Essay: Ethics of Sustainable Design

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The afternoon for me is usually a time for reading, research, catching up on correspondence and perhaps another treadmill work out if it feels right to do a second one. More electricity is used due to those activities. In the evening (after a light dinner which might consist of steamed vegetables -- which of course requires natural gas -- and small portions of seafood or chicken) I watch movies, news, or sports on television, using more electricity. The light and reasonably healthy diet I am utilizing is due to my recent weight-loss project. I do not take a shower every day that I'm home writing, but of course there is the need to flush the toilet and that means water usage.

The average person uses 64 gallons of water a day, according to www.info.com. I know I don't use that much because I don't use the dishwasher (I wash dishes by hand and scrimp and save on water while doing that) and I don't immediately flush the toilet after urinating -- I may use the toilet 2 or 3 times that way prior to flushing. (I follow the rhyme, "If it's yellow, it's mellow; but if it's brown, flush it down). I have a TV in my bedroom and I usually fall asleep watching a movie, any movie, and the clock by my bedside tells me when it is 4:30 A.M. so I can begin to think about getting up and starting a new day.

Commentary on my Energy Usage

One of the reasons that many environmentally-minded people (including myself) have advocated the use of solar photovoltaic technologies for a number of years is because we know that burning coal and oil to generate electricity produces greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. There is no more compelling environmental issue than the rising temperatures around the globe. "Earth's average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next hundred years" (EPA). When all climate change considerations are taken into account including the rising ocean levels, melting glaciers, droughts, super-charged storms (tornados, cyclones, and hurricanes), the need for citizens to curb their use of electricity (and fossil fuels) is right at the top of the list.

I have attempted to "energy-proof" my house (compact florescent light bulbs; insulated attic; windows that close properly) and I have a timed sprinkler system on my low-maintenance front yard (drought resistant native shrubs and plants). As for food, I try to buy local (and organic) and when I am away from the house for a period of time, I set my water heater to "vacation mode" (Jefferson). I use cold water to wash clothes, I recycle, and I don't use bottled water. I look back at the energy and other resources I use in a day's time and I am proud that at least I am trying to conserve. My next step is to have photovoltaic technologies attached to the roof. That is not cheap, but in the long run it will save money and save electricity.

Works Cited

Jefferson, Millie. 2012. 15 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. Weekend America / Public

Radio. Retrieved September 7, 2012, from http://sustainability.publicradio.org.

Info.com. 2010. How much water does an average person use each day?… [END OF PREVIEW]

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