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Sustainability for All


Practical Action for a Fragile Planet
ideas and action on sustainability from the Dominican Alliance

Dominican Alliance
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Home Improvements

January – Heat

“Lower is better, put on a sweater.”

Minimize your use of ventilation fans such as bathroom and
kitchen in winter.
Regularly replace air filters
Set back the thermostat when asleep or away.
Do an energy audit
Don't heat areas not regularly used.
Open blinds & curtains on the sunny side.

December       Cleaning Products

When you clean, go green.

Refuse to purchase any anti-bacterial soaps. They destroy good bacteria as well as harmful and are promoting dangerous levels of antibiotic-resistance in humans.

The Clean Water Fund, a non-profit organization, estimates the average American uses 40 lbs of unsafe household cleaners each year. These toxins end up in our bodies, the air, the soil, the oceans, and in our own drinking water.

Cleaning agents with chlorine bleach release dioxins into the air and water stream. Dioxins are the most harmful of manufactured carcinogenic chemicals. A safe alternative is hydrogen peroxide (3% solution).

There are many resources for mixing your own alternative cleaners, using inexpensive, healthier choices like white vinegar, borax, washing soda, salt, and hydrogen peroxide.

One chlorine-free scouring cleanser is Bon Ami. One plant-based soap (as opposed to most soaps which are petroleum-based) is Dr. Bronners.

Clean & Green by Annie Berthold-Bond


Green Cleaning Network

November: Plastic Bags

Start a fashion.  Make cloth bags a passion.

  • Plastic doesn’t biodegrade. Each year Americans “throw away” 100 billion bags.
  • Less than 1% of plastic bags world wide are recycled. Only 0.6% in the U.S.They are made of petroleum or natural gas.
  • Huge numbers of birds and marine mammals die from ingesting or getting caught in them.
  • China, South Africa, Ireland are among several nations instituting taxes or outright banning their use. San Francisco has banned them in the U.S.

Challenge yourself to go one week without accumulating any new plastic bags.




October :   Mountaintop Electricity




Mountain tops roll.
All for the coal.

  • Coal is the country’s dirtiest source of electricity and climate changing greenhouse gases.
  • Burning coal puts carbon, mercury, and other pollutants into the atmosphere, contributing to higher incidences of asthma in children.
  • For every one ton of coal extracted from the mountains, 14 tons of debris are dumped, burying streams and filling the valleys.
  • The cost to the mountain eco systems and local communities includes the constant noise and shaking of the blasting, denuded mountainsides, flooding, and tons of toxic slag pools.
  • Switching one 100 watt incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent cuts the equivalent of 100 lbs of coal.  The CFL uses 75% less energy and can save you $30-60 dollars over its lifetime.

Challenge yourself to conserve energy in one new way.

September - Energy and Transportation   

Be cool! Use less fuel!
  • Plan trips carefully, combine several errands.
  • Use smart driving techniques: slow starts, no sudden braking, use cruise control, don’t speed.
  • Carpool when possible.
  • Have your car serviced on a regular basis, keep tires properly inflated.
  • Rid car of unnecessary weight.
  • Don’t idle engine for more than a minute, turn it off.

and click on vehicles
and click on transportation

August  -  Buying locally

Wherever you roam, eat close to home. 
  • Food travels an average of 1500 fossil-fueled miles to reach our plates.
  • Our food purchases consume tremendous amounts of oil to fertilize, irrigate, harvest, package, ship, and advertise.
  • Eat less meat.  Switch to vegetables one day per week.
  • Join a CSA or support a local farmers market.
  • Ask local restaurants and grocers to offer locally grown foods.
  • Read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


July  -  Lawn Care


Don’t feed. Don’t mow. Let grow. 

  • Over 100 millions pounds of chemicals are dumped on U.S. lawns each year.
  • The US uses over 800,000,000 gallons of gas annually in lawn mowers.
  • Mow only when needed. Set mower height to 3 inches and return grass clippings to lawn.
  • Keep mower blades sharp to prevent harming grass and inviting disease.
  • Plant native grass and flowers, which require less water and no fertilizer.
  • Plant edible landscape instead of grass.

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