A Tiny Bit Sustainable

“Sustainable” is one of the new concepts I’m learning to live. In my career, a sustainable piece of equipment is one we can continue to maintain and operate for a long time. It’s a piece of equipment we can sustain, in other words.

In terms of how we live, something is sustainable if we can keep it up easily and without creating much waste along the way.

One reason I’m learning to live “sustainable” is simply this…I’m trying to build some new habits to keep my life clean and simple and I’d like those habits to serve me for the rest of my days.

Another reason…”sustainable” as I’m learning it means I’ll be doing my part to reduce waste, which benefits the world in some way. It’s a win-win kind of proposition.

Here are just a couple of examples of how I’m learning to live the idea of “sustainable.”

1. I read a fair number of professional journals throughout the month, mostly related to information technology, computer network security and space system engineering. I’ve started changing over to the electronic versions of the journals instead of the paper format I used to enjoy. What I have found so far is that…

  • …I save a ton of paper (maybe literally, over time)
  • …I save a ton of space, because I can store the electronic version pretty easily on my hard drive instead of on my bookshelves
  • …I can focus in on just the articles that apply to me right now, saving tons of time
  • …I can take notes on those articles in a separate notebook, which actually helps me learn the material better
  • …I can do a quick electronic search in my journal folder on the hard drive whenever a new topic catches my interest
  • …I create almost no waste at all
  • …I can definitely sustain this practice as long as I continue to subscribe to these journals

2. At my office, we have a “book exchange” in the main breakroom with some shelves dedicated to fiction and some to non-fiction. Whenever I read a fiction, I rarely read the book more than once, so I’ll take it to the book exchange the next day. And with non-fiction books, it’s tough for me because I want to keep them forever, but I’m even learning to take those to the book exchange the next day too. With this one, I am learning that…

  • …I share taste in fiction with many of my co-workers and we are creating “shared experiences” by discussing books we’ve both read
  • …I tend to read biographies, business-related, or technical-oriented non-fiction and those tend to be popular in our book exchange so the same good ideas are being spread throughout the office
  • …I can take notes on the non-fiction books in my notebook (mentioned above), which actually helps me learn the material better
  • …I can, over time, reduce the number of books in our shelves at home, allowing us to focus our collection a little more and reduce or eliminate clutter

Over time, I can hardly wait to expand on this idea and add more sustainability to my life. If you have any ideas on this, leave a comment. Let’s all learn together.

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