LifeHack is about getting stuff done most efficiently and effectively across all aspects of your life. In this article, the focus is on living the green life – again, as efficiently and effectively as possible. It’s a stripped-down, realistic approach that doesn’t provide you with the wiggle room to continue consuming as usual just because the consumables are labelled “green” or “environmental” or “organic.”

The hacks are broken down into 6 Principles of Green Living:

  • Simplicity
  • Fairness
  • Community
  • Sustainability
  • Planning
  • Transparency

Here, for example, is how LifeHack describes the green approach to community:

Too much of our world market is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. Since we don’t see the lives of the Bolivian granny who makes our chic shopping bags, or the Indonesian teenager who makes our shoes, or the Chinese mother who assembles our iPods,we don’t think about it. And we don’t think about the tremendous amount of resources it takes to get raw materials from Africa, North America, Asia, and somewhere in the Pacific to some factory in China to put together an mp3 player which will then be shipped (using resources again from all over the world) to some store in Oregon (that is again assembled using materials from all over the world) and into our pocket (of pants made in the next town over from the iPod factory, using cotton grown in Africa and rivets made of steel from Japan on machines made in Europe from materials mined in…).

On the other hand, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending a local farmer’s market, you’ve experienced something few of us do these days: an encounter with a part of your community, an actual living and breathing person, who made something for you to eat. There were some global resources used (even organic farmers use tractors, and they needed a truck to bring their stuff to market) but most of the labor and material involved came out of your local area — the soil you’re standing on, the person in front of you. You have a relationship with this person, and with their land. Your land.

Your local farmer selling to a local market — that’s sustainable. The relationship you have with that person — that’s sustainable, too.

The most active local governments you can find in the U.S., and probably elsewhere, are members of an organization called ICLEI. These are strictly government – not grassroots – based memberships, but where local governments take the lead, grassroots activism is usually encouraged to thrive.

It was founded by the United Nations in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Now that the focus is on climate change, they’ve turned the acronym into their name – ICLEI (pronounced “ICK-lee”) and added the tagline: Local Governments for Sustainability. Their local international membership includes over 700 county governments, municipal governments, provincial governments, networks of local governments and big city governments like Los Angeles, New York and London.

We provide technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.

ICLEI provides information, delivers training, organizes conferences, facilitates networking and city-to-city exchanges, carries out research and pilot projects, and offers technical services and consultancy. We also provide software and tools to help local governments achieve their sustainable development goals.

If your local government is not yet a member of ICLEI, it’s a good community to urge them to join. They’ll learn from the lessons of other locations and they’re transitioning from focusing only on sustainability to including adaptive activities for the unavoidable impacts to come.