Sustainability is a path. A journey. You take little steps and big steps. You may even change direction as you learn more or new technologies become available. You’ll never get to “the end.” (The ultimate sustainable system is one of maximum entropy where everything has the same low level of energy and nothing ever changes – booooooooring!)

Start with little steps that don’t cost anything but a little forethought: Recycle your paper, aluminum cans. plastic containers. Turn off lights and electronics you aren't using. Get more efficient about running errands in your car so you limit the amount of gas you burn. Let the house get a little colder or hotter than normal to save on utility bills. Water as little as you need and only in the morning and evening to conserve water.

Then you can look at your purchases: Buy recycled content. Reduced packaging by buying in bulk. Replace old light bulbs with fluorescent as they burn out. If you need to buy a car, look for good gas mileage. Ditto new appliances - look for Energy Stars. But don't feel guilty about not spending big bucks to go green. Let the celebrities buy carbon offsets and fancy electric cars. You should wait for when you are in need of something and then pick the best choice that meets your requirements, which should include - but not be solely defined by - items with lower environmental impact.

Yes, we need some big fixes - new energy sources, mass transit, more efficient technologies. The government and the entrepreneurs need to invest some significant money and talent. As consumers, we need to:
- ask for better alternatives (to give them the incentive to make greener choices available).
- be skeptical of the claims that are made and ready to readjust (is corn ethanol really the solution?).
- be smart about where you (and your governments) spend your money.
- think about what you really need. (Why do we buy so much stuff?)
- think about the consequences of your choices to health, environment and safety and social well-being all along the chain from raw materials to manufacture, your use and ultimate disposal (i.e., the life cycle). (I can't vouch for the facts behind this article, but it raises concerns here)
- not leave things to others to "fix" the problem. There is no short list of "fixes."
- take reasonable steps ourselves.
- keep taking steps forward.

A lot of little steps taken by a lot of people can make a significant difference. (If every US household switched 5 lights to fluorescent bulbs it would be equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 10 MILLION cars!)

Check out this site for ideas for what you can do:

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