A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam

A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam

‘Just where you are — that’s the place to start.’
— Pema Chodron

The single biggest lesson I’ve learnt this year in trying to live more sustainably? It’s a marathon, not a sprint. With this in mind, my ploy for 2018 — don’t get down about the state of our planet (it’s so easy to sink into that). Instead, relish the journey and celebrate the changes we make, however miniscule.

I’ve absorbed a huge amount this year, sometimes the mind boggles. Here are some of the standout words, images and voices that have uplifted, inspired, provoked serious thought, or left me haunted…

Carl Sagan’s timeless and beautiful Pale Blue Dot.

 

George Monbiot’s incisive writing. A political and environmental activist, he gets to the crux of where we might be going wrong, with his thoughts on our materialism particularly powerful. Have a read here and here (it’ll make you not want to buy anything ever again!).

 

Steve Cutt’s animations. These are bleak and will most definitely haunt your day, but so cleverly done:

 

The high priestesses of the Zero Waste movement
Whittling down our annual household waste to a single glass jar is most likely unattainable for most of us, but for inspiration, tips and some good old eye candy, check out the sites of Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home and Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers.

Locally, there are some serious movers and shakers spearheading the zero waste movement:

  • Colleen Black of a Life Lived Simply
  • Jade Khoury of the Wild and Waste Free Co-op
  • And the bright young things on Instagram showing us how it’s done:
    @journeytozero_
    @zerowastejourneycapetown
    @wastelessafrica
    @shopzero.sa

 

2017 also saw the opening of Nude Foods in Cape Town, a plastic free grocery store. Can’t wait to check it out.

Zero waste is going to be where it’s at in 2018!

Who or what has inspired you to tread just a little lighter this year?

 

My farm boy

My husband grew up on a farm and is much closer to the earth than I am. There’s stuff he just knows – basic agricultural principles about planting and sowing, the scarcity of water, eating seasonally. Being frugal and recycling is ingrained in him; it’s something I had to learn.

With all the technological knowledge we’re gaining, it seems the really basic stuff that we ought to know, like how to feed ourselves, is being lost. I only recently learnt what a pepper plant looks like. Could I tell a garlic plant from an onion? Probably not. Walnut tree from a pecan nut tree? Definitely not. Have I ever pulled a carrot out the ground? Nope.

I’ve gotten so used to plucking highly packaged and processed food off frigid supermarket shelves I can’t recognise plants in their natural habitat. But, determined to learn, we’ve been experimenting with a bit of urban farming. Our patch of garden is little, but it’s big enough to teach us the basics.

Here’s what we’re experimenting with at the moment.

We discovered, fortuitously, that the area underneath our trampoline acts like a greenhouse, as tomato plants kept sprouting up. Since then we’ve had success with celery, kale and peppers (gutted that our trampoline patch was recently decimated by builders who had to dig up some pipes). We’ve got some veggie boxes (mainly spinach, but also carrots and strawberries), wonderfully large potted blueberry plants (which we planted) and wild rosemary bushes (which we inherited). We’ve got a little lemon tree and planted a pomegranate bush, none of which have yielded any fruit yet. The tomato plants continue to sprout up anywhere and everywhere, clinging to to anything it finds.

We’re not quite at the stage where we can forage for supper, but it’s a start.