Tenets of Sustainability Series

Those who know me offline are well aware that I’m really not that into rules.  Oftentimes, I feel like they are too suffocating for a variety of reasons – rules don’t take every possible circumstance into account, nor are they adaptable for a unique situation.  Rules are tailor made for “textbook” cases, which almost nothing ever is (for me anyway).  For instance, despite all financial advice to the contrary I had read and heard at the time, I went and took out a loan for a vehicle.  You can read the whole story here, but needless to say, the rules that I was supposed to follow didnt take my situation into account – how could they, as they had no idea what my situation was.

This aversion to rules is pretty established because I feel like rules just cut too hard and can potentially cut in the wrong direction, and I much prefer a set of guidelines or boundaries.  Guidelines are typically more flexible, and can offer room to maneuver where rules can not.  For instance “spend less than you earn” is a nice guideline, but to enjoy you’re money you’re going to have to break that rule at some point (think taking a vacation).  In an interest to continue to become more sustainable, I’ve been working on a series of guidelines for sustainability.  They won’t include things like “Always buy local” or “Dont eat chicken unless you killed it yourself” because some people couldnt bring themselves to kill a chicken, and some dont have the extra money that local goods typically cost.

Instead, this will be a series of posts with very broad guidelines to help you live a more sustainable life – if that’s something you’re interested in.  If not, that’s cool too.  Hopefully, this series will help you look at some easy things you can to to become more sustainable, and not feel like you’re giving up anything fun in the process.  There will be things about your home, your food, your work, reuse of materials, and everything in between.

If you’ve got anything specific you’re curious about, feel free to shoot me a question and I’ll be happy to look into it for you.  The Tenets of Sustainability Series will be posted every wednesday for the next 10 Wednesdays – it would be awesome to have some excellent feedback from you readers (and lurkers)!

This is the first post in a multi post series on sustainability.  Check back soon for more!

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About Jeff

Jeff is the founder of sustainable life blog and has been interested in sustainability for most of his life. After realizing in 2007 that his finances were a total wreck, he started reading financial blogs and quickly realized that what is best for your wallet is typically better for the earth, and is usually healthier. On sustainable life blog Jeff shares his journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. For updates, subscribe by email or like us on facebook.

Comments

  1. I have been kind of curious about this. I am looking forward to this series, since it makes sense that most people can’t always follow a rule. Whether it’s an anti-authority thing or just beyond their control.

  2. I’m excited about this series!

  3. Maybe your aversion to rules is why you are having a difficult time paying down your debt as quickly as you’d like. Sometimes setting up just guidelines is too broad and leaves way too much wiggle room for a person and sets them up for failure. You say that to enjoy your money you have to break the rule ‘Spend less than you earn.’ Advanced planning and budgeting make travel and still spending less than you earn possible. Especially after you are debt free those payments can go towards a bigger travel fund. My suggestion would be to set up rules for your situation and work with that.

    P.S. I am excited about this series, I just want to give you something to think about in terms of your aversion to rules.

    • Great thought – I meant spend less than you earn on the travel in the literal sense – that you’re earning absolutely no income (unless you’re taking vacation days, but not everyone has those) – so what I was trying to get across was that your income was 0 on vacation. You make a great point though – I seem to be allowing myself many more ’1 time things’ than I used to, and that is in essence breaking some of the rules that I’ve set for myself. I’ve been getting better this year (eating out less, going on less trips, etc) but still have had trouble. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I’m writing again, this could be a great post too.

  4. I know what you mean about guidelines vs. rules. I usually don’t like rules, but I have a series on my 10 Rules for eliminating debt and taking control of finances. They are more like guidelines, but I named them rules.

    I’m really interested in a self-sustainable retirement. It is my goal to retire early to a ranch out west with an off the grid home and garden. It seems like such a daunting goal, but I guess every retirement plan is daunting.

    • That is kind of like my goal john – I’d really like to get a plot of land and work it to meet all my lifes needs. I actually almost pulled the trigger on 10 acres in new mexico, but I thought better of it. Still keeping my eyes peeled though.

  5. This series sounds very interesting, Jeff! I look forward to reading more, especially about CSAs and community gardens.

    • Awesome, thanks christa! MY categories are a bit broader than that even, but I’ve got quite a few things in the works that deal with those.

  6. Definitely looking forward to this new series also!

  7. Sounds exciting. I’d be interested to know what your guidelines would be to someone just starting out a on a career path having just left College and the comforts of parent support.
    Kind regards,
    Ashley

  8. I agree. Absolute rules are too stifling and potentially inhibit life and goals. I too try to live my some self imposed guidelines, but sometimes the situation demands that they must be broken. Life’s too short to rigidly and dogidly stick to a bunch of rules in moments when they don’t quite make sense.

    • Great point jon, things need to be looked at on a situation by situation basis, while still taking into account the whole.

  9. Loren Fruhwirth says:

    As a great man once said “There are no rules, only guide lines.

  10. North Americans do just fine with guidelines. Other cultures are more comfortable with clearly defined, thou-shalt and thou-shalt-not rules.

  11. Can’t wait to see what’s coming!

  12. Like Jeff (and Jack Sparrow), I rather combine guidelines and common sense than follow rules (even the pirate code was more like a guideline after all as well).

  13. Looks interesting Jeff – I look forward to reading.

    Sounds a bit like our Sustainability, er now Green, Tips. Read it, digest it then either throw the idea out the window or internalize it. Your call!

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  1. [...]   Sustainable Life – Tenets of Sustainability [...]

  2. [...] at Sustainable Life Blog is starting a new series about some "Tenets of Sustainability." He’ll offer some guidelines for a sustainable life that people can pick and choose to fit their [...]

  3. [...] at Sustainable Life Blog announced the start of a series on guidelines for living sustainably.  I’ll definitely be paying close [...]

  4. [...] by Jeff on February 29, 2012 Hi there, I see you're new here, and I'm glad you stopped by. If you'd like, you can read more about me, check out my most popular posts to see How to save money with Open Source Software and how even PF Bloggers make Huge Financial Mistakes. Also, if you're interested, consider subscribing to the RSS feed for updates on finances, the environment and health!This post is the second post in a multi part series on sustainability.  These posts are meant to be guidelines on how to make more sustainable choices in your day to day life.  Enjoy!  You can find  the first post here. [...]