Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Guest Post: How to Practice Sustainability and Preparedness When You Live in a Big City

Living in a big city is exciting. There are a wide variety of things to do, a diverse selection of restaurants, and a large group of people of all types of backgrounds to meet. Yet, living in a big city comes with its tradeoffs, as well. The price of real estate can be astronomical, and the place you do end up living is likely to be a small apartment not much bigger than a dorm room.
When you live in a small apartment in a big city like New York or Chicago, there’s not much room for practicing sustainability and preparedness, such as gardening or storing food. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do these things. Here are a few tips for how you can practice sustainability and preparedness even when you live in a big city and a small apartment:
Grow a Container Garden
You don’t need a huge back yard in order to grow a garden. You can grow just about anything you want to eat on the balcony of your apartment (depending on the climate where you live). You can use pots, an old dresser, or really any other container that you have on hand (and that you can drill holes in for drainage). If space is really limited, you can build a vertical garden so you can grow things up instead of out and get more space.
Set Up Patio Rainwater Collection
Water is one of the most important supplies you can have on hand, but it is limited. Instead of letting valuable water go to waste by seeping into the ground (or running off the concrete) when it rains, you can set up a rainwater collection system on your patio. There are different designs you can incorporate, depending on the layout of your patio and how much space you have. Check out some ideas here. You can use the rainwater for cleaning or for watering your container garden. If you set up a filtering system, you can even use it to drink or to cook.
Store Food
When you don’t have a big basement or pantry in which to store food, you may think that your options are limited for emergency planning. However, you can still store food even in a tiny apartment. You will just need to change your strategy.
If you can, set aside a whole closet for your food storage. If that’s not possible, hang some additional shelves in your pantry or a big closet (take advantage of that vertical space!). Then focus on foods that won’t take up as much space. Instead off bulky boxes or plastic containers, choose bags of dry rice, beans and other staples. Concentrate on foods that give you the most bang for your buck
Create Emergency Evacuation Plans
Perhaps one of the most important tasks for emergency preparedness in a big city is creating an evacuation plan. When you are in a city that is packed with buildings and people, you’ll need to have a plan for a quick and efficient exit in the case of a storm or another serious emergency. Your safety and the safety of your family will depend upon it. Create your plan, practice it, and keep a copy of it in a safe place.
Plan for Home Safety
Violence and crime are even more prevalent in big cities than elsewhere. It’s important to put a plan in place for your home safety, both for everyday crime and for emergency situations. You can start by installing a basic alarm system. Next, you can learn basic home defense, including proper gun use and safety if you are comfortable with it.
Living in a big city does not preclude you from practice basic sustainability and preparedness measures. You can follow these strategies living in even the smallest apartment. Doing so will make you prepared in most emergency situations so that you and your family are safe.
About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching NYC culinary school. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.