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Small Acts of Sustainability

Sustainability is a word and an action that often feels overwhelming, challenging, or daunting. But none of those things have to be true! In fact, at Raintree School, we practice sustainability every day.

Let's start by talking about what sustainability is so that we can feel a bit more at ease. The University of California - Los Angeles defines sustainability as “…practices that support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality.” (UCLA - Sustainability ). This simply means taking actions today that will leave the planet in better shape for the future. An example of this from our school would be the use of micro-fiber towels instead of paper-based products. There are many small switches in products or lifestyle that can help us minimize the impact we have on the environment.

Sustainability doesn't have to be difficult. In some cases, it can even be easier and more cost-effective than what you are currently doing. Take the microfiber towels for example. If you switched something like this at home, think of all the money you would save instead of buying paper towels. One roll of mega paper towels from Bounty costs $5, and let's be honest, probably only lasts a week in a household with kids. That adds up to about 20 dollars a month. A pack of reusable towels that can be washed any day of the week costs about the same and would last far longer. There are many options for reusable paper towels on Etsy, if you are interested, and they come from small businesses!

Becoming conscious about your paper product usage is not the only thing you can do at home to become sustainable. We have many other sustainable practices at Raintree that you can do at home, like having a compost bin! Our compost bin helps us reduce the amount of food that goes into the trash can and gives us great material for our garden. There are many affordable ways to do this! The Urban Worm Company has some great resources and tools as well, but they are a little more expensive. Composting is much easier than it sounds! In addition to the compost bin, some of our kitchen scraps go to the three hens here at Raintree. They not only provide our chickens with enrichment but also prevent food scraps from going to the landfill.

Another Raintree sustainability hack is our garden. It assists many pollinators, but also provides us with fresh vegetables. Chef Katie also sources our food from local farms. This not only helps local businesses but reduces the carbon emissions of big trucks as they are traveling shorter distances. You can do these things too, and they don't have to be big productions! Start by planting your favorite vegetables or going to a local farmers market.

Even easier ways to practice sustainability are things like using reusable shopping bags, watching water usage at home, recycling, swapping heavy cleaning products for more natural cleaning products, shopping secondhand, and so much more!

There are many small steps you can take to help our planet. Sustainability does not have to be a big daunting task. While doing small things at your house might seem trivial, it does make a difference! Small rocks still create ripples in the lake. For more information check out this list of sustainability resources from Purdue Global.

- Morgan Buehlmann


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