Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Top 100 Green DIY Skills

Honing your green skills is part of growing and learning to walk softly on the earth. How many things do you really know how to do in order to increase your green and decrease your carbon footprint? Here is a list of 100 essential skills for the green DIY-er.

Essential Food Skills

1. Read and understand product labels

2. Bake bread

3. Make your own bread starter and keep it going

4. Make cheese, yogurt, and kefir from local milk

5. Preserve food by canning

6. Preserve food by drying

7. Forage for local wild foods safely

8. Raise a couple of backyard chickens

9. Make your own tofu,tempeh, and soy milk

10. Eat locally and in season

11. Grind your own flour

12. Grow your own produce

13.Grow your own herbs

14.Grow your own sprouts

15. Blend your own herbal tea

16. Have a repertoire of vegetarian recipes you can use for various occasions

17. Fish or hunt responsibly if you eat meat

18. Make homemade pastas and other pantry basics

19. Cook a variety of foods well

20. Utilize a menu to minimize food waste

21. Throw a party without compromising your green values

22. Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

23. Sharpen kitchen knives so they last

24. Make homemade granola bars, granola, waffles, and other breakfast items

25. Make baked goods from "scratch".

26. Understand terms like, "organic", "Fair Trade", "all natural", and "GMO"

Essential Household Skills

27. Sew well enough to repair clothing

28. Sew well enough to make your own clothing and reusable shopping bags

29. Sew fitted cloth diapers for your baby

30 .Knit or crochet dishcloths

31. Know how to reupholster a chair

32. Make your own laundry soap

33. Make your own dishwasher detergent

34. Make your own house cleaning supplies

35. Use diatomaceous earth, bay leaves, and other "eco-friendly" natural pest deterrents

Home Maintenance and Repair Skills

36. Use non-electric appliances rather than electric

37. Know where to find non-electric appliances

38. Program a thermostat

39. Tile a counter top

40. Use 0 VOC paint

41. Repair a screen

42. Use a caulk gun

43. Make simple appliance repairs such as replacing belts

44. Find what you need by bartering, or using CraigsList, eBay, and thrift stores

45. Repair a leaky toilet

46. Repair a leaky faucet

47. Replace a faucet

48. Check your home for energy leaks using incense, a candle, or a device that is created for that purpose

49. Unclog a drain without using Drano or harmful chemicals

50. Insulate an attic with eco-friendly insulation

Gardening Skills

51 .Build a compost system

52. Use compost to enrich your soil

53. Plan a garden for your climate

54. Understand xeriscaping

55. Plant a multi-seasonal vegetable garden

56. Build a simple cold frame for salad all year

57. Build frames for raised bed gardens

58. Make a rainwater catchment system

59. Use a manual reel mower

60. Use companion planting methods to control pests

61.Build a bat house to encourage bats and decrease mosquitoes

62. Use predator insects like Praying Mantis to control garden pests

63. Know what heirloom seeds are and why you should use them

64. How to plant open pollinated vegetables for best yields

65. How to save seeds from your own produce

66. Plant trees and bushes to cut your energy bills

67. Use soaker hoses to conserve water

68. Sharpen and maintain tools

Health Skills

69. Know how to use herbs and natural remedies to treat common illnesses

70. Make your own soap

71. Make your own skin care products

72. Use essential oils for health and cleaning

73. Make your own deodorant

Transportation Skills

74. Tune up a bicycle and make repairs

75. Do simple maintenance on your car

76. Arrange or locate a carpool

77. Learn to use hypermiling techniques

78. Plan eco-friendly air travel

Energy Skills

79. Install exterior solar lighting

80. Install a solar panel

81. Know where to find the most eco-friendly, green power source available to you

82. Connect home electronics to power strips for easy shut off

83. Check the wattage of an appliance

84. Calculate annual kilowatt usage

Conservation Skills

85. Use email rather than conventional mail

86. Switch to a paperless office

87. Locate the local library and use it rather than buying books, DVDs, and tapes

88. Adjust your settings on the computer to make it more energy efficient

89. Use skype and other technology to limit the need for travel to conferences

90. Learn to plan eco-friendly vacations, such as camping (and leave no trace)

91. Replace a hobby with an environmentally friendly hobby

92. Locate and use recreational green spaces such as hiking trails, parks, and public gardens

93. Understand and be able to explain what cradle to cradle means

94. Understand and be able to explain what carbon emissions are

95. Understand and be able to calculate a carbon footprint as well as explain what it is

96. Know where to recycle technological items like computers, microwaves, televisions etc.

97. Identify and sort a variety of recyclable materials

98. Know where reusable items can be substituted for disposables

99. Understand and be able to explain cap-and-trade

Do you agree with all of those? Are there others that you feel are important? Let us know your thoughts!

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