Ever get the feeling we’re missing something?
Ever wondered why we hear about the fluctuations of the FTSE, the Yen and Tapis crude a dozen times a day but don’t know the names of our next door neighbours?
Ever stopped to think where that tomato actually comes from or when that apple was actually picked?
Well we did and so our family of two adults, two toddlers and four chickens has undertaken to take on a year of experimenting. A year to find out whether we can live more sustainably and have more fun doing it, because we know things are going to change, but I refuse to believe that the end of cheap oil and living within the means of our planet needs to be a bad thing.
So after a couple of long conversations spanning many an evening and several good bottles of (locally produced) wine we have come up with four areas that we plan to try and focus on over the next 12 months.
Buy Lightly: What does a post peak oil consumer actually look like and perhaps more importantly why does my shed and my house seem to always be full of crap I don’t use! Our plan is to only buy what we really need, and if we really need something to buy high quality, sustainably made and locally produced items. We’ll make, re-use, share or repair what we can and will shun things made, packaged or even wrapped in plastics.
Travel Lightly: Let’s face it, oil is a one off…when it’s gone (or too difficult to get at)..it’s gone. With that in mind, and given how incredibly useful the stuff is, it would seem that each of us driving our own cars down to the shops in the name of ‘convenience’ is a pretty poor usage. As such our car is now part of a community car-share scheme and we will be surviving the year on a diet of trains, walking and cycling. More importantly though we will be trying to enjoy the travel and live for the journey rather than constantly yearning to be either here or there and rushing to and fro.
Eat Lightly: We’ve been pottering around the garden for a couple of years now but it’s time to get serious about what food security actually means. Our challenge is to grow as much of our own food as we can and source what we can’t from within 100miles of where we live. We will eat more sustainably and wont buy things that are wrapped, packaged or sold in plastic. We’ll also be trying to rediscover the communal and celebratory nature of local, seasonal and fresh food.
Live Lightly: Whether we like it or not humans are social animals. Yet many of the aspects of our life separate us from each other into our own little boxes. There’s a good reason why one of the words most synonymous with poor mental health is isolation. As well as watching our own consumption by tracking gas, electricity and other items we will be aiming to live more altruistically, to get involved with our community, to be mindful of taking the time to engage with people we meet as we get out of our house,to ditch the tv and to live locally and explore our very own ‘village’.
So that’s the plan, we know it’s not going to change the world and if you’ve been reading this formulating a million reasons why this wont make a difference then don’t bother posting…..because you’re almost certainlyright. But here’s the thing. What if amongst all the scare mongering and fear of change we’ve got so used to trying to cling on to the things that we have, that we’ve missed the opportunity for things that could be. What if it turns out that we don’t need that 100K job, fancy car and trip overseas to be happy but in fact would find far greater satisfaction working part time and spending more time with family, friends and neighbors over a good home brew.
Well Paul (me), Nikki, Felix and Piper are going to take one for the team and find out. We’re not environmental experts, we’re not loaded and we don’t live on a farm. We are a teacher and a physicist who live in suburbia and reckon that if we can reduce our impact, consume less and live more locally then anyone can. But don’t take our word for it, if something we’re doing appeals, then give it a go yourself. If it works then tell someone about it, if it doesn’t then share why not and let’s try to come up with a solution because we all have to deal with what’s going to happen in our future.
Great effort! 2 websites you probably already know about but just in case you need more!
http://www.localorg.com.au (local organic/sustainable food business based in Brunswick)
http://www.locavored.com.au (interesting website, they publish the field guide to Victorian Produce & are on the look out for researchers and writers for their upcoming editions)
As we get build this up we hope to connect a fair few of these sorts of groups. I had trouble following the second link and think maybe the correct address may be http://www.locavored.com.