The 2016 Great NEWS posts are dedicated to Holistic Habits to help us be happy, healthy and in harmony with nature. Frequent posts have focused on the health hazards we face and the disease and distress that results. This post offers simple steps to consciously reduce our carbon footprint in 2017 and beyond. We are all facing a wide variety of biological, ecological, immunological, neurological, pharmaceutical, physiological, psychological and toxicological health hazards because of our unhealthy choices for people and the planet. When we focus on healthy habits to guide our behaviors, beliefs and rituals toward emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well being we pre-program our body and brain for success.
This post closes out 2016 with specific solutions, strategies and suggestions which are helpful to consciously reduce our carbon footprint in 2017 and beyond. Implementing these ideas will help avoid, minimize and mitigate many behaviors and lifestyle choices which are detrimental to our world. With the large number of people on the planet facing food, health, shelter and water challenges this post is dedicated to helping more people live better with less negative impact. When each of us takes steps to protect the planet we all benefit.
We must learn to identify the primary environmental and health hazards and then design mastery action plans to minimize their impact to our happiness, health and well being. We all know that the degradation, destruction, misuse, overuse, pollution and waste of resources causes pain and suffering so it is time to focus on the solutions to prevent and reverse these negative forces. Since our environment, lifestyle and nutrition are three of the most serious factors contributing to our health this post is dedicated to simple strategies and small steps we can all take to do our part. With my degree and passion in Biology and Environmental Studies since the 70’s it is evident that as an environmentalist and “tree hugger” these topics are regularly in my deeds and thoughts. Now more than ever before in history it is time for each of us to “think globally, act locally”.
Conscious Change and Healthy Habits
Since too many people are sad, sick, stressed and struggling we must focus on creating new behaviors and beliefs to establish healthy habits which will benefit people and the planet alike. If chemicals and synthetic compounds in the air, food, land and water are health hazards we must reduce, re mediate and remove them to the best of our ability. Since we are the ones buying, creating, designing, manufacturing and using the things that harm our environment we must be the ones to change our destructive habits. Gandhi said “you must be the change you want to see in the world“. We must do our part and work together to implement a detailed protection and restoration plan for our world that provides maximum environmental and health benefits with the minimum cost and effort.
We are all facing various environmental and health challenges due to poor choices we have made. Therefore if our past behaviors and choices created the problems new choices and decisions can help resolve them. It is time for a re-evolution to a higher level of thinking. This post will share some super solutions, strategies, suggestions and systems to better preserve and protect our planet. It is a listing of the best of the best ideas, insights and information that each of us can do to make a difference. Imagine how great things will be when we each begin to consciously and unconsciously do our part to minimize health hazards while maximizing helpful holistic health habits to improve our emotional, mental, nutritional, physical and spiritual well being.
Prevent Pollution to Protect People and Planet
By creating an Earth Day mindset to protect the planet and a code of conduct with a mastery action plan we set the stage for success and sustainability. Without a code of conduct we allow pollution, profits and problems to control and dominate our life. Many companies and individuals are determined to take advantage of us for their own gain, glory and greed. Big bucks and big corporations are eager to sell us stuff that leave us stuck with the sad situations and serious side effects. This post will focus on a comprehensive list of specific solutions, strategies, suggestions and systems to set a better standard which will enhance our harmony, happiness, health and quality of life
Healthy and Helpful Habits
Here is a list of solutions, strategies, suggestions and systems to implement to consciously reduce our carbon footprint.
- Whether you think you can make a difference or you think you can’t make a difference you are right. Our behaviors and beliefs determine our reality. When we make better ecological and environmental choices we enjoy a happy, healthy and holistic life. When we make damaging and dangerous choices for our ecology and environment we will be unhappy, unhealthy and unnatural. When would now be a great time to decide to be a force for good and find how many ways we can stop hurting the planet and start helping the planet instead? Remember everything we come in contact with, do, drink, eat, say, see, smell, taste, think and touch directly and indirectly affects every cell in our body and the equilibrium of all people on the planet. Choose wisely.
- Think globally, act locally is a well known environmental friendly and green philosophy. It reminds us to think about the global consequences of our decisions while working to improve things on a local level. David Brower the founder of Earth Day is credited with coining the term. We must adopt a mindset to: reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle, repair, re-purpose, recover, reject and rethink everything.
- Agriculture, chemicals, construction, man made structures and transportation are the biggest consumers of energy and producers of pollution. Are current systems are not sustainable. We must begin to redesign, re-engineer and rethink how we access resources in the most sustainable way. We must adopt policies where everyone receives a fair share and stop those that consume and waste more than their fair share.
Avoid taking long showers and using big rain shower heads. Use a water saver shower head to reduce the amount of water being used and take a short shower. Remember there is chlorine in the water and the longer you are in the water and the warmer the water the more chlorine your skin will absorb. When you use water during the day remember that many people around the world do not even have easy access to clean drinking water. We must reduce our water footprint to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Many areas of the world could benefit from less flush toilets and more composting toilets. Flush toilets waste an incredible amount of clean water that could be better used for drinking water and growing food. More people could benefit from using black water and grey water treatment systems.
- Never put prescription medicines, chemicals or synthetic compounds down a sink or toilet. These end up in water water treatment plants and ultimately polluting our water ways. Even toilet bowl cleaners, blue chemicals and liquid plummer damage our environment. Constipation is big problem and one of the main causes of stopped up toilets. Constipation indicates a health issue which needs diet and nutrition coaching for resolution.
- Dish washing soaps and laundry detergents are a significant source of water pollution. Find eco brands and use less. Hand washing of clothes in streams with commercial soaps is very polluting. Our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans are being polluted and coral reefs destroyed by this practice. Many people waste a lot of electricity, energy and water washing clothes. Learn how to be as efficient as possible and use the least amounts of resources necessary. More people could use natural means like air or solar clothes drying that would save a fortune in energy. Do you need hot water to wash your clothes or will cold water work just as well. Most of the energy used in the washing machine cycle involves heating the water. Often the washing machine is quite a distance from the hot water heater wasting a lot of water to deliver the hot water. Typical hot water heater tanks waste a lot of energy and money keeping the water hot 24 hours a day. Consider replacing them with an on demand hot water heater that heats water to meet demand as needed. Placing on demand water heaters near the sink, shower or washer save massive amounts of energy. Many gallons of water are wasted every time a person turns on hot water and has to wait for cold water to run first before the hot water can arrive. Solar water heaters are also an excellent choice in many areas of the world.
- Turn off lights that are not being used. It is amazing to see the number of lights left on in businesses, commercial buildings and homes at night. Look at a google map of earth and night and you will see a massive waste of energy and money as the world is flooded with night light pollution.
- Turn off and unplug your desktop monitor and processor when not in use. A lot of phantom energy is wasted keeping monitors on when they are not being used. More current computer models and especially the Chromebook and Chromebox can save a lot of wasted energy compared to larger and older units. My Chromebox takes up less space and uses less power compared to the big desktop predecessor. Unplug electric devices when not it use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, many appliances consume a significant amount of “phantom” electricity even when they are turned off.
- Avoid buying plastic water bottles. Plastic water bottles are unhealthy and most end up in land fills or as litter. Buy a water filter system instead and create clean water placed in ceramic, glass, stainless steel or last resort recycled BPA free plastic. Most bottled water is tap water that has been run through a filter and then put into a plastic bottle that leaches unhealthy compounds into the water. These are not good for the environment or you.
Buy in season and locally grown nutrient dense organic whole foods. This will save a lot of fossil fuels used to transport goods. Additional money is wasted on chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides that harm people and the planet. It will also save a lot of money on refrigeration, storage and transportation costs. The same concept is important for other goods and services as well. Shipping produce around the world or across a large country is not sustainable and is very wasteful.
- Use natural sunlight where feasible and possible. There are many creative ways to direct and redirect sunlight. Replace florescent light bulbs and Compact Florescent Light (CFL) bulbs with LED bulbs. CFL bulbs contain mercury and create a hazmat situation if broken. Use devices, dimmers, sensors and timers to cut your electric use. Use a solar sensor and timer to turn outdoor lights off and on.
- Growing lush green lawns and ornamental plants in ones yard may win Yard of the Month but it is definitely the opposite of eco or green. Growing natural landscape that is disease resistant and drought tolerant is a great alternative. Many people use sprinkler systems that waste a lot of clean drinking water. Using rain catchment is a great way to harness excess rain and save it for another day. More people could grow small organic victory gardens in their back yards. What if every decent size back yard had a few chickens, some fruit trees and a small garden to provide basics like cucumbers, eggs, figs, fruits, herbs, lemons, limes, nuts, onions, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes. Imagine yards full of flowering plants to feed bees, birds, butterflies and people. Even growing herbs could save a lot of money and provide valuable medicinal plants and spices.
- Imagine the possibilities when all community centers, green spaces, parks and vacant lots provided gardens, flowers and food forests. We would feed many families and homeless people with the items grown and produced. My First Colony Community Association has wasted many millions of dollars because the developer planted ornamental pear trees with a short life span (25 years) that required excess removal, replacement and trimming. Long term planning and planting prevents wasting valuable money and time. There are many trees that live for over 100 years and provide compost, food, fruit, nuts and seeds. Our community has also wasted millions of dollars in removal and repairs because the developer used poor judgement in the planning of sidewalks and streets and the planting of oak trees too close to infrastructure. Those many millions of dollars would have been better invested with proper planning and planting using permaculture principles.
- Learn to more efficient control with the gas pedal foot when driving to optimize gas efficiency. It has been estimated that 20 to 30% of the fuel efficiency of a vehicle is determined by our driving behavior, habits and style. Learning to take our foot off the accelerator earlier to allow the engine to naturally decelerate the engine will reduce braking and conserve gas consumption. Also avoid excessive acceleration at traffic lights. This is especially important if driving faster will then result in more braking at the next traffic light. Aggressive driving wastes am excessive amount of expensive fuel.
- Combine short errands and to do trips into more efficient routes. Most people do not realize how much gas is wasted to start a car, warm the engine or cool it with AC, drive a short distance for a quick errand and then head back home. Every time you run one quick errand your are wasting fuel, money and time. Keep checklists in your smart phone for each store your frequent on a regular basis. This is a great way to remember and remind our self of the items you want to have in stock at home.
- Use all forms of mass transit available. Buses, car pooling, ride share, shuttles, subways, trams, trains and vans offer a very efficient transportation system and reduce fuel wasting vehicles stuck in traffic. On a recent trip to the Dallas Convention Center I flew into the DFW Airport and took the train into downtown and then walked several blocks to the hotel and convention. Yes it took a bit longer than a shuttle or taxi but I saved significant money and helped support the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system. Dallas and Denver are way ahead of Austin, Houston and San Antonio when it comes to an integrated mass transit system.
- Choose clean and renewable energy options when offered. Geothermal, hydroelectric, rocket stove mass heater, passive, solar, tidal and wind help reduce our dependency on coal, gas, nuclear and petroleum products.
- Use passive energy saving design ideas for making our homes and offices more effective and efficient at maintaining a comfortable temperature. Simple things like the direction of the sun shining on walls and windows, location and type of trees and building insulation and materials make a major difference of energy usage. Putting our water heater device near where it is needed versus running long lines and pipes that waste excess cold water and energy trying to send warm water to where it is needed. Solar water heating is a great choice.
- You can also maintain a routine of energy saving habits with the choices of blinds, ceiling fans, curtains, doors, fans, lights, panel curtains, passive design, programmable thermostats, roman shades, shades, space heaters, tinting, windows, zone modification and other strategies to maximize passive temperature control and minimize wasted energy consumption. By blocking the sun out or allowing it in you can greatly influence the inside temperature. Curtains are easy ways to help keep a house cooler or warmer. Pre-setting our programmable thermostat to adjust our temperature needs can save a massive amount of energy over time. Nest thermostats allow you to remotely adjust and monitor your home while away.
- Passive home design, construction and landscaping is one of the easiest strategies we can all do to create more energy efficient homes. There are numerous books and websites that share thousands of ideas and suggestions.
- Replace single pane glass windows with double pane and tinted windows. A house with tinted double pane glass windows will save a fortune when cooling and heating a home. Think of the savings over decades of use and you will find they pay for themselves in a short time.
Make your attic and home more energy efficient by updating and upgrading it and your air delivery systems. By adding additional insulation, a radiant barrier and solar powered vents we cut our electric bill in half during the hot summer months. The energy tax credit and savings have paid for the entire upgrade. Our house can now be listed as an energy saver home upon listing which brings a premium benefit.
- Driving less with wasteful transportation and riding more with energy efficient transportation. This includes using less: wasteful trips in a car, big cars and trucks, one passenger commutes, V8 engines, SUV’s, traffic while also using more: efficient engines, passengers per vehicle, mass transit, aerodynamic designs, eco efficient transportation, bicycles, buses and trains.
- Better bicycles, ebikes, velomobiles and electric cars are desperately needed to greatly reduce the number of fossil fuel burning vehicles on the roads. Check out this exciting video on Pod Ride to see modern creativity, innovation and technology at its best.
- Planting and promoting commercial hemp may be one of the best ways to reduce our global carbon footprint. Hemp grows fast on poor soil and can provide massive materials for eco friendly and green clothing, construction, fabrics, hempcrete, homes, paper, plastics and products. We could prevent a lot of trees from being cut down each year for making homes and paper products.
- Homes must be designed and engineered to be more energy efficient and longer lasting with a smaller carbon footprint. Dwell Earth Compressed Stabilized Earth Block (CSEB) homes are some of the most energy efficient and effective ways to build better homes for the long term. James Hallock is a builder in Texas with over 20 years of experience building compressed earth block homes.
- Permaculture is the solution to our destructive and fossil fuel intensive big agriculture and mono crop farming problems. Organic Permaculture can produce more locally grown organic nutrient dense whole foods on less land with minimal or no need for fossil fuels. We can solve a majority of the worlds problems with organic permaculture gardens. Geoff Lawton is a great resource and teacher of permaculture principles. When more people learn to grow more of their own food in a sustainable way we will reach the tipping point for transforming the environment and quality of life for people and the planet.
We intuitively understand that better behaviors, beliefs and habits lead to better benefits and rapid results for the health of people and the planet. Are you ready to start doing more of the Helpful Stuff and stop the Harmful Stuff? Thanks for all you are doing to consciously reduce our carbon footprint.
This Healthy Habits post is dedicated to sharing simple steps for simple and sustainable health and well being. Our body, mind and spirit are being exposed to a harsh and harmful environment which is causing damage, degradation and destruction. These simple suggestions will help stop the debilitating damage and start defending our body, mind and spirit against the excessive health hazards we are constantly exposed to. This Code of Conduct for Holistic Health will transform our life when we decide to implement the simple strategies and suggestions.
What is your current Gap?
What behaviors and beliefs are harming the health of people and the planet? What justification and rationalization story do you tell others and your self? Unfortunately many people are doing things they know are harming the environment and trying to justify, minimize or rationalize it. Our planet is the only home we have. Our habits and habitat determines our current and future health. What are you doing to create a code of conduct for better behaviors, beliefs and healthy habits? What will it take for you to begin protecting your self and the planet from damage, degradation and destruction? Are you ready to do your part to enjoy the benefits of repairing, reversing and revitalizing our planet?
Mastery Action Plan (MAP)
It is well documented that better beliefs and behaviors are essential for maintaining our global health and well being. There is a wealth of wisdom on the internet regarding the health hazards of our modern world. You will find great healthy habits information in other posts on this website to help you enjoy peak performance and perfect health. When we do our part to invest the energy, money and time to learn how to maintain and protect people and our planet we will see how a health habits code of conduct and mastery action plan will enhance our quality of life. Are you ready to do your part for rapid results?
Call to Action
What comments, commitments or concerns come to mind regarding the many benefits of stopping the health hazards and starting the healthy habits to refresh, renew, restore and revitalize our planet? Are you ready to learn more and do your part to consciously reduce our carbon footprint?
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Master Planned Community or Master Planned Con?