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How does an apartment dweller make the world a better place?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 512
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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love your neighbour ... as you love yourself ... for many people that will mean: start loving yourself first

the simple decision to love and care will change our inner-lens/perspective so that we start to see things to make the world better for people (again, including ourselves)
 
Tobias Ber
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look at your meat consumption ... what are your options to reduce your footprint there?
 
gardener
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Before getting into grey water, check into roof water. Most big buildings make no use of perfectly clean run off.

Wild harvest the streets and wild areas along public pathways.
 
Tobias Ber
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when you re going organic (or beyond). start with some big chunks of your diet (calory-wise). get organic rice, flour, grains, dried beans, juices, tomato sauce, potatoes, oils etc. ... start to buy these in organic quality FIRST
so you ll get much (organic) calories for somewhat low money. and it s more convenient just to change these BIG things first and then go for the smaller bits and pieces of your diet

and get high-quality, unrefined salt
 
gardener
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Be careful about roof runoff, some places are legally--the rainwater doesn't belong to you and you will be fined for catching it!!! (Colorado is one state where you can only collect it in special circumstances and you must have permit, I kid not). http://water.state.co.us/DWRIPub/DWR%20General%20Documents/SynopsisofCOWaterLaw.pdf --This is confusing at best, I moved away just before rainbarrels became illegal. One reason I got out of there, the water wars, water rationing, and such was getting to be unreal. California started their trek into short water about the same time...
 
Posts: 106
Location: Pyrenees Mountains, South of France
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Find your nearest Transition town, if not start one yourself
Start a community garden

 
Olga Booker
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Location: Pyrenees Mountains, South of France
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Use car pooling
Get rid of as much plastic in your life as possible. Use kilner jar to store food in your fridge and take then to the shop to buy olives, cream cheese etc...
 
Olga Booker
Posts: 106
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Grow herbs and salad stuff on the window sill and beans and tomatoes instead of house plants, even zuchini makes a lovely house plant
 
Olga Booker
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Take your own cup to the coffee shop instead of using plastic cups
Get a stainless steel water bottle instead of buying water in small plastic bottles
 
Olga Booker
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Watch your food miles
If you eat meat, eat less but make sure that it is local and ethically raised
 
Olga Booker
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Don't buy pre-cooked meals, or ready to cook meals, in fact get rid of your microwave oven
Use left overs to create another meal. If you don't know how, ask on Permies, I'm sure someone will help
 
Olga Booker
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Stop using paper napkins and kitchen roll
Buy what you need, not what you want
 
Posts: 36
Location: Mukilteo, Washington
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Look for a 'Buy Nothing' Facebook page for your area. You can get things you want free and give away the things you don't need.
 
pollinator
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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paul wheaton wrote:Set the thermostat on your water heater to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This might seem counterintuitive, but lower temperatures lead to people getting sick. If your water heater ever needs to be replaced, maybe get a smaller one.



Dale Hodgins wrote:Learn how your building works. If all of the heat finds its way to the top floor, do something about that. Use the windows and doors along with curtains and blinds, to regulate temperature and air flow



Ooh, here's something. Not sure if anyone remembers, but Paul Wheaton made a video a while ago about heating the person instead of the room. Here's Paul's video:

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Low temperature output from the water tank, causes waste, since visitors will run a lot of warm water down the drain as they wait for it to warm up.

Insulate all access able water lines. Insulate the tank.

If a dishwasher must be used, learn how to stack for maximum load. Use it at times when the extra heat is welcome. Disable the long drying cycle, especially during hot weather.

Let bathtub water cool before draining it.

If only a small amount of hot water is needed in the kitchen, use the electric kettle. Line losses can be huge, if the tank is at some distance.

Where water is abundant, give dishes a cold water soak, without soap. This gets most of the crud off.
 
Tobias Ber
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Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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what one can do is ... to think of even more ways how an apartment dweller can make the world a better place ...

and then apply it step by step ... and then share it with others ... and help them to apply it step by step ... and help them to share it with even more people ...
 
Posts: 7
Location: Orange County, California
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Farm the boulevards and the back and front yards of agreeable home owners. Victoria has lots of gardens in unusual places.



Hi Dave

Good idea, I read the book One Magic Square by Lolo Houbein, and I found a friend that will let me plant out two of them in their back yard.

Ron
 
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- Put apart the tube under your sink, the one that takes grey water away. Put a pail under the tube. Use that water to flush the toilet. (We've done this and it increased our awareness of bad stuff in soap).

- If you are a man, pee on a big bottle (using a funnel helps). If you are a woman, pee on a cup, then put the pee in the bottle (funnel still helps). Use the pee diluted in water to water your own plants or someone else's, or the city trees and gardens.

- If you are a woman, swith to cloth pads. Soak in cold water before washing. Use blood/water mixture to water plants.

- Switch to toilet cloth instead of toilet paper.

- Have an earthworm farm in your kitchen or bathroom. Feed it your vegetable scraps. Use product and excess worms to feed the city soil randomly.

- Get all your neighbours to consider investing in good whole-building insulation and more efficient heating.

- Get a trombe wall just for your appartment.

- Hang a simple solar panel from your window. The kind with no inverter. Use it to recharge the batteries in your toys and for lighting that one room.

- Get a camping shower, the king that's a black bag you can suspend form a tree. Make it hang from your sunny window all day. Shower with it when you get home in the evening.

- Start a used clothes exchange with your friends twice a year: spring for summer clothes and fall for winter clothes.

- Invite skeptics for an informal dinner and movie in your house. Show them good coumentaries on climate change, peak oil, etc.

Love this thread.
Hugs,
Lucía

 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Condo boards are notorious wasters of resources and money. Much of this comes from problems that arise  from deferred maintenance In order to avoid raising the fees, many minor issues are allowed to get worse.

 Unnecessary upgrades are sometimes embarked upon , out of fear, after some consultant or contractor tells them that because of some minor problem, everything must be replaced.

Some boards go for neglecting everything , while others vote to replace perfectly adequate building components.

 If your place has such a board, work on changing that. If the board is doing a good job, leave them alone.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Report waste to someone who cares.

This could be something simple, like too much heat right at the front foyer, where it will easily flow outside whenever someone opens the door.

Dripping taps in common areas are another form of waste.

Failure of weather stripping, window seals and other minor breaches of the building's envelope, can add up to lots of wasted heat or air conditioning.
 
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Use a soil filtration system
 
pollinator
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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When this thread was started, it wasn't yet the right conditions outside to retrieve the solar oven from the basement. For south-facing apartments (northern hemisphere) with a balcony or large openable window, a solar oven might be a great thing to get you up in the morning if a sunny day is in the forecast. It's currently 3:30 pm (end of May) in northern Minnesota, and between 10 am and 2:30 pm, I was able to cook dry pinto beans from dry to finished after which a batch of cookies was finished in one hour (storm clouds now building). So if the sun arcs into your abode in someway that you might be able to capitalize on this, or you have access to a rooftop, it might be a fun introduction to solar cooking and I'm thinking you would keep the unit for future use, in an apartment or otherwise. The unit that I use is found here: http://www.solarovens.org/ (although I have the reflectors as well, I haven't found need to use them.)
 
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Dave de Basque wrote:Make friends with your neighbors, interest and fascinate them with permie/eco stuff, and as a group find an undervalued enclosed space nearby (garage, under stairs...) where you can share stuff. And agree on smart, easy rules of the road for sharing, reserving, maintaining and replacing what you share. 1 or 2 powerdrills is more than enough for 20 or 40 families! Is there a roof where you could set up a greenhouse together? Etc. Or if you like being less organized, as Tobias said, be generous and lend and borrow things to/from each other a lot.



Part of the original post was "I just wanted the thread where we could have a giant list of all the things that people can do when they don't have soil to work with'.

There was talk of joining a permaculture club, getting an allotment, or joining a community garden.

From personnel experience people working together can accomplish so much more than we can alone.
In my case I have about five acres that I can do mostly small scale thing at this time due to health reasons.
However, I just loaned my very good collection of tools to a family that needed to put in a garden this year.
I also supplied them with seeds to plant.
In turn they come over and help out a few times during the summer.

Sadly there are many more people I could have such a relationship with. I can start seeds, grow seedling, and many other things on a small scale.
We have garden clubs, community gardens, permaculture groups. etc. However, the connections between a urban or suburban and rural can be really hard to establish.
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You can grow food in an apartment. I'm sure everyone is familiar with container gardening, but you can also grow in hanging towers, do microgreens on a shelf and hydroponics in plastic cups:

In my apartment I have these towers hanging on a metal work shelf.




How to grow microgreens.

Simple hydroponic systems from soup containers




Edit: I'm not sure why my image does not appear, but if you right click and open in new tab you can see it.
 
Posts: 113
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
solar woodworking
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paul wheaton wrote:I just wanted the thread where we could have a giant list of all the things that people can do when they don't have soil to work with.



Most apartments have a balcony,
- You can make a living wall to grow food or toxin removing plants.
- You can hang a solar panel from the rail and set up a 12v led lighting system.
- early to bed, early to rise. It puzzles me why many people stay up at night with the lights on and then sleep in long after sunrise.
 
pollinator
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Bring your own non-plastic containers and packaging to the baker, butcher, candlestick maker..
 
Shaz Jameson
pollinator
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Location: Hilversum, Netherlands, urban, zone 7
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Set up a directory in your community so people can see where they can buy in bulk and without packaging (see this example I started for my town)
 
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Go around your apartment to investigate for air leaks; hold a candle or lighter near window sills etc, to look for flickers indicating drafts. Use window film and insulating curtains, or draft stoppers at doors to eliminate drafts. Saves money if you pay for heating, saves gas usage even if the complex pays.
 
master steward
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pollinator
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Go foraging, start a community garden, learn a craft.
 
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I second community garden. Get with city leaders and have them assign a plot or even the whole dang city curb system. Get them to make compost out of all their waste (leaves, grass, old food, etc) and put you in charge of the program. This would be a wealth of good garden nutrition to be given to citizens. Start a non-gmo seed collection program. Start a "greener city" program and you determine its purpose. Put an ad on craigslist for donations of land for a community garden. You can do it.
 
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Get house chickens and quail for food, grow your own feed for them (mealworms, crickets, sprouted feed is easy to do - https://www.highmowingseeds.com/blog/how-to-grow-your-own-organic-non-gmo-chicken-feed/).  Grow your own vegetables indoors (tower garden - buy one or make your own.  Grow your own herbs.  Save grey water for watering.  Use LEDs in all your lights.  Keep the house cooler/warmer by several degrees - often the other apartments have their homes so warm or cool you get passive environmental control.  Use fans to cool, air circulation even when it's cool outside.  Buy local - Most cities have farmer's markets which will reduce the gas cost of supermarket groceries, plus they taste way better.  Eat stuff that others won't - offal, etc.  Much of that is wasted and is cheaper.  Learn how to make good food from what others think is garbage.  Wear warm clothes in the winter, cooler in the summer - the Amish go all year round without air conditioning and often work long hours in the cold with minimal layers.  They do very well, are very hardy folk and don't suffer.  I have even seen the kids barefoot in weather that would have most "English" scrambling for heavy boots and heavier jackets.
 
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