The original article was written for and published in the LUXIDERS Magazine.
The development of a sustainable place requires patience, a desire to learn, desire to leave a positive impact on the environment. It starts with simple actions of changing the light bulbs and can end up with building a completely new home that has a mindful consideration of sustainability behind every aspect of it; either way and either action has its positive effect.
If we put aside arguments, prejudices, political debates based on the climate change issue, and instead would consider the idea of starting changes from our own homes, we perhaps would come to one realization: if there is no way to change the big picture of massively produced clothes, plastic, cheap furniture, of pollution, one must start with a small step. That is the way one runs his home. The whole idea that if we all would suddenly start small, later would have a positive outcome on the bigger issue, has its right to live and to progress. In fact, the daily actions of one person, the amount of sustainable actions that a person performs, adds up and becomes a movement that many start supporting. And, as we learned from the past few months, if many support an idea, it could become a revolution. Now, to put all that theory into one tiny topic of sustainably organized houses.
BACK IN TIME
“For thousands of years throughout history, sustainable houses were built of on-site materials using design strategies adapted to local climates. For example, the thermal mass of the adobe homes in the clay-abundant American southwest kept people cool during the day and warm at night. In England, where there was plenty of rain, soil and trees, they built wattle-and-daub timber-frames with a limestone plaster to fend off the wet weather,” says Clarum Homes. As we speak of sustainable houses, we also wish to highlight the belief that no matter the fact that the house you live in now might not be built out of the most eco-friendly materials, the way it is organized inside, the level of waste, of mindfully reused resources counts. Certainly, for many people, the reality of the “Earth-Ship," off-grid homes made from garbage might not sound appealing. “In Taos, New Mexico, Michael Reynolds has been building off-grid homes from trash for the last 30 years—he’s part of a community of people who live in these unconventional homes called Earthships. “He's an interesting model of an anti-environmentalist environmentalist,” said the filmmaker Flora Lichtman about her subject.”
When many environmental movements started along with the hippy movement, groups of people refused comfort and the whole idea of houses that were built using non-sustainable materials and did not involve the energy of nature. Thus people like Michael Reynolds found open spaces that allowed them to bring one concept to life: to live fully sustainable one must use the energy of the sun, water and wind, one must build from resources that could be reused again and again, and to build without harm for the environment.
THE SOLUTION FOR MODERN HOMES
While such villages still exist and expand with more people joining the course of harmless existence, there is a question rising on how, without such radical lifestyle change one, living in a metropolis can lower the environmental harm still staying in a modern house or a condo. The answer is in mindful consuming. The steps of recycling, reusing, reducing waste, supporting local farmers, and in general rethinking, the whole lifestyle is where one could begin. Certainly, people who chose to furnish their places with consciously made items, who support the development of small businesses and craftsmanship, who refuse the over usage of plastic and track, and limit the waste of food, clothes, can start making a difference. A little further go those who, when building their houses, have a choice to pick materials that are provided by the area, and the ability to, for example, install solar panels, use eco-paints and invest in energy-efficient appliances. As it is the process that involves knowledge, research, and a precise plan on how to improve a living space, the first and the easiest step to get you started might be, as Blue&Green says, embracing the usage of natural cleaning products. "Using harmful chemicals to clean is very bad for the environment. When you wash them away you are simply putting them into the water supply. That means water will take more purification before it is safe to use again. But the good news is that in the majority of cases you really don’t need to use them. For most day-to-day cleaning tasks, natural products like vinegar, citric acid from citrus fruits and bicarbonate of soda can be used in place of caustic chemicals to great effect."