Part 3 by Robert Waldrop
6. “Jacob journeyed and built for himself a house.” Find a congenial place and put down roots. Living in a building that you own (by yourself or in cooperation with others) and that is debt free is a very great blessing. If you have a mortgage (literally “death grip” in Latin), make extra principle payments every month. To achieve this goal, it may be necessary for you to think outside of the box and be creative to make the most of your circumstances. For example, two families with limited income might not be able to afford a single family house, each on its own resources. But they could buy a duplex together. Or a half dozen young people could join together as a housing cooperative and buy a large older house.
7. “Waste not, want not.” Minimize your energy consumption. Invest in energy conservation and alternative, renewable energies. Super insulate your housing consistent with your climate. Walk, take public transportation, or ride a bicycle, wherever possible. Organize your life so you can live car free or alternatively, to minimize use of a personal vehicle. If you do drive a car, be economical in its operation. Think twice about vacations that consume large amounts of energy, look for ways to travel lightly on the land when you leave your home community for business or pleasure. Go to local and regional conferences and meetings that don’t require much travel, not to national and international gatherings unless there is a necessary reason for doing so. Be wary of travel to ecologically sensitive areas. When you consider the amount of space you need to live in, remember that “more space” generally translates into “more money and more energy expense”. Remember that “stuff” has energy embodied in its manufacture and distribution, so the more new stuff you buy, the more energy you are consuming.
8. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Practice personal detachment from material goods. Live simply that others may simply live. Remember that you are NOT your stuff. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, make do, do without, use less stuff. Patronize the aftermarket in places like swap meets, thrift stores, and flea markets. Avoid new stuff as much as possible. Don’t buy clothing made in sweatshops. Limit your consumption of resources, including water. If you buy something new, buy it from a locally owned business or directly from a local producer. Don’t buy imported merchandise from Third World countries unless it is certified as “Fair Trade”.
9. “Invest in root stock.” Grow some of your own food. Plant fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and other perennial food crops. Preserve heirloom varieties of plants and animals. Buy food from local growers or processors. Encourage schools and churches to start gardens. Don’t buy any meats, eggs, or poultry that originate in Confined Animal Feeding Operations, buy meats from farmers who treat their free-ranging flocks and herds humanely and naturally. Cook meals from basic ingredients; don’t buy junk food, make your own snacks and beverages or buy locally grown and made foods and drinks from neighborhood stores, bakeries, or brewers. Eat with the season, don’t buy fresh produce in the winter unless it was grown in your area. Learn home food processing skills and depend less on international commercial food corporations. Stop buying and eating fish from the sea.
10. You are not your wardrobe. Clothing is one of the easiest necessaries to find in thrift stores and flea markets. If you must have new clothes, make them yourself or have a local tailor or seamstress make them for you, or at least only buy clothes with union or cooperative labels. Minimize your purchases of clothes that require dry cleaning; air and sun dry your clothes after they’re washed instead of using a clothes dryer. Don’t buy clothing that has been produced in sweatshops.