Back in the ’90s, I went through a real ‘greenie’ phase. I made my own bread from scratch, grew my own food, lived as much as possible without electricity (candles, hand-washed everything), hardly ever drove anywhere except to the whole foods shop for bulk supplies. It was hard work. I didn’t have time for anything else, like holding down a regular job. After a few years, it was too hard and I slowly started to move back into the mainstream. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in it to a lesser degree. I’ve always recycled, refused plastic wherever practicable, composted and used my own shopping bags (well, mostly).
- There’s a 5kW solar system on the roof and a 6kW Tesla battery in the garage
- Cellular blinds and awnings cover the windows
- The outdoor tools (Ego) run on rechargeable batteries instead of 2-stroke
- The heating shower water is collected in a bucket, as is kitchen rinse water, to go on the garden.
- The well-mulched garden (mainly natives and food plants) is only watered in the evenings in summer, after the sun and wind have gone down
- Clothes are line-dried
- Re-useable produce bags and my own containers have replaced plastic bags when I shop for food
- Household cleaning products, toiletries and cosmetics are as natural as possible and animal-friendly
- I tend to buy good quality classic clothes that will last, rather than trendy fast fashion (although I’m not immune to it)
- I’m also becoming more aware of considering a pre-loved alternative before buying new (this is a very challenging habit to change)
- I’ve started buying organic bamboo clothing where possible
- There’ll be another post on these last few points with some tips and links
But I have the nagging feeling that there should be a way to further reduce my environmental footprint without removing myself from society, living in a log and eating tree bark and grass. I’ve read and watched a lot of ‘minimalist’ stuff and, while appealing on an idealistic level, I can’t see myself living quite that sparsely. Life choices are highly individual and they have to work for the individual. Otherwise, we get fed up, frustrated and disillusioned. And give up. Again.
Yesterday, a video by Béa Johnson came up on my YouTube ‘recommended’ list and I watched it.
Then I watched another. And another. Here is a woman doing what I had not been able to figure out. Now I’m reading her book. I’m inspired.
So, my approach is to start implementing her recommendations, slowly, so that I have time to adjust and form new habits. As things need replacing, I will be mindful about what I buy. That’s the key; being mindful so that old habits do not ambush my decisions.
Mindful of the 5 Rs:
Over the next few months, I’ll research this ‘new’, liveable sustainable style and adapt it to my life. Where are the best places to find these Earth-friendly goods? How do I choose between recyclable/compostable/no packaging vs made locally vs made in China vs organic vs re-used vs new?
Happy to read your comments or suggestions. I’ll keep you posted.