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There are so many things that one can do to lead a sustainable life. I want to know what the top 5 most impactful things that I can do in my life to help me (and my family) lead a more sustainable life.

closed as not constructive by lemontwist, Earthliŋ, Linger, THelper, bstpierre Feb 13 '13 at 15:01

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    The best one can do is probably to become a homeless person, sleep under a cardboard box and eat food leftovers from public bins. Perhaps you should rephrase your question a bit :-) – THelper Feb 13 '13 at 8:27
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    @THelper, I disagree. Maybe my answer will change your mind? – Highly Irregular Feb 13 '13 at 9:49
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    This is probably unanswerable as currently posed. Can you find a reformulation of it that would give an opportunity for a definitive, objective answer? People do write whole books to answer the question as it currently stands. – EnergyNumbers Feb 13 '13 at 10:11
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    Frankly speaking, unless one has a significant influence on other peoples' behaviour, the top thing one can do is to stop living. – gerrit Feb 13 '13 at 13:19
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    from the FAQ You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face - This question is not constructive. It is asking for list of people opinions, that does not make a good question on SE. I suggest you focus on a specific area of your life you wish to make more sustainable, and ask a specific question about that. If you find you have many questions ask them all. Just make sure the questions are practical and are asking for facts instead of opinions. – user141 Feb 13 '13 at 14:45
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  1. Live close to where you want to go. Most longer distance methods of travel have an enormous environmental impact, or just take too long. Consider where your friends and family live, where you work, and where you shop. Learn about the impact of various types of transport so you can make sensible decisions.
  2. Take a big picture look at the energy use and sustainability of your home. Consider insulation, the orientation, the location, the size, and the shape of your home and how it affects your heating requirements. Consider the hot water system, the electrical system, and water use. Would it be better to move house than to try to alter your current one?
  3. Keep learning. Things change over time and you need to understand whether or not you should change too. It also takes a long time to understand the damage that we cause through the downstream effects of our actions, and what we can do about it. Be comfortable with who you are; if you're not, you won't make sensible decisions. If necessary, make a spiritual journey (metaphorically, perhaps), or if spirituality isn't your thing then find a suitable alternative way to get where you need to be, psychologically.
  4. Don't buy thneeds. Before paying for goods or services, ask yourself Do I really need this? What harm might I cause spending money in this way? What better alternatives are available?
  5. Spread the word. Don't be ashamed of doing any of the above. Teach the principles to your children. Encourage sustainability in your workplace, or find a new place to work that is more sustainable. Set an example to others. Raise awareness of why sustainability matters.
  • You make some goods points and I agree that they will make a good contribution to sustainability. However, there are other, more extreme possibilities (like don't ever travel, give up your home, etc.) that have more impact. – THelper Feb 13 '13 at 11:43
  • @THelper Respectfully: this answer balances out costs and benefits (the very nature of sustainability), while your comment examines only costs. I doubt my bus to work would be cancelled if I didn't show up at the stop. ;-) – Jack Ryan Mar 20 '14 at 15:00
  • @JackRyan I do think Highly Irregular wrote a good answer, the problem is with the question. The point I was trying to make is that there is no such thing as a universal applicable top 5 of most sustainable practices. – THelper Mar 20 '14 at 15:08
  • @THelper I actually think the question is quite answerable. Where does the research show that "we" personally spend energy (bottom right chart, page 1)? Basically buildings and transportation. If you consider your HVAC system, your hot water system, and your vehicle, you've just accounted for a "huge" percentage of your personal carbon footprint (assuming that any 1 individual has a negligible impact on "industrial" and "commercial"). – Jack Ryan Mar 20 '14 at 15:31
  • @JackRyan With some rewriting this question can be made into something that would be acceptable and answerable, but not as it is. Perhaps you want to try it in a new question? If you do, be careful not to make the question too broad. – THelper Mar 20 '14 at 15:55
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Sustainable living could be only possible by giving (equal or more) than taking from environment and other species.

As Humans are superior species which can think beyond getting food (like other species) can use their ability to preserve and enhance the nature's flora and fauna rather destroying them for self benefit.

  1. You can plant more trees, gift them to your friends.
  2. Take care of Animals and Plants around.
  3. Use resources only when needed.
  4. Try using renewable energy resources like Solar energy, bio gas.

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