The Dude can’t abide

The detrimental impact of single-use plastic on our oceans seems to be gaining currency in the media — or maybe it’s been there a while and I haven’t been paying enough attention. The statistic that there’ll be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 is still ringing in my ears.

If you’re mobilised into action by stats here are some to horrify you:
— This Guardian article on plastic in our foodchain
— This newly released documentary – A Plastic Planet
— The 5 Gyres Institute. The numbers are alarming – but thankfully balanced out with tons of tips on ways to take action and stem the tide (see ‘Take Action’).

If reading stats makes you glaze over, perhaps The Dude can convince you to start weaning off single-use plastics in this video on behalf of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Confronting the issue head-on can be overwhelming so we’re tackling it in increments. We’ve ditched the plastic bags and bottles, and next on our hit list — straws. An endeavour that will, I’m sure, like much of our sustainability journey, happen in fits and starts. Still.

live in the sunshine
swim in the sea
drink the wild air
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Our patch – an update

We’re forging ahead with our veggie garden despite the relentless heat. In retrospect, planting during a drought may have been unwise – but the seasons are turning; the days are crisper and there are traces of dew in the mornings. And, most crucially, our well point is up and running.

garden-helpers
My helpers hard at work prepping the soil with a nice thick layer of compost.

We’ve started small, sticking to veggies that were already in the patch or that we’ve had luck with before. Though today, on a whim, I snuck past the nursery and couldn’t resist picking up borage and echinacea.

Borage, much-loved by experienced gardeners, is said to have all kinds of benefits – it adds trace minerals to the soil, self seeds, is edible (one has to wonder how edible with those prickly leaves), and is a magnet for bees and other pollinators. So I’m giving it a whirl. Echinacea – who can resist those gorgeous flowers?

garden1
After removing the trampoline, we left the tomato plant, pomegranate bush and lemon tree where they were; they seemed happy. The chilli bush in the box on the right was grown from seed by my husband – it has not loved the transplant. You’ll spot rocket, kale and lettuce seedlings and our granadilla plant leaning against the wall on the left (begging for a trellis). And a pop of pink in the corner.
fig
Planting this fig tree was a big moment in my life. Love everything about them and have longed for one in my garden. Now just need to learn how to grow them! Tips anyone?
green-pepper
Raw green peppers are one of the few veggies my boys eat so had to include these. And kale for us!

Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the universe.
– Thomas Berry

Girl crush

I’m totally crushing on two powerhouses of the zero waste movement. Gorgeous beyond, twenty-something New Yorker Lauren Singer is the brainchild behind Trash is for Tossers. Uber stylish Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home is often dubbed the founder of the zero waste movement. She’s been living waste free with her family in LA since 2008.

Beyond the ridiculous amounts of cool they exude is a powerful message – our planet is in trouble and there is a whole lot we can do about it. Bea Johnson uses beetroot juice as lipstick. She’s that extreme. And while many of us are stuck on the 3R’s she’s expanded hers to 5 – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.  On the sites of these two zero wasters you’ll find images of their years worth of waste in a single glass jar (that’s as much waste as I come back with after a kids birthday party!).

Much of what they (and other zero wasters for that matter) do and propose seems, at this juncture in my life, unattainable. But it’s good to have role models right? Every now and then, scrolling through their feeds, something sticks and small tweaks are made.

*Bea Johnson might be touring South Africa in May! Watch this space!

Mindful Monday

VipassanaEvery so often you come across a blog that is so compelling it sucks you right in. This happened when I stumbled upon Raptitude; I wanted to devour every post. I love how the writer, David Cain, slices through the bunk and unearths so much of what lies hidden in our conditioned minds.

A few days after writing my first Newsletter – a mindfulness themed one –  the latest Raptitude post landed in my inbox titled ‘Why Mindfulness Seems Annoying’. It made me squirm in my seat just a little, even though the writer is himself a proponent of mindfulness and meditation (though he suggests doing it in manageable chunks).

His post did lead me to another brilliant article on mindfulness – by someone clearly not a proponent. Though cynical, it was a hilarious and refreshing piece which made me think of this meme (it gets me every time):

Never in the history of calming down has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down.

Mindfulness might be pop culture woo woo, but I’m sticking with it. As a compulsive thinker, slowing down for just a few seconds (literally), to catch my breath and surrender to what is has been wonderfully soothing.