December 2, 2001
Even in the depths of winter, our stores are full of fresh produce, often shipped for thousands of miles. Some fresh produce is imported from poor countries, and to eat it is to snatch food from the mouths of hungry children. Salads are summer fare, winter is for hearty soups, long-simmered sauces, and foods preserved from the bounty of summer. Beware of the imperial table.
December 3, 2001
Growing produce on factory farms and then shipping it long distances consumes huge amounts of energy and chemicals. Most areas have regular farmers' markets where you can buy locally grown organic produce direct from farmers.
December 4, 2001
Everybody should try to do this, at least a little. Home-grown produce is superior in taste and nutrition to store bought foods. Cultivate and preserve biodiversity by growing heirloom varieties of vegetables and herbs. Permaculture gardens, made up of perennial plants such as berry bushes, grapevines, fruit and nut trees, can save you time and money as well as producing great food.
December 5, 2001
Abandon the junk food section of the supermarket or convenience store in its entirety. Junk foods are high priced, nutritionally dubious, over packaged, and from beginning to end, their production and distribution wastes energy. If you like treats, make them yourself. Home-made tastes better, costs less money, and gives better nutrition. It takes less time and is less complicated than driving to the store, finding something, standing in line, and then driving back home, not to mention the time required to earn the money to buy the expensive packaged treats.
December 6, 2001
Cook from scratch using basic ingredients, don't buy prepared foods from the agro-business corporations and thus fund the destruction of America's family farms. The taste and nutrition of home cooking are superior, and you will save quite a bit of money.
December 7, 2001
Stop buying meat, dairy, or poultry products from the CAFO system (confined animal feeding operation), and eat less meat in general. The living conditions of animals in these CAFO systems are cruel and inhumane. Ask your grocer and butcher about where their products come from. Eggs and meat from free range chickens, and grass-fed beef at grocery stores are usually more expensive, but can often be bought directly from farmers at prices competitive with the CAFO products. Be aware that a lot of fast-food ground beef is imported from tropical countries, and buying that beef funds the destruction of the rain forests. Ask your butcher what goes into their ground meat.
December 8, 2001
Don't buy bottled water or beverages in single serving sizes. Don't buy anything in a plastic bottle, if you can avoid it. Buy and carry a refillable thermos for your beverages, or use a mason jar and lid. Make your own beer, wine, and soda pop or buy from a local winery or brewery.
December 9, 2001
When you go out to eat, avoid franchised fast food and corporation restaurants. Pay for good food, not mediocre food plus a corporate bureaucracy, and always leave a generous tip.
December 10, 2001
Find local places that are interesting and fun to visit. Stop attending conventions, demonstrations, and conferences designed to draw travelers, and encourage organizations you are affiliated with to not sponsor such events. Substitute conventions, demonstrations, and conferences based on local systems, people, issues, etc., which require minimal travel. Never litter - always leave a place cleaner than it was when you got there - be sure to pick up some litter during your travels and dispose of it properly.
December 11, 2001
Take public transit, walk, ride a bike, drive a very fuel efficient vehicle or go car free. Consider co-owning a car with another family to reduce both families' expenses and encourage less automobile travel. Drive slowly and non-aggressively, which saves fuel and wear and tear on the vehicle. Obey a self-imposed speed/fuel consumption limit of 55 MPH on the freeways. For intercity travel, bus or train is the most energy efficient (passenger miles per gallon). Don't fly anywhere unless it is impossible to get there by other forms of transportation.
December 12, 2001
You can find a large number of practical energy conservation ideas at http://www.energyconservationinfo.org/almanac.htm .
December 13, 2001
If you consistently fill one or more of the typical urban trash carts every week, you have a problem. Look for minimally packaged products. Complain to retailers and manufacturers about excess packaging. Compost all organic waste like leftovers, grass clippings, leaves, and other yard waste. Don't buy anything in a plastic bottle (glass and metal containers can be recycled indefinitely, plastic can usually only be recycled once). Buy recycled products. Make your own cleaning compounds from basic ingredients like bleach, vinegar, and ammonia.
December 14, 2001
Shut down your spending on "wants." Find meaning and fulfillment in spirituality and relationships with your family, friends and neighbors, not in the amount of stuff you have. Generally, avoid buying new stuff and patronize the "aftermarket" instead (used, recyclers, thrift and consignment shops). Be frugal. Make a budget, stick to it, and keep track of your expenditures. Get rid of excess stuff by donating it to charity or by selling it. Instead of buying gifts for others, give them home-made gifts. Never make gift-giving a substitute for love and involvement.
December 15, 2001
Give clothing you no longer need to groups which help the poor or have a garage sale and raise some money to pay off debt. Don't wear clothing with corporate brand patches. Buy clothing at thrift stores, or have new clothes made by local tailors or seamstresses. Learn to sew and make some or all of your own clothes. Organize a cooperative to sew clothes for the local market.
December 16, 2001
Support local, independently owned businesses. Even better, support local cooperatively owned businesses. Avoid franchises, don't by the products or services of corporations which are doing bad things like exploiting the poor, ravaging the environment, or supporting repressive regimes.
December 17, 2001
Avoid commodified entertainment.
Instead of professional sports and entertainment, participate in local sports, dances, pot luck dinners, block parties, cards, dominos or board games with your family, friends, and neighbors.
December 18, 2001
Pay off your debts as fast as you can, and avoid new debt. Don't use credit or debit cards, keep your money in a credit union (a cooperatively owned financial institution), not a bank. If you invest in the stock market, don't buy stock in corporations that are not socially responsible business organizations.
December 19, 2001
Invest in useful capital goods and tools that help you live a more sustainable, simple, and frugal lifestyle, such as food preservation/preparation equipment, garden tools, insulation for your house, etc. Considering owning equipment or tools in cooperation with others (neighbors, relatives, friends, etc.)
December 20, 2001
Pay off your mortgage before it is due. If you are renting, develop a plan to get into housing that you own. Consider co-housing - sharing a house with others, or a duplex, or even a small neighborhood.
December 21, 2001
If you are debt free, consider reducing your hours worked so you make less money and thus pay less in taxes that support the war effort. This will also give you more time with your family and for other interests.
December 22, 2001
If you are a two parent/two income family with kids at home, have one parent work at home and one parent work outside the home to bring in cash income. Home school your children.
December 23, 2001
Radically reduce your television viewing. Get your news from several sources rather than depending upon one major television news source. Read to your children every day.
December 24, 2001
Celebrate life, goodness, beauty, virtue, responsibility, and joy. Practice peace, non-violence, servant leadership, harmony, community, voluntary cooperation, and the proper stewardship of God's creation. Pray without ceasing.