This week we are celebrating International Earth Day at MIIM Designs. Earth Day 2014 has been primarily focused on “Green Cities” and the developing the urban environment to contribute in making cities greener. Recently the United Nation’s Sustainable Development committee and the World Economic Forum have been focused on three areas of environmental impact and financial viability. They are:
1. Sustainable energy infrastructure –distribution, supply and storage of renewable energy
2. Energy efficiency, specifically on refurbishing and rejuvenating buildings, cities, public infrastructure, and industries
3. Sustainable mobility
Our concept of “Green Cities” is clearly ecological, but also starts with simple things that we can do at home and work to develop an sustainable economic and a feel-good role in creating green cities:
1. First, refuse anything extra - fight junk mail and turn down freebies, especially merchandise products that cannot and will not be used daily.
2. De-Clutter: lighten the load at home and more importantly in your closet. When going grocery shopping use a list and stick to it so you bring back less home and create less waste to deal with afterwards.
For your closet/wardrobe, buy timeless and quality made pieces. Make sure that you can wear your outfits for more than one season. Countless closets are filled with disposable wardrobes. Share with your love ones - swap outfits, purses, shoes and etc. Remember sharing is caring.
3. Reuse: Besides just using your grocery bags as garbage bags (unless you live in Northern California where plastic bags are almost nonexistent) swap disposables for re-usables - refillable bottles instead of water bottles, handkerchiefs instead of tissues, cloth napkins, rags, etc. Avoid grocery-store waste by bringing reusable totes, cloth bags for dry bulk items, and jars for wet items such as cheese and deli foods.
4. Rot: Turn your kitchen trash can into a large compost receptacle. Compost as many things as possible. The bigger the better and the more likely you are to use it for that little vegetable garden in the back yard.
5. Putting LED bulbs in your home and using them on street lights saves around 70% on energy consumption. Due to an LED lifespan of more than six years and more on maintenance and are not nearly as poisonous to dispose of as mercury vapour bulbs.
6. Upgrading the technical equipment in your homes and office buildings - air conditioning, lighting, ventilation and heating saves more CO2 emissions than improving the facade or the windows. Furthermore, these investment pay for themselves in the long run.
7. Lastly, besides using mass transportation, metro, buses, shuttles and other forms such as bikes, walking and skateboarding, car sharing and electric cars would mean a total transformation of the supply and distribution of electricity. It’s a great opportunity to redesign the grid, to reorganize the production and distribution of electricity. Toyota, Honda and Chevrolet have all developed a new line of electrical cars and Tesla will soon be putting its more affordable electrical car to the market.
Besides carpooling, car sharing is very common in countries like China and India and some cities like Boston, Washington DC and San Francisco. The car sharing network have grown: Zip Car, Lyft and other start-up companies are developing these services
International Earth Day might be April 22, 2014, but if we practice these simple 7 ways it would make us feel good about how we are giving back and living on Earth and also makes financial sense, producing stable, non-correlated, low-risk returns.