Simple Ideas for Sustainable Living

Learn about these simple ideas for sustainable living. Taking a voluntary simplicity class inspired the author to start living a greener urban lifestyle in her hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo. When she took the class 10 years ago, it opened her eyes to all the many ways an individual can contribute to a healthier planet through simple actions such as eating local food, choosing energy efficient appliances, landscaping to use less water, and choosing to live in a smaller home and consume fewer resources.

| December 2007/January 2008

A voluntary simplicity class inspired the author and family with simple ideas for sustainable living and to live a greener urban lifestyle.

Simple Ideas for Sustainable Living

I live in Colorado Springs, Colo., and there are many venues here that offer different kinds of classes. One day, almost 10 years ago, a friend asked if I’d like to join a voluntary simplicity study circle. It sounded interesting, so I decided I would, even though I didn’t know the first thing about it.

The class was a Northwest Earth Institute course that was put on by Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, and it required a three-hour commitment every week for eight weeks. That class opened my eyes to what an individual can contribute to the health of our planet.

Since then, my husband, Scott, and I have slowly changed our habits. It’s been an ongoing process, and we do a little at a time. But support from others in my voluntary simplicity group has made it easier. At the beginning, they taught me about things like the benefits of locally grown and organic food. Many of us are still in touch, and we regularly meet for potluck and game nights. We call ourselves the “simple friends.”

Sustainable living can be a challenge, and it’s twice as challenging for me because I have cystic fibrosis, which has reduced my lung capacity by half. This affects my energy level and requires me to complete five hours of self care and treatments every day. Scott works full time.

Many of the choices we’ve made have been affected by my physical limitations. For example, with my level of stamina, I can’t maintain a large garden. But I can do numerous smaller jobs — such as painting, housework, hanging shelves, refinishing furniture and cooking from scratch — so many of the projects I’ve taken on have been those that don’t require a lot of physical strength.

12/12/2007 1:22:57 PM

Great job, Penni! This is Steve with the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission. Our Sustainable Living Working Group is meeting on Dec. 19 to see if we can get the Colorado Springs City Council to buy into some Kyoto-style protocols. Manitou Springs has taken the step, why not the

12/11/2007 4:15:44 PM

Penni & Scott, Its awesome that you've taken these steps and revised your lifestyle to accommodate a greener lifestyle! Part of my New Year's resolution is to attend an event that helps businesses lower their carbon footprints and waste called Energy Camp in SF! Check it out here:: Keep up the good work! Brody

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