In my simplicity adventures, at the moment I am focusing on water and packaging.
It is my dearest hope and desire that our present UK government administration will be ousted before they manage to fulfill their ambitions to abandon clean green energy plans, frack through our countryside and drinking aquifers, and build a massive new nuclear power station. May their plans come to nothing.
Government plans are entirely driven by demand, of course, so it seems to me that my responsibilities as a citizen include moving purposefully towards a life as much off-grid and as little damaging to the Earth as I can manage.
We have a lot of rain in England. But because our islands are so densely populated, in the towns our watertable is polluted, and people are advised against drinking from springs. And since the pigeons sitting on our roofs carry exciting diseases like meningitis, one cannot simple drink harvested roofwater.
There’s no reason at all why the harvested roofwater cannot fulfill all our other water requirements – washing ourselves and our utensils. We have about 600 litres worth of rain storage in our water butts, which should see us through all the stretches of time when rain falls. And in dry times, well we still do have mains supply.
Earth-closeting also reduces water use, not only saving gallons and gallons at home, but also saving the big nightmare of sewage treatment. Plus you get first-class free compost for the flowers and fruit trees. I mean, why wouldn’t you?
For drinking, we have several springs of lovely water in the woods near us. It tastes beautiful, but as we’re advised against drinking it, I’ve got one of these to run the water through first.
Until I got the Berkey filter, we were buying spring water to drink, and I feel bad about that – plastic bottles do not bless the Earth. And how can I ask God to bless the Earth if my own choices consistently undermine my prayers?
So that’s one regular packaging habit crossed off the list.
Our mail order packaging we either re-use for our own parcels (I never buy packaging for parcels I send out) or – in the case of cardboard and paper – use for kindling in the woodstove.
Food packaging is our worst thing. At present, we shop mostly in stores, but I’m planning to work on that. The wholefood co-op. The street market. The farmers’ market. They have paper bags.
I find the changing of habits – especially when not all of us in the household are following the same system – is the challenging part of all this. The strategies and solutions are easy-peasy, it’s the breaking old habits that’s hard.