In communities across the nation, there is a growing concern that current development patterns dominated by what some call “sprawl” are no longer in the long-term interest of our cities, existing suburbs, small towns, rural communities, or wilderness areas. Though supportive of growth, communities are questioning the economic costs of abandoning infrastructure in the city, only to rebuild it further out. Spurring the smart growth movement are demographic shifts, a strong environmental ethic, increased fiscal concerns, and more nuanced views of growth. The result is both a new demand and a new opportunity for smart growth

In 1996, U.S. factory farms produced 1.4 billion tons of animal waste—130 times more than humans did.(1) The waste produced in a single year would fill 6.7 million train boxcars—enough to circle the Earth 12 1/2 times.(2)

Much of the energy, water, and products we use are consumed in our households. This is also the place where we are exposed to many toxic chemicals in cleaners and detergents. Your home is the quickest and easiest area in your life to start making more sustainable and less toxic. You may want to start by doing an audit to determine where you can save energy and water as well as reduce the amount of products you buy for your house.

Caring for all the green and growing things in your yard and garden can have a big effect on how much waste your household creates. From grass clippings and leaves to pesticides and water, the eco-impact of your lawn and garden can be significant. In Oklahoma it is estimated that 20-30% of what we throw away is yard waste. Much of that waste can be reduced or composted to be used as mulch that you can recycle back into a lawn or garden.

Money management, investment decisions and business strategies all shape the way in which our economy at the global and local scales interfaces and interacts with the health of our natural and social systems.

The Stillwater Recycling Coalition became Sustainable Stillwater in the fall of 2001. One of our main focuses continues to be on the importance of recycling at home, work and school. We also like to combine the discussion of recycling with idea of reducing our energy and water usage. And although recycling is great,  it should be the last step in the consumer loop process. In other words,  trying to create less waste is better!

Simply put, environmental problems are social problems. The way we behave as consumers and producers directly and indirectly affects the health of our Earth’s ecosystems. Thus, what we buy when we are at the supermarket, convenience store or restaurant is a a very essential step in adopting a sustainable lifestyle.

Few people realize the huge impact of our country’s transportation system on our overall quality of life – on air, health, housing patterns and land use. Americans’ growing dependence on the automobile has come at the expense of cleaner, healthier modes of transportation, like mass transit, walking or bicycling.

Your work is a great place to start being more sustainable. Not only are their a plethora of projects that your business or industry could implement to be more green (that you could help facilitate), but there are also simple things you can do to be more responsible as an individual. Many of us spend at least 40-50 hours a week at work–that’s 30% of our life!

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