Welcome to Ecology Begins at Home!
Sustainable, healthy lifestyle in a nutshell!

Make the world a better place, a little every day! Positive, practical, hopeful ways to make our world more sustainable one step at a time. Educational inspiration for building a healthier future for ourselves and the planet. Reflect, discuss, experiment and discover the joys of being a constructive force in the world!  Downloads

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A secure, healthy future

Low energy cooking

Measuring success

Change begins at home

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nature's package

 

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Sustainability lies in our hands!

Nature, the entire planetary biosphere, is our life support system and its health lies in our hands. We live in it and are supported by it, just like the astronauts on a space station, supported by their energy, food, water and air supply systems. The astronauts cannot trash their space station, nor fill it with more people than it can support, if they want to stay healthy and well. Likewise if we want to remain healthy and well, we must insure that nature stays clean, productive and healthy, and keep our numbers and our consumption within the limits that nature can support on an annual basis. With a footprint of 1.5 planets, humanity is far above that right now. Thus, it is time to roll up our sleeves, put on our thinking caps, and start changing things, beginning at home.

1. Humanity's "trash" (the waste products of all our production and consumption), is trashing the planet with toxic and non-biodegradable materials. We are slowly poisoning ourselves and all of nature. Carbon dioxide, one of many waste products, causes global warming and an unstable climate. We need to reduce our trash by reducing consumption, recycling and lots more sharing, i. e., by voluntarily limiting ourselves. Good for us, good for other species, good for the planet.

2. Every square inch of the earth’s surface has been taken for human use today, crowding out animals, plants, forests, etc. Many species have died out due to lack of space (habitat), thus weakening ecosystem resiliency. All the planet’s land, water, groundwater, minerals and even the oceans have been conquered for human use. We have no buffers, no surplus cushion to use in times of drought, earthquake or stress. To guarantee survival of most species and our own health, we can set aside half of our planet's land and water as nature reserves (see E. O. Wilson's book Half Earth).

3. Resources (forests, fish, farmland, soil, minerals, biodiversity,etc) are shrinking because we take more from nature than grows back each year. Soil blows away with the wind. Climate change makes things worse because drought and flooding reduce the amount of farmland and fresh water available. Storms destroy property, crops, animals and villages.

4. These natural physical limitations (or planetary boundaries, as they are also called) put a limit on how much humanity can grow. We have already passed the limits, creating crowded, unhealthy living conditions and an unstable climate. The instability grows when we try to solve poverty with more growth. Instead, we need to reduce our consumption by sharing more. We need to improve our health and economy by setting decreased population as a goal (see the online book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot).

5. As we reduce our demands on the common planetary resources, we improve our situation and move towards being within the limits. Health and sustainability are achievable goals but require profound changes in our lifestyles and in our production and distribution systems. Technical change and industrial efficiency can not alone solve the problems (as far as "trash" goes, technology is the problem). See fact sheet Growth vs Health and Sustainability. The rich in all countries (this includes you and me) must take the lead in reducing our consumption and restoring ecosystem healthwe are the leaders of our own revolution. See Change begins at home.

6. Reducing our needs and still living joyfully isn’t especially difficult (see A secure, healthy future) but requires a new way of thinking, thinking more of our children's future and less of ourselves. Human experience and research tell us that we can be happy and fulfilled without high consumption. Our parents were happy, weren't they, with only half the consumption? In fact, above basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, etc, science and literature both tell us it is family, friends, health and education that are most important.   Less consumption means less work and gives more time to spend on valued activities.

7. The United Nations expresses our creative challenge for the 21st century in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 major goals with 168 sub-goals. Underlying all these goals are strong, resilient communities and a healthy, stable nature (see system diagram Sustainable Development Goals). When we know we have healthy local agriculture, energy and freshwater ecosystems that can  provide our basic needs indefinitely into the future, we can truly feel hope and be satisfied. We can then help others to achieve the same. Thus, our own community's future, as well as the whole world's, truly lies in our hands.

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Reviews of Ecology Begins at Home

—The most important single book any citizen of the planet can read on environmental issues… amazingly clear and simple… immensely empowering… bursting with creativity and the fun of exploring. Pierre Pradervand, author of The Gentle Art of Blessing, in Cygnus Books reviews, April 2009.

—An essential guide to low-impact living… easy steps we can all take at home to reduce our impact on the planet. Friends of the Earth, Scotland, 2006.

—Read it in one sitting and fell in love with it… fun, immediately rewarding, and easy enough to do right this minute, Community Regeneration, Rodale Institute, USA.

—Easy to read… practical little book. Archie use[s] the choices he makes to change the world. The Environment Centre, Swansea, Wales, 2009.

—An invaluable guide to reducing one’s impact… riveting… [for] even the most hardened environmentalist, Environment Magazine, UK, 2006.

—The best book yet on how to green your lifestyle… makes the whole subject very clear and understandable. Permaculture Magazine UK, 2005.

—Inspirational… within minutes I was implementing changes… If you are finding it hard to persuade family members, this book’s non-preachy methods might just work! Green Parent Magazine, UK.

—The most genially simple and concrete guide to practical ecology out today. Should be spread in massive editions, not the least to children, who easily understand it and who are usually less habit-bound than we adults. Swedish Library Service 1990.

Archie Duncanson, retired engineer and writer, lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and trained in economics, computers, optimization, statistics and systems theory at Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA. After a career as management consultant in industry, he began writing about how to solve the big environmental problems from the bottom up by taking personal responsibility. He believes teachers can be the most important people in life—as mentors, encouragers and by asking the questions that make you think!

Copyright 2005-2017 Archie Duncanson. Contact: Pokalvägen 6-5tr, 11740 Stockolm. duncansonian=at=yahoo.com. Såettfrö Publishers, Stockholm.