One Point in the Spider Web

“If we try to pick out any thing by itself, we find it hitched to every thing else in the universe.”  — John Muir, 1911

In a recent cable TV interview (clip coming), I noted that one of the purposes of the new “Sustainable We” forums, launching October 20th, is to celebrate the people who embrace the fact that we are a part of the interconnected ecosystem — not above it, or apart from it.

What are they doing that we can replicate in our own lifestyles? How are they making sustainability “the new normal”? How are they making it easier for all of us to contribute more positively to the Sustainable We?

To be sustainable, I believe we need our collective power to transition Me households and businesses into We communities.

One of the couples I’ve met recently who “gets” how our individual role leads to every other point in the ecosystem is George and Jenna Hutchinson, of Lynnhurst.

Read more about their story here.

As an example of a few of the things the Hutchinsons have done over the past few years, take a look at this graph of details related to the adjustments they’ve made to reduce their energy use, carbon emissions and toxic runoff into local water and soil.

Feature Function/ details Cost
Electric yard equipment reduce gas usage snow and lawn machines $300 Neuton cordless mower; $249 Toro Powercurve
Nissan Leaf electric vehicle locally produced electricity use $250/month lease
Rooftop solar 17-250 watt Motec modules $8,450 net after incentives
Rain barrel stormwater collection reduce downstream flow; save rooftop runoff $55 each
Roof insulation improvements reduce heat loss with R-30 fiberglass batt, poly vapor retarder, cold-side ventilation roughly $1500 (1986)
Compost bin create nutrient-rich soil from organics roughly $100 (compost system in place 30 years)
Organic garden and raingarden patio absorb runoff with porous sand under flagstones, enriched with compost $200 flagstone, $25 sand, existing pollinator-friendly plants and rotating vegetables
LED lights reduce electrical load and transmission loss $3 per CFL; $9-27 per LED
Double-hung windows reduce air leaks $632/window (1999)
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