[permaculture] [Fwd: Personal Sustainability

Robert Waldrop rmwj at soonernet.com
Sun Aug 11 22:31:54 EDT 2002

I think it is definitely possible to live more sustainably in the
city.  As to how far one can go, I don't think that is known right
now, and undoubtedly varies from place to place.  We're raising more
than 100 varieties of edible and useful plants on the former lawn of
our duplex on a corner lot in a working class Oklahoma City
neighborhood.  Three years ago when we started this journey, we were
throwing away 2 full city garbage containers of trash every week, and
sometimes even more, plus 2 blue containers of recyclables.  Plus
every 3 months a bunch of big stuff on 'big trash day'.  Now we throw
away less than half of a city garbage container each week, and one
recycling container.  Our summer electricity consumption used to be
around 2000 kilowatt hours/month, now it floats around 500 kilowatt
hours/month in the summer, and less than 250 kwh/month in the winter.

We used to buy all of our food at the grocery store.  Now, just about
everything we eat is either grown ourselves or bought from a local
farmer or rancher (this includes meat, dairy, eggs).  We bought a
year's supply of grain for flour from a farmer earlier this summer.
We used to travel a lot, mostly long road trips.  Now we don't do
that.  We used to buy our clothes at Wal Mart, now we shop at thrift
stores and have a local seamstress sew us shirts on occasion.

We still have a long ways to go. Even though we've reduced our trash
and recycling, we still generate too much.  We're haven't finished
superinsulating our 1929 era duplex.  2/3rds of our garden is in
perennials, so we are still 2 or 3 years away from really increasing
that harvest (although I did eat our first homegrown apple today.)
I've bought some books on cob building, and am thinking we should
build a cob outdoor oven.  We still drive, although we are walking
more. Since we don't live in the suburbs, if it wasn't for work, I
could live without a vehicle, as shopping, eating, Oklahoma City's
"Asian District", entertainment (several nice little bars, an acoustic
music hall), church, and a university library are within walking
distance of our house.

I think it's easy to get bogged down in planning, my advice I give to
people who ask is "just start doing stuff sustainably."  the first
things we did were switching to compact flourescent lights, hanging
our clothes out on the line to dry, going to the farmers market, and
starting a garden.

Robert Waldrop, OKc

-----Original Message-----
From: lfl at intrex.net <lfl at intrex.net>
>Thanks in advance for any suggestions or words of wisdom -- I'm
>prepared to go to school.

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