August 5, 2014

Sustainability: It Runs in the Family

Let me introduce myself. My name is Brady Loomis and I am the new member of the Crane Marketing and Customer Care team! I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison where I received a degree in Journalism and Environmental Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship. When I am not on the phone assisting you or writing new blog posts, you can find me outside either playing volleyball, taking a long bike ride or out on the lake sailing. As a little introduction to me and sustainability, I came up with a few suggestions to incorporate eco-friendly activities and changes into your life, enjoy!

We often hear people say they are trying to live more sustainably. Most of us just nod and praise their commitment, not really knowing what that means or how they plan on “living sustainably”. The truth is sustainability is a never ending process. Even your neighbor with a fabulous garden and picks their children up in a hybrid car are still working on becoming more sustainable.

The dictionary definition says that the word sustainable means: “being able to use something inevitably or for a long period of time, natural resources for instances, without

completely using it up or destroying it”. In contrast, living more sustainably defines a lifestyle that, as a long term pattern, minimizes one’s personal use of resources. This is a commonly mentioned term when people talk about reducing your carbon footprint and how much carbon you’re using on daily basis- driving cars, heating your home, even eating meat!

To many this may sound technical and complicated, but the truth is sustainable living is actually very easy, not to mention fun! There are many activities during the summer that are sustainable and you may already do them on a regular basis. For instance, instead of driving, take the family on a bike ride to the beach or park. This is a great way to reduce your family’s carbon footprint and get some exercise. You could also visit the local farmers market. Supporting local farmers and businesses means buying foods that often are grown more organically, have less packaging, and ultimately produced fewer emissions to appear at the market. You may also have a garden in your own yard or neighborhood, and probably shocked at how much better and stronger fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables taste! Growing up, my family grew tomatoes, herbs, lettuce and flowers among other things. There’s something about watching them grow that makes them taste that much better. It also taught my brother, sister and I about fresh foods, and that food doesn’t just appear in the grocery store.

There are so many ways to get everyone in the family involved in sustainability and the summer is the best time to start! Helping water the garden, plants, and lawn, washing the car, or installing a rain barrel to collect water during dry weeks reduces water use and prevents runoff.

For the next family grill out, try substituting turkey burgers for beef burgers. Turkey is the healthier choice by far, but what’s even more astonishing is that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef– that’s 36 full tub bubble baths worth of water. Raising turkeys require less space, water, and food, therefore making for a more sustainable burger!

With everyone home from school and always looking for something to do, craft projects are a great way to keep everyone busy and the creativity flowing. Upcycling is all the rage in today’s art community, and it’s sustainable! Start with recycled items or used items from a garage sale or resale shop, add some non-toxic paint or recycled paper, and watch cut outs transform an abandoned piece of trash into a fabulous piece of art. Growing up, my mom collected cardboard egg cartons, and my sister, our friends and I would paint and decorate them. Eventually she had over 50 decorated cartons! She attached them to a poster board and instantly we had a decorated egg carton mural. We still enjoy our work of art, even as college graduates.

Sustainable activities do not have to be intimidating. Choosing to bike whenever it’s convenient, buying some of your produce from farmers markets during the summer, or opening windows instead of constantly running the AC all make a difference and are excellent examples of sustainable choices. Even something as small as not running the dryer in the summer and hanging clothes to dry means you’re living more sustainably. The positive impact we can make is significant, and the next time someone tells you they’re trying to live more sustainably… you can say me too!