The 50 item checklist from Freedom Guerrilla, a very interesting a provocative blog:
2. Support local, sustainable agriculture. “Certified organic” generally is a better option when shooting in the dark, but not always. You should discuss these subtleties with your grower. To do this, you can support local farmer’s markets or join a CSA. You can also go so far as to work (labor for board) on a sustainable farm.
3. Live like a homesteader regardless of your zip code. This means learning the basic skills and labor that have been used by humans (and still employed today) for centuries regardless of if you live on a farm, in suburbia, or in New York City. Some of these skills include farming, canning/preserving, carpentry, metal work, sewing, etc.
4. Employ self-inflicted brown outs. Take your entire existence off the power grid every week for hours to days.
5. Drive less or not at all. Explore moving closer to your food source (I call it, “a job”). Make a goal and measure progress. If you’re not within bike range, you may be stretching the commute a bit far.
7. Choose natural, sustainably harvested materials or better yet, invest locally with people you know.
8. Support artists, artisans, craftspeople by buying and trading with them. This eliminates unnecessary markups, middlemen, product travel, and wasteful overproduction that over inflates modern finance.
9. Eliminate your debt by either paying it off or walking away from it. Either way, live without debt and choose with method best supports your overall financial independence plan.
10. When in doubt, cooperate. Seek and create living solutions that support friends, family, and the tribe. This may include moving into one house or homestead together (doubling, tripling up), sharing of tools or resources (eliminates unnecessary waste or inefficiency).
11. Eat less/no meat. Beef production is horribly unsustainable and destructive (read Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West for a bit of history). There are dozens of better alternatives. Try fasting for awhile to break a food addiction.
12. Eat less in general. The modern American diet leaves the practitioner overweight yet malnourished, addicted yet unsatisfied (pick up Food, Inc.: Mendel to Monsanto–The Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest for the complete lowdown).
13. Use the barter economy. This helps reduce the demand for new products and keeps this engine alive a little longer while massaging the lizard brain with new crap.
15. Produce your own energy. Ever see dozens to hundreds of people at spin class or on a treadmill? Wow, what a waste! Here’s some ideas for creating a bike generator. In fact, I’ve been wondering when somebody was going to build this. One more link to the human powered home. (Thanks, Joe!)
16. If you’ve got to have a T-bone, then choose pasture fed livestock that utilizes resources more efficiently than crop rotation. This is closely related to item #2, where the idea is to know where and how your food is produced. Check out the Weston A. Price Foundation for specifics. (Thanks, Kathrin Bateman!)
17. Confront your own addictions. Believe me, we’ve all got a certain level of consumptive addiction, and a good honest audit is cathartic and helps stop the bullshit. (Thanks, Dan!)
18. Kill your lawn! That Kentucky Bluegrass monoculture deserves to die for all the mowing, watering, seeding, and fertilizing love it’s received over the past 50+ years and given little in return. Lawns to Gardens is a great blog that I read regularly. (Thanks, Steve!)
19. Joe gets credit for #19 too. When you replace your next light bulb, use LED lights instead of filament bulbs.
20-36 Brought to you Susan Marie of Bridge To Somewhere. Thanks, Susan.
20. Practice WELLNESS – be proactive with your health. Exercise (even moderately)every day. Get enough rest/sleep. Drink a fair amount of water and green tea. Cut back on the sugar (it’s hidden in nearly everything). Seek herbal and plant-based remedys. Take a nap. Factor in some “down time” and relax. Learn to Meditate.
21. Volunteer in your local community. Do something nice for somebody else. Help snap your neighbors kids into their carseats for the morning drive. Save newspapers from sprinklers. Pick up trash and the dog-doo that somebody missed in the dark.
22. Stimulate your mind – read a book. Revive the classics. Join a book club and enjoy the interaction with other as you discuss what you read. Donate your books or give them away at a garage sale – just keep them moving.
23. Minimize your chemical impact on the environment. No more harsh cleaning chemicals around the house and in the garage. Same goes for shampoos and other hair care goodies. Rethink your choice of toothpaste as it might be more toxic that you realize.
24. Use a broom and not a blower to clean off sidewalks and driveways. Same for picking up leaves – use a rake or a push sweeper.
25. My darling husband gave me so much s**t for buying a hand push mower (the kind with the turning blades and big wheels, a people-powered device). Anyway, we had more fun with that thing and many neighbors came over to ask us about it and or give it a push. Of course I had fun making interesting basket-weave and angled patterns as I cut and cross cut the lawn.
26. Take shorter showers. Wrap your H2O heater in a blanket (made for that purpose)and turn down the heat (easier to do in the summer).
27. Install ceiling fans to circulate the air, to cool or warm the room (depending on the rotation direction)and prevent having to use the AC or heater.
28. Cook at home. Invite people over to share a meal with you (Indian food anyone?). Less energy is used in the preparation (one kitchen vs two) and less food is wasted.
29. Think composting toilets, now! They are clean and efficient. Some day it may be an essential, found in every home.
30. Learn to play an instrument or sing. Get that guitar out from the closet or under the bed. (Just clipped all nails on my left hand so as to hold those steel strings in place once again). Music is uplifting for the soul and the vibrations do wonders for the spirit.
31. Build things. Sorta like barn-raising. Get your neighbors to work as a group to complete tasks that need to be done – like tearing down and replacing a rotten fence or shed, or building a treehouse or play area/sandbox for the kids. Tear our tried dead landscape or help someone get control of their overgrown mess.
32. Hand wash and air dry your dishes in the sink. Use the dishwasher only when full and be sure to set it on the light wash or water-saver cycle.
33. Use your own bags when out shopping. No more plastic.
34. Buy stuff that is made from recycled stuff. Like shopping bags and paper products.
35. Buy a nice set of Corningware glass bowls with snap on lids. Use these around the kitchen instead of foil or plastic disposables, styrofoam, and or plastic wrap.
36. Save trees. Use less of everything paper. Paper towels and TP are over-used. It took some work, but I managed to get my husband’s daughter to go from “wads” of TP to a few squares. Try to reuse every scrap of printer paper + backsides too. I still subscribe to two newspapers (one to help keep my neighbor employed – he’s an Editor at the OC Register)but faithfully recycle every issue.
37. I’ve got a Brother laser printer that can do booklet printing and double sides. For manuals and stuff I need printed with lots of pages, That can end up cutting down on a lot of paper. Encourage any associations you are in (churches, schools, scouts, etc. to push electronic distribution. Many still print reams of stuff needlessly. (Thanks, Dan)
38. Get to know your neighbors if you don’t already. (Thanks, Matt)
39. One of my heroes, Charles Hugh Smith gets the next 2 spots: Play live music. If you have no training then play the bongos or have someone show you a simple drum rhythm. Music has a way of making things right. BTW I get a lot of email about my Les Paul Deluxe guitar that I’m playing in my photo. Musicians don’t give a crap about the dude playing, but they love the axe–those are the right priorities! I also play a Spanish acoustic and a Sigma (affordable Martin).
Note from Tommy: I was just thinking about this yesterday. I was wondering what ever happened to the house strummer or piano player instead of the Bose system playing whatever? That’s instant employment and style.
40. Keep less than $1,000 in money center banks and a credit and debit card for convenience, but move your other money out of Wall Street and into local banks or solar panels, productive land, etc. Only play in the stock market with money you can afford to lose and if you are an experienced, steeled-to losses technical-analysis trader.
41. Move into the smallest possible home (and plot of land) you can live in. The long-term environmental footprint (i.e. heating/cooling costs etc.) will be greatly diminished. This requires clearly distinguishing your needs from your wants and getting creative about how you accomodate the activities that occur infrequently. It also requires relinquishing your ego. (Thanks again, Steve.)
42. If you live where it gets cold, provide for your own heating needs by installing a wood stove, geothermal, solar, or anything you can manage that doesn’t leave you at the mercy of a utility. I plan on installing a wood stove before winter. (Thanks again, Matt.)
43. Sean said, “give up feminism. The waste associated empowering women is astonishing.” I modified it to, women liberation is not always terribly liberating if it creates more stress, more family dissonance, and worse results within the family. In my Utopia, everybody works her ass off and nobody has a “job.” In other words, seeking more dollars does not always solve the problems families seek to solve. I think the words “empowering women” is deceiving. Women have always had power — just not as much earning power compared to men. This is not necessarily a gift. Decide for your own situation and family. I would recommend striving for surviving on ideally no income, but realistically one income. Many women I talk to would love to not have to have a “job”, but do it out of either a sense of obligation or competition. Now there’s a stigma for women that not earning a wage is somehow not living up to her potential. That doesn’t sound like progress to me if it has traded one form of oppression for another.
44. Install a water harvesting system instead of relying on electrically pumped water through a municipality.
47. Learn the art of improvising. This is applied to music, art, and dance just as much as hardcore survival situations. Animals that can keep moving quickly out of danger and without a set plan tend to survive longer. Don’t get too stuck on process. However, the best improvisers are well-trained and trust that their memory will solve problems without too much thinking. Remember Friedrich Engels said, “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”
48. Learn to push your mind and body further than you think is reasonable. Do you wonder how some people can run 250 miles without rest while others can barely walk 250 feet without complaining? When it comes to your endurance and tenacity, if you are breathing, there is always more to give.
49. Kill your TV. Its only purpose is to get you to consume and brainwash you that the dominant paradigm is the right one. (Thanks, Chinle!)
50. Give up formalized, commercialized gift giving holidays and birthdays. Make gift giving a way of life that has nothing to do with objects or reciprocity. Make something meaningful and personal and give that as a gift rather than something nobody cares about or needs. When I was a child, my parents wouldn’t allow their kids to buy anything for gift-giving holidays. Instead, we made everything by hand which took a lot of time, effort, and thought. I still remember all of those gifts that were exchanged and remember virtually nothing that was store bought.