Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Ten Intentions

As I've been harping on about endlessly, I've been surfing gardening and eco-blogs. But it's dawning on me as I read blog after blog and look at the blogger's profiles, that most of the concern I see is coming from the under 35 set. So far I've seen only one blog written by someone who is (ahem) mature. I wish this lady was MY neighbour. I'd borrow some worms from her.

But back to my subject. It's obvious that young people have a more immediate concern with sustainability. They are going to live in this world for a good many years yet, and will see the fruit of our profligate ways with far more clarity than older generations will. Many of the older people we know scoff at the idea of climate change, peak oil, or the need for sustainability.

One of the reasons we traded a city apartment for a tin palace was a concern for our environmental footprint. While many like to sneer at "trailers" as a blight on the landscape, it's hard to argue with the fact that in our little 35' long aluminum tube we live very comfortably using 80% less energy and water than the average Canadian. If we worked harder at it we could reduce our footprint further, indeed that is our goal.

We have taken up the "Riot for Austerity Challenge", as we creak through our days, and there's no defensible reason most people couldn't give a little thought to consumption, and live more lightly. So I have been thinking of 10 intentions for this coming year.

1) Grow as much of our own food as we can using the square foot gardening method, given that we have a very tiny spot to work with.

2) Purchase locally grown foods in season and preserve (mostly by drying) food for winter when fruit and vege come in from 3,000-10,000 miles away.

3) Carry my reusable shopping bags and use them. Most clerks don't like them, but tough.

4) Buy as much dry food (flours, beans, nuts, etc.) as possible to cut down on packaging. We have a terrific bulk food store here. I shop there almost every week.

5) Work really hard to waste less food. This is a difficult area because Tony doesn't cook beyond making a sandwich, and when I have a string of several bad days in a row it's easy for fresh food to go south before I get to it.

6) Build a solar oven for summer. I've been wanting one of these for ages and I'm going to try to talk one of our sons into helping me assemble one next month.

7) Start a worm compost bin, which we can keep going inside in the winter. After composting all my kitchen scraps this summer I now cringe as I throw peels and trimmings away.

8) No more TP. This is working out well actually. After one day I took the scissors to those face cloths and cut each one into four squares about 4.5" square. They are very thick, and using the whole face cloth was wayyyy overkill. The smaller squares are perfect. And we both give it a thumbs up for comfort. Now I know I could have bought half as many face cloths as I did. But I've put half away for when the first stack gets ratty. As a side note to the fastidious, the boiling temp of water is 212 F. Our drier operates at 250 F, with the cool-down cycle the contents are kept at 250 F for about 45 minutes, long enough to sterilize the laundry.

9) Re-caulk all windows and both doors on the outside and add permanent double windows. Make heavy curtains we can pull to insulate windows.

10) Use environmentally friendly cleaning agents.

Intentions become actions only if we make them so. We're only two people but as Gandhi said, "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."

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