Catch and store energy.
We usually think of energy as something we need to extract, transport, and pay for. But really, energy is all around us, just waiting to be put to good use.
Plants do this every day. Put a vegetable plant in your yard, and it will turn solar energy into food, producing no emissions except for water vapor.
And plants aren’t the only way to capture solar energy. A house can be designed to be lit and heated primarily by sunshine coming through the windows, a technique known as passive solar. Or, a pile of rocks or a brick wall can serve as thermal mass, absorbing the sun’s heat during the day, and releasing it at night to keep nearby areas warm.
Other forms of energy can be captured as well. Water can be stored in rain barrels, organic matter can be kept on site instead of being sent away, and the behavior of animals can be channeled into productive work.
By using clean, freely-available energy sources, we can save money and live more sustainably.