10 Personal Steps to Sustainability

posted Sunday, April 6, 2008        

This list was developed in response to public demand for information about what ordinary citizens can do now to get started on the process of sustainability.

(Just for comparison you might wish to read the article Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society, on this website under Articles.)

Ten Top Things to Do to Make Tucson Sustainable attempts to answer this question: How can we motivate hundreds of thousands of people, beginners and advanced sustainability thinkers alike, to develop sustainable daily habits?

Top Ten Things To Do To Make Tucson Sustainable

Photo: Step 1 Harvest and conserve water(1) Harvest and conserve water
Step One: Remove non-native species from your yard (like grass and oleanders) and replace with native plants watered as much as possible by rainwater only.
At full sustainability Tucsonans will have cisterns, composting toilets, neighborhood water harvesting, and comprehensive water education.

2(2) Use the sun’s energy
Step One: Hang your laundry to dry in the sun.
Note: Some communities have restrictions against hanging out laundry.
At full sustainability Tucson will derive all its electricity and transportation from solar energy.

(3) Eat local and native foods
Step One: Visit a farmers market.
Note: Farmers Markets are listed in Tucson Weekly.
At full sustainability Tucson will have a Food Security Council to ensure access to healthy food for all Tucsonans. Large daily farmers markets with bioregional products will supplement neighborhood food production and neighborhood desert food harvesting.

(4) Work outdoors with neighbors
Step One: Organize a neighborhood walk/doorknocking to discover neighborhood assets
and what projects interest your neighbors.
Note: For tips on organizing neighborhood doorknockings, contact Pro Neighborhoods,
(520) 882-5885.
At full sustainability every neighborhood will be safe for pedestrians and bicyclists, have a workable plan for emergencies which cares for all dependents, and engage in sustainable urban food production.

(5) Ride bicycle or walk to your eco-village hub
Step One: Identify your local commercial hub and do errands there without using fossil
fuel; take public transit if your destination is further or you are physically challenged.
Note: As you walk and bike your neighborhood you may notice places which need shade trees. These locations can become urban agriforestry projects.
At full sustainability Tucson will be organized into 60 to 80 complete eco-villages in which people walk or bike. These eco-villages will be connected by a comprehensive system of bike paths which do not mingle with auto traffic.

fresh-lemons.jpg(6) Plant A Food Bearing Tree
Step One: Dig a hole and bust through the caliche.
Note: This is more fun if you dig with friends and throw a party when the tree is planted. Get hold of a caliche bar. Contact Tucson Botanical Gardens or Tucson Organic Gardeners for best species of trees to plant in your location.
At full sustainability Tucson will be an edible urban forest.

(7) Save food scraps and compost with worms
Step One: Build a simple home made “worm farm.” Many websites teach how, e.g.:
Note: Worms create worm castings and worm juice which are rich plant food.
At full sustainability Tucson’s home kitchens, restaurants and cafeteries will be connected by a comprehensive composting program.

(8) Grow food in home garden or community garden
Step One: Contact Tucson’s Community Food Bank or Tucson Organic Gardeners for
information on how to grow food.
Note: We can garden year round in Tucson. Water is our limiting factor; therefore, water harvesting for gardening is crucial. Sustainable Tucson highly recommends Brad
Lancaster’s book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, available at Antigone Books, Silverbell Trading, and through Sustainable Tucson in case quantities.
At full sustainability, Tucson and the Sonoran bioregion will be largely food self-sufficient.

(9) Educate yourself and Tucson’s representatives about sustainability.
Step One: Read the voter’s guide when elections are coming up. Who takes sustainable
positions on solar and wind energy, mass transit, bike paths, water conservation?
Note: Sustainability education is enjoyable in a group. Potlucks are a wonderful way to share books, DVD’s, videos, and ideas with each other. Why not start a group in your neighborhood? Then invite a person running for office.
At full sustainability any school child will be able to tell a visitor to Tucson how our
sustainable city works.

(10) Become an entrepreneur in the growing sustainable economy
Step One: Identify your own art/passion/potential product or service.
Note: Many entrepreneurs (self-employed people) market products and services.
At full sustainability, Tucson (including its bioregion) will be mostly self-sufficient for
water, food, energy, and transportation. Tucson’s sustainable infrastructure will need to be planned, installed, and maintained by local businesses attuned to our city’s terrain and culture. Tucson will have a local credit clearing house which keeps our region’s financial resources circulating locally.

Written by Nicole Christine, Bob Cook, Tom Greco, Lindianne Sarno, & Joanie Sawyer.
©Sustainable Tucson 2006.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

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