Hey I'm Rob Greenfield, I live in San Diego, California, and I'm going to show you how I live sustainably at home, and how my lifestyle is beneficial to the earth, my community, and myself.
Come on in.
So basically what we do here in this house is we try to live in a way that causes minimal harm and is beneficial to everything around us.
So it's just kind of a matter of paying attention to our little daily actions and how they affect the world.
And that comes down to things like food, energy, water, waste, transportation, and consumption.
Those are the things that we deal with every single day, but very often completely forget to think about how they affect people and the planet and animals.
So this is just gonna show you how I'm living at home, and you can choose to take some of these things if you want to as well, or not.
So these are oats that I bought in bulk at the grocery store.
I use a reusable bag, come home, put them in a jar.
As you can see, I'm not creating any waste by using this bag, I've reused it a hundred times.
And then I put it in a jar and then this is my food.
I've got oats, quinoa, coconut flakes, This is for making my own popcorn.
Lentils, seeds, brown rice.
This is all herbs and spices, stuff for baking down here.
The cool thing is when you eat this way, a lot of the stuff doesn't have to be refrigerated, which means you're using a lot less electricity by not having to refrigerate stuff.
And you'll notice all of this is whole, organic food.
So it's all simply one ingredient in every single one of these jars.
This water purifier here cost me about $70 and removes everything except fluoride.
Really simple, it's simple to install, I just fill up my water bottle this way.
I never have to use a plastic bottle, which again saves me a ton of money and also, creates a lot less waste.
It's pretty good.
So I live in an apartment.
I rent, which means I'm somewhat limited in things that I can do.
Grey water is something that usually takes a little bit more infrastructure.
But what I do simply at home, is I put a bucket under the sink, unscrew this pipe, and then, when I let the water out, it goes into this bucket.
And then I take this water out and use it to water my vegetables.
So that way the water is being used twice.
And that's one way that I cut back on my water consumption.
So there's a lot of really simple things you can do to conserve resources at home that will take you absolutely no extra time or energy.
Here, for example, is my current faucet.
It's using 1.
8 gallons per minute.
I can simply take this off, put this on.
This cost me $3 and uses a half-gallon per minute.
So this uses almost 4 times less water, but takes me no extra effort to use.
And, basically, this cost me $3, which will pay for itself in a matter of a couple of months, in the average house.
If you think of the saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned, ” Well after 2 months, this thing is literally paying you, using that.
Another thing that we do in this house is we don't use disposable anything.
Napkins, paper towels, tin foil, saran wrap, cups, plates, utensils.
And basically, by doing that, we save ourselves a ton of money and we create a lot less trash.
To give you an example, here we have reusable towels.
We use these for drying our hands, drying our dishes, wiping down the counters.
And by doing this, we don't have to go to the store to buy paper towels, which saves us gas, which saves making less trash, which saves us a ton of money as well.
You probably won't notice, but we actually don't have a trash can or a recycling bin inside the house.
The reason is, we just don't create a whole lot of it.
The average American creates about 4.
5 pounds a day, and I did a bike trip across America where I created 2 pounds in a hundred days.
So about 200 times less than the average American.
Having done that, I create very little, and when I do, I just bring it out to the garbage can or the recycling bin in the alley.
And the reason is because I've found that the more convenient something is, the more likely I am to do it.
So if I can make it inconvenient to create trash, it just makes it a little bit easier for me to do that.
So rather than tossing my food scraps into the garbage, I compost them.
Simply put them into this bucket, and when it's full, which it is now, I take these out back, into a larger compost.
So these food scraps from the kitchen come out here to my little composter.
And this is just an old drum that you can get for free.
Just all sorts of fruits and vegetable scraps.
Then I just pop this cap back on and I'm good to go So, our food waste sits in here and breaks down, and when this fills up, what we do is we take an old bookshelf that we find in the alley, lay it down, and turn it into a garden bed.
So what was once in here, we dumped into here, put a layer of topsoil over that, and now we're growing our own vegetables out of our old kitchen scraps.
So it's an example of being able to put your waste to really good use.
So right now we're growing tomatoes, broccoli, collards, chard, and kohlrabi, and we've got fennel back here.
And it's absolutely good quality, delicious stuff, and it's amazing.
I just started gardening within the last year, and it's so cool to come out here and just be able to grab fresh food, make a smoothie, make a salad.
All of this stuff grows basically for free right here in our backyard.
And it's pretty dang easy.
So since I started to pay attention to my surroundings, I've also learned that food grows for free, all around me.
This is nasturtium.
I lived in San Diego for two years before I learned that this an edible flower.
It's spicy like arugula and all these leaves are edible as well.
It grows free, all over.
And there's all sorts of free food growing, free herbs growing all around San Diego.
And probably somewhere in your neighborhood too, if you just go out a take a look.
So if you look around my house, you'll actually see that there's very few things plugged into the wall.
Besides this refrigerator and the internet, at most times there's nothing plugged in.
When I'm using something, of course I plug it in, but then what I simply do is unplug it, and store it away.
The reason I do that is because there's something called residual electricity.
So there's often a bit of electricity being pulled out through the outlet, even when it's not being used.
On top of that, I just have simplified my life to not having a whole lot of electrical items in the first place, because the less there are, the more time I have to do the things I actually want rather than playing around with my electric stuff, plugging and unplugging.
I used to be a regular showering guy.
And I used to use all sorts of things like body wash, shampoo, conditioner, all sorts of soaps, you name it.
I had a closet full of stuff to put on my body to keep myself clean, to do all that rigamarole.
I don't remember too much what it's like.
But! Now, what I have is a toothbrush and toothpaste, coconut oil, and floss.
And I think.
That's pretty much it.
I use some soap on my hand sometimes, but I've found that this is all that I really need to be clean, to be healthy, and all of it's chemical-free and natural.
So there's a few things that we kinda have to use.
Toilet paper is one that most anybody is not going to give up.
But you can at least use toilet paper that is made from recycled material.
Rather than having to chop down virgin trees to do it.
So, really simply, buying products that are less stressful, less harmful on the environment.
No matter what we do as a human race, we're always going to cause some harm.
The idea is to minimize that impact, and to do as much as we can to cause no unnecessary harm.
This is my first time stepping into a shower since April 20th, 2013.
Which is about a year and a month ago.
But I'm not in here to take a shower.
I'm simply in here to take the old shower head out, which is using 2.
25, 2 and a quarter gallons per minute, and replacing it with a low-flow shower head that has 3 settings on it.
One that uses a half, another that uses 1 gallon, and another that uses 1 gallon and a half.
So for my guests and the people staying here, I can reduce their consumption 4 times.
Again, saving money, saving resources, saving electricity and water.
And, I don't shower in here, but let me show you where I do shower.
This is where I shower.
The occasional weed.
Try to pick up a couple pieces of trash while I'm down here.
Make a little bit of a difference.
So when I moved into this house three years ago, I thought I needed the biggest room.
Just a short amount of time went by and I decided I want the smallest room.
So this is my closet.
It's 6 foot by 6 foot, which gives me plenty of room plenty of room to lay down.
But it's basically from this way, just as long as I am.
And this way, I 've got an extra foot or so.
It's really simple, but it's really got everything I need in it.
Room for my clothes, room for some of my stuff, and I've found that when I live simple, I live free.
So this is the guest bedroom of the house and we rent out the rooms here, so that our rent is less, so that I have to work less.
We rent out the rooms for $50 a night or $850 a month.
We have guests on Air BNB, and also Craigslist.
It's a great deal for the people that stay here.
They get a furnished room, access to our bikes, surfboard, furnished kitchen.
So they have everything they could possibly need for a little beach vacation for $50 a night or $850 a month.
So it's extremely reasonable for them, it's a great deal, and we, by doing that, most months our rent doesn't cost us anything because we rent out 2 bedrooms.
Our rent is $1600 and we rent out 2 bedrooms for about $1, 700 for a month, and we get to live for free, by having other people stay here.
And we get to meet a lot of great people.
So when I'm not in the mood to ride my bike, I'll still try to ride my bike anyway.
But, if I'm not going to do that, I'll grab a Car2Go, which is an electric car sharing program and I'll show you what I'm talking about.
Usually, when I leave my house, I try to have as little with me as possible, right now I have my cell phone, some money, the Car2Go card, the shorts on my waist, and my shirt, and an apple.
So not a whole lot of stuff, keeps things pretty simple.
So, we'll go to a Car2Go.
Car2Go is an electric car share program.
By having this, I own a car without actually having to own a car.
There's a simple app where I can find cars nearby.
In San Diego, there's 350 of them.
And you simply find one on the app.
You can reserve it right on here.
If you want to.
And just take your Car2Go card, tap it to the window, takes just a moment.
When you're done, just put the key back in the ignition, tap your card to the meter, and it bills your card automatically, and you're good to go.
So two years ago, I got this crazy little idea inside my head to sell my car.
And, I made a pro list and a con list.
And amazingly, the pro list was about 15 to 20 things long.
The cons was 5, maybe 6, 7 things.
With that short a bit of information, I realized it makes perfect sense to sell my car.
One of the most important things I've found is that I was spending $7, 000 a year on insurance, registration, maintenance, gas.
The average American actually spends about $9, 000 a year on their car.
Now, I can travel around the entire world for $7, 000.
As a matter of fact, one year, I flew Japan, down to Indonesia and Thailand, Cambodia, over to Europe, down to Kenya, spent a month roaming with the wildlife there.
And then back to America.
That was 5 months of seeing the world, cost me less than it would cost me to own a car for the entire year.
Thinking about it that way, it made sense to sell my car and ride a bike instead.
Subtitles by the Amara.