Tenets of Sustainability: DIY

For those of you (probably no one, but I’m being through) that are not familiar it stands for Do It Yourself.  This applies to everything that you can think of, but it’s crucial to sustainability.  One of the reasons that DIY is key to sustainability is because you’re typically reusing things for those types of projects.  The do it yourself not only applies small construction projects, but also to eating, cooking, cleaning and everything else that you do on a daily basis.

One of the most sustainable (and probably easiest) DIY projects is to build a garden.  Most estimates suggest that the food that you eat for dinner travels an average of 1,500 miles before it hits your plate.  For example, the other day H came home and said that we need to go to the store because I need a pineapple for something at her job.  Keep in mind that this is wyoming and we are in the dead of winter (a mild winter, but winter none the less).  Pineapple don’t grow in the state (I dont think, though you may be able to do it in some areas) so I told her not to expect to find one at the store.  Needless to say, I was pretty shocked to find a whole shelf full of pineapples (on sale, no less) at the store.  The tag said that they came from chile, clearly nowhere near wyoming.  This little pineapple has traveled quite ways to get here, on a ship and a train and maybe a truck, using fossil based fuel the whole way, and emitting pollutants.  Of course, I’m not saying that in your garden you will be able to grow pineapple, but this applies to a lot of other fruits.  For a more sustainable solution, try growing food yourself – you’ll be able to save some money and cut back on your food miles.

This doesnt need to stop at vegetable production either (though admittedly for a lot of people it will).  You can raise your own meat and make your own cheeses as well – you’ll need some land to do it, but it is possible.  DIY isnt just for food, either.  You can DIY anything and help out the planet because you’re typically using what you already have or you’re using resources that you paid for, which will encourage you to waste less. You may get more out of a 2×4 when making your own bookshelf than a store or large manufacturing plant would have gotten out of the same piece of wood because for them the smaller portions arent easy to deal with and cost too much.  You can easily find a use for it if you do a whole bunch of products around the house though.

The best part about this is that becoming more sustainable wont cost you much here either.  All you need to DIY things is a willingness to learn and ask questions.  Most of the things that I’ve started to DIY over the last few years the recipes (and ideas) have come from the internet.  It’s cheaper in almost all cases, as well.  Aside from that, my favorite part of DIY is knowing what goes into your stuff – when I bought my own laundry soap, I had no idea why there were phosphates in the soap, and now that I may my own, there arent.

Readers: What do you DIY around the house (and in other areas) to become more sustainable?  Do you think it is better than buying from the store, or not?  Why or Why not?


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3 thoughts on “Tenets of Sustainability: DIY”

  1. Last year, my goal was to start composting in the backyard to (1) eliminate a lot of our trash and (2) have fresh compost for our flower beds. Turns out, I’m allergic to bees and the flower beds had to go… I never did get my compost pile…

  2. My list of DIY projects is too long to list here. 🙂 Today I’ll be making homemade bread, body lotion, and makeup remover wipes (just as an example of how freakish I am about DIY projects). I’m convinced DIYing is MUCH better than purchasing from stores… it saves money, increases your skill set, reduces waste, increases sustainability, and allows you complete control over ingredients/materials used. Great article to remind people of these things!

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