Life Requirements Checklist
Excerpted from Collaborative Spunk: The Feisty Guide to Reviving People and Our Planet, by A. Gayle Hudgens, PhD.
Based on the Four System Conditions of The Natural Step, ©2002 A. Gayle Hudgens
Decreasing my dependence on mined metals, minerals, and fossil fuels. (SC1*):
I use mercury-free light bulbs, cadmium-free batteries and lead-free paints.
I use iron cookware rather than pots and pans made from hard-to-recycle alloys.
I walk, car-pool, take public transportation or ride a bicycle to work at least 2 days a week.
My lifestyle supports limiting my errands and unnecessary driving / flying
My present car gets 40 miles per gallon or better.
My next car will be a hybrid-electric car.
I take used motor oil, solvents, and toxic metal or mineral substances to authorized hazardous waste sites.
I minimize purchases of electric kitchen, yard, and workshop gadgets when manual devices can be substituted
I support / am shifting to solar (or wind) generated electricity and I am mindful about efficient use of electricity based on nuclear, coal or petroleum (installing a passive solar hot water heater is a good first step).
I patronize garage sales and thrift shops for jewelry and other products made of matter from the earth's crust.
I recycle, re-use, or repair tools, appliances, or other items made from metals and minerals.
SUBTOTAL (11 possible)

Decreasing my dependence on persistent unnatural substances (SC2*):
I read labels on packaging, and avoid buying items (i.e., food, cleaning supplies, etc.) that contain chlorine and other harmful substances.
My drinking water and paper products are not chlorine-treated.
Eco-toxic substances do not leak from my home or work and I keep them from accumulating in Nature
My living space is free of chemical vapors (off-gassing from carpets, vinyl and plastic-based materials and finishes), chipboard and plywood containing formaldehyde, synthetic building materials, plastic vapor barriers, concrete floors (containing synthetic filler), urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, and synthetics-based plastic paints and adhesives
I avoid using products and packaging that contain toxic substances: cleaning products, furniture polish, chlorine-based bleach, air freshners, paints, and paint removers, motor oil with additives, solvents, antifreeze, and synthetic fuels.
I recycle or take harmful substances to the hazardous collection center.
I usually "Heloise" my dishes (soak them in hot water with a small amount of bio-degradable detergent) and then rinse them off to air dry in a rack.
If I use an automatic dishwasher, I run a completely full load on the energy saver cycle and use a bio-degradable dishwashing product plus one-quarter cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle. After last rinse cycle, I open it to air dry.
I am fully conscious of what I eat and drink (where it came from, how far it traveled and how much and how much energy/fuel was spent in production and transport; was it produced with exploited labor, extravagant irrigation, toxic pesticides, or chemical fertilizers; was it grown in a polluted region).
I buy locally grown or grow my own organic produce whenever possible.
I am fully aware of causes of groundwater pollution and support its prevention -- pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and run-off from factory farms; industrial spills, leaks and waste disposal; oil and gas production and processing; gasoline storage tank leaks and spills; mine tailings and toxic byproducts; nuclear waste synthetic spin-offs; hazardous and solid waste dumps; acid rain from polluted air; and household sewage (which contains, believe it or not, pharmaceuticals, like synthetic birth control compounds and chemical additives from processed food, shampoo, and endless other human-made products).
I prefer herbal remedies to pharmaceuticals made from persistent synthetic materials and non-invasive treatments to surgery with its numerous unsustainable by-products and the pollution from hazardous medical incineration.
I use cosmetics and toiletries that are free of persistent synthetic substances.
SUBTOTAL (13 possible)

Decreasing my dependence on activities which encroach on productive parts of nature (SC3):
I avoid taking long road trips.
When I shop, I take my own bags with me. I buy staples in bulk and avoid excessive and non-recyclable packaging.
I avoid leaking plumbing fixtures and long showers. I use low volume shower heads and toilets, do not flush every time, or leave the water running when not in use
I support local organic farmers who take good care of the land and grow common open-pollinated plants (non-hybrid, non-treated, non-genetically-engineered seeds or genetically manipulated species).
I grow some of my own herbs and salad makings in my own garden, or in containers on my patio or window sill, or in a nearby community garden.
I have planted and organically nurtured at least one fruit or nut tree in my lifetime.
I generally eat off the lower end of the food chain (i.e., mostly vegetarian) and if I eat animal products, I raise my own or buy from a local source.
I do not eat wild fish from depleted populations or genetically modified farm fish.
I eat many raw foods (nuts, fruits, vegetables, sprouts, and seeds).
I "reduce, reuse, repair and recycle" as often as possible.
I compost yard and food wastes.
I landscape with edible and native plants with low water requirements and avoid impervious materials (like asphalt or concrete driveways or patios). Already existing impermeable surfaces collect and redirect water to gardens and orchards.
I use kenaf, hemp, or other non-tree stationery.
SUBTOTAL (13 possible)

Decreasing my dependence on using large amounts of resources needed more by others, especially those in exploited countries (SC4):
I choose to live simply that others may simply live. I focus on my real needs.
Charity is not enough. I am taking active responsibility for deprivations in our world and express my concerns and recommendations to friends, family, editors, and my elected representatives.
I am healthy and happy without the drain of the status symbol syndrome.
I am a responsible consumer. I often shop at thrift stores, recycle my printer cartridges, use the library, and share tools or rides with neighbors.
I do far more with less and with the intent of responsible resource use.
Biomimicry is beautiful. I learn something new from Nature virtually every day.
In my work and lifestyle I honor present and future human needs worldwide so that resources can be distributed where they are most needed.
I vote with my spending habits. I definitely do not buy or invest in genetically manipulated seeds or products, weapons, space exploration, or products of globalization.
Socially responsible investments are important to me. I support sustainable products even before they show up on the market.
I am doing my part to meet human needs worldwide. I volunteer time to teach or contribute in sustainable ways (literacy programs, community gardens, restoration projects in diverse neighborhoods, social justice actions or systems perspective legislation, a Coach 5 group, etc.).
I patronize local sustainable industry rather than multi-national corporations with a history of social injustice and ecological indifference.
SUBTOTAL (11 possible)
TOTAL (48 possible)

Retest yourself every few months and note your progress. The higher the score, the more sustainably you are behaving. Increase everyone's opportunities by telling your family and friends!

*SC - These represent each of the Four System Conditions that must exist in order for our societies and our planet to be sustainable.

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