I am adding pages regarding the three necessities in life: food, water, and shelter. Buildings, work or office, are what we shelter in, and, in the developed world, we spend 90% of our time indoors (REF). So shelter is a good page to start with.
Imagine what the least environmentally-imposing shelter would be like. One day, while I was helping pick up trash in Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, which is a large, very wooded, very lovely park, we followed a lot of trash within a creek to what turned out to be a homeless encampment within a cave under a massive tree’s root systems. It was a very large cave for a creek bed, and probably slept at least four people. They had pots and pans and laundry hanging outside to dry, but the cave itself was completely natural and did not even look like it had been enlarged.
It is the only place I can think of where I know humans aren’t impacting the climate by their need for building and living in a shelter. (Although stream pollution is a different story.)
People are trying to build zero buildings though, and this example tries to come close: https://www.greenmatters.com/home/2018/08/08/Z235p8K/nolla-neste-tiny-cabin.
Anyway, this page is going to evolve over time to include more ideas and helpful actions to fight climate change regarding your home. But please consider that every single NEW home built today is increasing climate change, even if you have renewable energy and give back to the grid: there is the process of designing a home (computer use and meetings, etc), of manufacturing any new materials to build with, of transporting the materials, and of putting the house together — all of this produces CO2, even if locally sourced. Think umpteen times before building a new place.
Yet we need places to shelter – so what do we do? The two main steps you can do to fight climate change as regards your shelter are:
- Move into an existing place and make it more environmentally friendly, or in this case, just more friendly.
OR, if you must go to a newly-built place or build a new house….
2. Choose small and efficient, in an environmentally friendly location that is way above sea level AND use salvaged materials.
There’s more of course. I’ll pull together some of the things we’ve been talking about in our Facebook discussion group: www.fb.com/groups/ClimateSteps. In the meantime, please see these articles:
My Solar Panel Installation — on Earth Day, No Less which deals with both passive and active solar systems for a house.
And take an Online Energy Audit. https://engage.energysavvy.com/report/ed2e8377-5e7d-4c25-a9d8-0b773972eaa8/
Don’t Forget the Lawn!
Please check out this overview of all the different types of yard coverings and plants you can replace the boring, bee-killing grass lawn with! https://climatesteps.org/2020/03/20/change-lawns-to-actual-life/.
“Native plants require less water and maintenance than nonnative varieties and provide more food sources for birds as our warming planet changes their habitats,” said John Rowden, director of community conservation at National Audubon Society. “A great thing people can do for the environment is stop mowing — which produces carbon. ….. Use Audubon’s Plants for Birds guide: Type in your Zip code and get a list of trees and plants suitable for your area.” (Washington Post, 2018)
They. Rock. They provide shelter to you in the form of insulation and provide shelter and food to insects; they slow down rainwater, preventing floods; and they prevent that rainwater from heating up as it would from hitting asphalt shingles – thus saving downstream wildlife. They are estimated to last 60 years. They do require a strong structure underneath, though.
I blogged about green roofs in the Washington Post in 2012 and 2013 – summarizing different steps in the process. You can check it out here:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2013/08/14/a-petworth-homeowners-green-roof-one-year-later/?utm_term=.101cd0d0a091. (see the link in the article for the earlier posts.)
Other green roof references:
1. Nice pretty video….https://www.facebook.com/WeCanSolveThis/videos/1680880988687383/
Thank you for every action you take.