collect it into an appropriate container. You may also include filters to make the water potable, and pumps or a gravity system to remove the water.

Wells and fresh water source treatment varies on your region, possible water contamination, and all sorts of other things. Local water hook-up is for professionals. Please consult experts.

Graywater treatment is a method of re-using water, such as using waste water from a sink or laundry to flush the toilet or irrigate a garden. It lowers the amount of fresh water your household will require, but you may also need to eliminate harsh chemicals from your used water.

Heat and power[edit]

A home should have some way to provide you with heat (for cooking food and warming the home in temperate areas), and may also have mechanical or electrical power for lighting or appliances. In developed areas, most homes are hooked up to an electrical grid where power generating stations provide energy from coal, natural gas, nuclear fission, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, or solar sources. There are several forms of appropriate energy and off the grid options for those who would like to decrease or eliminate their dependency on grid power.

Energy efficiency[edit]

One important step to appropriate living is to reduce your energy consumption patterns. Research appropriate technology that could reduce your consumption. For example, there are many techniques to make heating your home more efficient by reducing the area to be heated and using passive heating such as trombe walls, increased insulation, heat and cold storage with a heat pump, or earth sheltering.

Electrical appliances should be created and used as efficiently as possible. Research before buying to find energy-efficient appliances. Some appliances can be created without the need for electrical energy. There are many ways to cook food, such as a solar cooker which heats food using heat from the sun. You must decide what appliances are necessary to your lifestyle and find the most appropriate technology to obtain it.

Alternative power sources[edit]

Many people desire an alternative to grid power for home and community power consumption.  Wood can be used in fireplaces and airtight or improved cook stoves.  This can be used to heat a home or water systems as well as cook food. Solar power can be used to heat water or food, or to generate electricity. Wind turbines and windmills convert wind energy into usable power.  Water can be converted into electricity or used as mechanical power, such as for a water mill.  Generators can produce electricity using natural gas or petroleum resources. These fossil fuels can also be burnt for heat, such as in a propane stove.

Health and safety[edit]

Living appropriately requires that you take care of your health and safety. Your diet should provide you with adequate nutrition and you should frequently engage in physical exercise. You should have access to health care professionals and health education. You may benefit from recreational sports or other exercise programs such as yoga.

Further activities[edit]

Living appropriately is not just about work and subsistence. There are hobbies and fun that can fit within an appropriate lifestyle. Included here are just some suggestions for environmentally sustainable, energy conserving or otherwise appropriate recreational and productive activities.

Textile projects, such as Spinning wool into thread, dying your own yarn and cloth, weaving cloth on a loom, and knitting, can be a creative exercise as well as a functional way to make your own items of clothing.

Games of chance and skill, such as dice, card games or board games such as chess or backgammon.

Dance and musical instruments are a popular creative diversion.

This information was obtained and modified from the source document at Instructables: 9 simple measures to become green, healthy and socially responsible with the writer's permission. Pictures accompanying the document are available at http://picasaweb.google.be/environmentalprojects; a selection of these (e.g. in CGI form available from wikipedia/wikimedia commons) can be added to the document. The zip file falls outside of Appropedia but is also published as open-source and may be freely downloaded, modified and copied