A home is made up of many things: foundation, structure, function, and of greatest importance, the people within its walls. A healthy home is a beautiful thing, for it implies a clean, life-supporting environment. Your home may include a whole household, or your dwelling may be a small apartment. Either way, being responsible for a home provides us many opportunities to make world-conscious decisions about what comes in and what goes out of our space, and what happens in between. The first step to being a responsible, “green” homeowner is to consider our homes as individual ecosystems that have been trusted with us, and are under our care.
That many of us live alone or apart from others does not exempt us from our greater community. Each of us is a neighbor – whether 10 feet or 10 miles apart from others. What I do in my home may affect me only in the immediate future, but long-term each one of us feels the effects of these household decisions. Our watersheds, waste management, and crime-safety are only a handful of issues that concern neighbors in pursuit of healthy homes and neighborhoods. In many ways we can be thoughtful, considerate, “green” dwellers in our homes and henceforth in our world.
Our measures to securing a healthy home might begin by simply taking extra time to sort out the recycling, or remembering to bring a cloth bag to the grocery store, and finding ways to use and re-use bags and other packaging. Next, we may find ourselves installing energy-saving light switch dimmers, replacing a toilet with a low-gallon tank, or finding non-toxic ways to clean the bathtub and floors. As we begin to pay attention to our resources, their limits and potential, we cannot help but feel accountable for the waste that leaves our homes and the kinds of cleansers we pour down our drains. In taking responsibility for our plot of land or space on Earth, we may no longer feel helpless in the face of such frightening ecological statistics that prevail today. In reality, striving for a healthy home becomes a very powerful, political statement.
Think of it this way: the fate of your home, your fate, is linked with that of your neighbors. Can you look one another in the eye, wish one another well, and feel confident you are doing all you can to ensure bright and healthy homes for the next generation? Let’s hope so.