An Eco-Test
From: Mmariner (
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 1996 17:18:01 -0500
Below is an Eco-Test I found in Ken Norwood/Kathleen Smith's book called
"Rebuilding Community in America."  We're discussing it on the ECOBALANCE
list server.

I thought it might be useful for cohousers to help measure how sustainable
their lifestyles are in existing sites or for helping those looking for sites
make ecologically wise choices.

Comments?  All flames welcome. :-)

Mike M
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[From the book " Rebuilding Community in America" by Ken Norwood and Kathleen
Smith, 1995, $24.95 from the Shared Living Resource Center, 2375 Shattuck
Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704, 1-800-475-7572]

Add up your scores:  a=3, b=2, c=1, d=0

24-30:  EXCELLENT - you're an example to the world.
16-23:  GOOD - but there are more things you can do for the Earth and
8-15:  FAIR - You're doing some things right, but you have a way to go.
0-7:  POOR - Think about the effects of your lifestyle on the planet.  What
can you do to make a difference.


(1) I walk, bike or use public transportation to get places:
  a) almost always
  b) usually
  c) sometimes
  d) never

(2) I:
  a) don't own a car
  b) own a car, but car/van pool often
  c) share a car
  d) use a car a lot


(3) My home is within walking or biking distance of:
  a) shopping, work, and public transit
  b) two of the above
  c) one of the above
  d) none of the above

(4) I live in a household of
  a) 3 or more adults in a group or extended family that cooperatively shares
resources and responsibilities
  b) 3 or more adults that partially shares resources and responsibility all
the time
  c) a household of 3 or more adults living conventionally
  d) a household of 1 or 2 adults living conventionally


(5) I rely on gas or electric for space and water heating:
  a) not at all, e.g., active passive solar system, etc.
  b) partially, e.g., as a backup to solar heating system, or south facing
house that is well insulated
  c) quite a bit, e.g., for water heating and some space heating; house gets
some solar gain and is partially insulated
  d) always

(6) My electrical system is:
  a) off the grid; use of solar, wind, or hydro power or no use of
  b) some solar, wind or hydro power and (c)
  c) conventional electricity, but use energy-saving appliances, good natural
lighting and all florescent fixtures
  d) conventional lighting and electricity when needed


(7) I buy unpackaged bulk food and other products:
a) almost always
  b) usually
  c) sometimes
  d) never

(8) I buy or grow organic foods and use nontoxic products:
a) almost always
  b) usually
  c) sometimes
  d) never

(9) Of my household waste, I recycle, compost or re-use:
  a) virtually all cans, bottles, paper, cardboard, and organic materials
  b) more than half
  c) less than half
  d) none

10) I co-own or share with others my laundry appliances, power tools, and
other equipment and possessions:
  a) almost all
  b) more than half
  c) less than half
  d) none

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