Few of us need convincing that our planet is in peril (well, except….there’s that guy in the White House). The picture is often painted in broad strokes though. We have a notion that catastrophes are taking place — temperatures are rising, icecaps melting, flora and fauna are becoming extinct — but we may not know the specifics of what is causing it.
If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of climate issues, or drill down into the particulars (which behaviours are causing what destruction), there’s no shortage of documentaries out there.
Eco-documentaries are heavy going; it’s dire to contemplate the path we’re on, and most focus on the doom and gloom rather than the positive shifts taking place. But, sometimes, they give us a much-needed kick in the ass — we may be haunted by an image or stunned by a statistic, or suddenly make the connection between A and B — which in turn compels us to do that one small thing or make that one tiny change. And hopefully it snowballs from there.
When we lived in Hong Kong I found the expat supermarkets mind boggling. Talk about being spoilt for choice. Not much grows in this high-density concrete jungle yet browse the aisles of their supermarkets and there’s very little you can’t find. In season, out of season, every delicacy from every corner of the globe.
As wonderful as it is to live in the southern hemisphere and eat berries in winter, it’s far from a carbon neutral experience. Many miles are covered and many fossil fuels burnt to get those berries to you – plus untold amounts of pesticides sprayed to ensure they arrive looking pert and fresh.
Eating what’s in season, I’m learning more and more, has few (if any) downsides and scores of upsides. Here, in a nutshell, are just some of them:
Grown in the right conditions, seasonal food can be picked when ripe and is therefore fresher, juicier and a whole lot more flavourful
The journey from soil to plate is short and low on air miles
You’ll be supporting the local economy by buying from local farmers, growers and artisanal food producers
Variety. And getting back in tune with our natural cycles and rhythms. We were designed to eat certain foods at certain times of year. For example, watermelon and juicy fruit to hydrate in the hot summer months and leafy greens to strengthen our immunity before the winter months.
Supplies are high so it’s cheaper!
Still not convinced? Read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral for inspiration and great seasonal cooking tips.
And check back here soon for my Cape Town seasonal eating chart.
Can I still call myself an aspiring minimalist if I have a very long list of books I’m coveting? If I fantasise about piles of books, stacks of magazines and a coffee table overflowing with tomes? Admit that I’ll never get round to reading them all, but just want them?
Currently lusting after these evocatively titled books, taunting me with their aesthetically pleasing covers.
I love a list. And apparently I’m not alone. The web is awash with listicles; the theory goes we lap them up because they’re visually captivating and easy to process. As we flick from screen to screen, hungry for something to satiate us, our eyes usually settle on a list – bite-sized and easily digestible, they help us compartmentalise and distill things down to their essence.
So in celebration of lists in any shape or form, herewith my first gardening-inspired listicle…in no particular order, with pictures to boot (*my botanical knowledge is still limited so I’ve used the colloquial plant names).