So, I've agreed to join Lillian and Dave Brummet on the RADIO this Sunday... The show will focus on proactive behaviors any person can do that can immediately benefit the environment - and themselves. Rather than pointing fingers or concentrating on the negative aspect of environmental issues they hope to inspire listeners to start where they are and take matters in their own hands. There will be a variety of guests that will discuss attainable goals for individuals during the two hour talk show. I get 10 minutes. I'm oscillating between genuine excitement at sharing my passion for this topic and sheer terror at being on the radio. I'm a radio-virgin. eeeek!
So I've decided to gather my thoughts here to steady my nerves. Why am I doing this (my husband asked)?
Because I'm a very average person who's passionate about doing my wee part to keep the earth healthy (notice I didn't say "normal", Heather! ha!) There are so many many people that are doing far more than I am, and I'm not pretending for a second that I'm some sort of activist or that I'm doing everything possible. That's just exactly why I want to share what I AM doing. Because the things I am doing can be done by absolutely anyone. I think that if people realized how EASY it is to do a lot of little things that DO make a difference, that more people would be doing them, and the difference we'd make together would be powerful. I want to contribute to the whole tipping point...
So... I have to think again about what I AM doing (bear with me, this is mostly repetitive, I know).
- I'm trying to grow most of my own food. I have several fruit trees (and hoping to plant one new one every year for at least 5 years), raspberry canes (wanting blackberry ones), strawberries, and an extensive vegetable garden (we just built 15 new raised beds!)
- I'm trying to learn how to make most of our own processed foods so that we get the health benefits of fresh, preservative-free, chemical-free, unpackaged foods. So far we make our own jam, canned tomatoes, salsa, yogurt, bread, cookies, cakes, pies, cinnamon buns, soup stock, tortillas, muffins, pesto, dehydrated fruit, crackers, pickles etc. I want to learn how to make my own pasta, perogies, raw dog food (I haven't started yet, Heather!!), mayonnaise (I need the recipe again, Andrea), and ?? (do you know how to make something I might be interested in? can you share please?)
- I really try to think more about what I'm NOT going to buy than what I am.
For example, I'm not going to buy any more:
paper towels (I can use rags)
plastic wrap (I still use some plastic, but it's all recycled from foods I choose to buy in plastic. I wish I could buy all my food plastic-free but it doesn't seem do-able just yet. I might choose to buy carrots in a plastic bag that are local than the bulk carrots that are shipped in from California, for instance.)
styrofoam (toxic and unnecessary)
toys that hold a child's interest for a miniscule amount of time and toys cheaply made out of plastic (Playmobil is an exception)
lower quality clothes and shoes that have the same amount of embedded energy than their higher priced, higher quality cousins that will hopefully last ten times longer
anything new that I can find second hand
any books that I don't need to write in or highlight or dog-ear (those can come from the library)
cleaners or sprays that are toxic and packaged in small bottles (I'm experimenting with making my own from vinegar, baking soda and soap -- this is an on-going process as I use up the last of my gentle-to-the-earth bottled cleaners and experiment with different recipes for laundry soap, etc.)
- I'm trying to reduce the number of trips I make "to town" per week, doing as many errands as possible in one day, having most days "car-free" days. And I'm planning to start biking in for my childrens' afternoon classes, and then getting a ride home with my husband after work. Maybe eventually I'll be able to pull the bike-trailer up the long hill to home, but I'm not there yet.
- I'm using my own bags and my own containers for everything I possibly can. The deli and bulk-food stores are getting used to taring my containers so that I can avoid using extra packaging.
- I'm looking for a plumber who knows how to refit my house so that the grey water goes outside onto my plants and trees (can you recommend anyone?). We do have rainbarrels that can collect a total of 2000 litres (about 525 gallons).
- I'm saving my own seeds to protect seed diversity and heritage.
- I'm choosing to homeschool my kids for many reasons, but the main reason is so that they are free. They are free to think for themselves, free from indoctrination, free to design their own lives in every way. Both of my children are inextricably linked to the earth and are most at home in nature. This is where most of their learning occurs.
- I choose not to buy industrial meat. We buy organic meat from local farmers where we can SEE how the animals are raised, and from our families who ranch bison in Alberta.
- I choose to buy locally whenever there is a choice. My goal is to dehydrate, can, cold-storage (we're building a cold cellar in our bank this summer for carrots, potatoes, apples, etc.), freeze as much of our own food as possible, and commit to buying the rest from within a 100 mile radius. So far I've not been able to convince my family that we don't need bananas, oranges, lemons, kiwis, pineapple, etc. I think we need to build a greenhouse, next.
- I have my husband 90% convinced to replace our aging toilets with composting ones. A CBC interview with Charles Simon completely convinced me that it is possible. He talked about a community of 90,000 people in Ontario where ALL of the toilets are composting ones. Amazing. The interview is very inspiring. I highly recommend a 20 minute listen (just scroll down to March 19). Charles reminds us that there is no such thing as waste in nature. Poo is just food for another organism. Sewer systems are destroying SO much of our planet's water.
- I don't use my dryer anymore.
- I don't use to-go cups (I keep several insulated mugs in the trunk of my car). I take my own containers to get take-out food.
- I'm REALLY trying not to buy anything containing perfluorochemicals. I'm REALLY surprised how pervasive these chemicals are. Anything that's non-stick or water-resistant, including carpets, fabrics, pyjamas, stain-resistant clothing, etc.
- I'm saving paper. I'm trying to buy only recycled paper products, and recycling all the bits I can from the mail. I don't want anyone clear-cutting our beautiful forests so that my family can wipe their bums with soft cushy toiletpaper.
- I'm trying to use every recyclable item at least twice. Trash Talk has been an amazing source for ideas in this regard.
- I'm composting everything I can from newspaper to hair to kitchen scraps to all non-recyclable paper products (that have been used as many times as we possibly can) (excluding toilet paper).
- I have chickens, so even the kitchen scraps I can't put into my compost get recycled through the chickens.
- I choose to buy organic food as much as I can.
- I use a diva cup instead of tampons and luna pads instead of disposable ones.
- We plant at least 10 trees every year.
- I try not to turn my oven on unless I can use it for at least 2 or 3 things. (For example, I bake my bread at the same time as my supper is cooking, and might put in a yam for the following night as well.)
Well, that's 22 things. 22 things to share for Earth Day. I hope next year I'll have 44. Or more. And I hope one of those things is "I'm an activist". I want to write more letters, participate in more marches, demand change at a faster pace... Maybe this is the year... Sometimes I think "who do I think I am talking about saving the earth when there are SOOOO many more things I could be doing..." But these are easy things. Anyone could do. There's power in that, I think. don't you?