Apparently, by the beginning of August, we had already used up the resources the Earth is capable of renewing in a year – the trees we cut down, the water we consumed, the fish we took out of the sea; all that sort of thing.
Time to redouble our efforts, dears, as we don’t have the extra planet Earth we’ll need if we go on at this rate.
What to do?
As usual I feel semi-powerless, but recognise I do have options, and an obligation to take what action I can.
So these are the steps I thought I’d take (I do these things already but I could do them more often or more consistently) ~
1) Buy second-hand – furniture, china, clothes, shoes, jewellery, books, kitchen equipment, bags and baskets, cars, hats – pretty much any manufactured thing I can think of is available on eBay or in charity shops or on Freegle for significantly less than the same version of it new. I recognise this will damage retail sales – and as someone who writes books I understand the implications of that well! Book 2 never gets published if Book 1 doesn’t sell. Happily e-books are a possibility in the particular case of publishing.
2) Electronic gadgets have enabled us to share living space more efficiently, cut down car use significantly and reduce the amount of paper needed radically – and paper is heavy to transport and store. Thoughtful use of electronics can reduce the amount of resources we take up. However the gadgets themselves use resources (and often slave labour), so those we choose to have we should treat as precious and handle responsibly so that they last and remain undamaged as long as possible.
3) Cut down packaging. Buy unwrapped bread from the baker, veggies straight into the bag from the greengrocer, dried legumes in simple cellophane wrap with no dyed labels from the wholefood co-op. And where possible gather direct – from the garden, the fields and woods, with no resource-hungry manufacturing or transport at all. Store rainwater for the garden and for any not-potable use. Cook at home with basic ingredients using minimal packaging rather than ready-meals and ready-make cakes. Eating out, choose restaurants that serve food on china they wash up, not in disposable trays and beakers. No lids, no straws.
4) Share as much as possible – houses, cars, machines. So each phone, TV, furnace/boiler, freezer etc is for a group not an individual.
5) Go for renewables. We were so, so blessed that my father died the year he did, and left us some money – we used it to put solar panels and solar tubes on the roof, which heat our water and generate our electricity. The particular year we inherited that money was the year of the highest government tariff for selling electricity back to the National Grid – so it augments our income too.
6) Do things without machines where possible. Have hard floors not carpets and sweep with a broom rather than use a vacuum cleaner. Never, ever use a tumble drier – line dry clothes and fix an airer over the stairwell. Fix hooks in the bedrooms to string up camping clothes lines. Walk to the grocery store.
7) Live small and simple. Enjoy holiday time at home, walking and chilling out together, instead of air flights or cruises or boat holidays. Go camping.
8) Compost leftovers and veggie scraps. Use fresh urine and wormery juice to feed plants, not store-bought fertilizer. Bokashi bran neutralizes excrement (zaps the pathogens) for composting.
9) Take steps to disconnect from money. The whole money world is strongly linked to the activities of Mammon and the destruction of creation. The amount of money I need for my lifestyle is connected to my level of consumption. Cultivate the grace (gift) economy. Give things away. Do things for free. Share, refrain, forage and scavenge.
10) Aim to own less.