Sustainable living embodies the effort to reduce damage to the environment and conserve natural resources. Opting for green choices can make a big difference, especially when thousands of people are committed to taking those same steps. Conserving natural resources can also make the economy stronger and create economic opportunity for citizen across the globe.
Fossil fuels, like coal, crude oil and natural gas, are nonrenewable resources that exist in finite quantities. Every unit consumed today reduces the amount available for future generations. Walking, biking or using public transportation instead of taking the car can help conserve these natural resources. Purchasing locally grown food can reduce the use of fossil fuels needed to transport goods to market. Replacing old appliances with energy-efficient models and using power derived from the wind, sun, water or biofuels also conserves fossil fuels .
With much of the United States frequently experiencing abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions, we have plenty of incentive to protect limited water supplies. Consider taking a few key actions to conserve this natural resource. Check indoor appliances and plumbing fixtures for leaks regularly and get them fixed immediately. Replace toilets manufactured before 1992 for the most current efficiency available. Purchase an Energy Star-rated clothes washer to use 35 to 50 percent less water per load. Select plants for the yard that are appropriate for local climate conditions, change watering times seasonally and maintain the irrigation system.
Annual catches from oceans and freshwater fisheries have been mostly flat in recent years, indicating that fisheries have reached peak production and are in danger of over-exploitation. To protect this resource, purchase fish harvested in the United States where fisheries are continuously monitored, improved and sustainable. Both farmed and wild-caught fish populations from the United States fall under environmental and health regulations, making both healthful, ecologically sound choices. Additional protective actions can include staying informed with up-to-date, credible resources and buying international seafood products from knowledgeable, reputable dealers.
Although trees are a renewable natural resource, if the rate of extraction exceeds the reproductive capacity of the tree species, the world's forests can still be depleted. Reducing the need for timber and its related products can be done in many ways. First, cut back on the amount of things purchased to prevent waste. Second, reuse and repair items whenever possible. Recycle paper, cardboard, newspapers, magazines and old telephone books. When making any purchase, opt for items that are made from recycled or reused resources with little or no packaging.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Pick 5 for the Environment: Air
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Pick 5 for the Environment: Energy
- U.S. Drought Monitor: University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Data Archive: Tables
- Water Saver Home: Top 5 Actions to Save Water, Money and Energy Now!
- World Trade Organization: World Trade Report 2010: Natural Resources: Definitions, Trade Patterns and Globalization
- NOAA Fisheries: Fish Watch: Choosing Sustainable
- NOAA Fisheries: Office of Aquaculture: 10 Myths About Marine Aquaculture
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Pick 5 for the Environment: Waste
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