In recent months I have gotten into the habit of getting up on a Monday morning and writing about something that comes to mind. Some weeks this is an easy process, others it takes the whole day to ease something onto the screen that I feel would interest my readers. Last night I was watching a TED talk by a 23 year old German asking us all to become Climate Change Activists, which was of course followed by the more famous Greta Thunberg. It got me thinking about what I AM doing and what I CAN do to save the planet.
With all the pressing issues at present – Brexit, USA vs Korea and China, as well as our protests here in South Africa around xenophobia and femicide – looking at what I can do about the planet, one small step at a time gives me more of a sense of ‘I can do something here’. The figures that these girls sprouted in their Ted talks were very scary and gave me the feeling that today is already too late to start, but as the saying goes, ‘better late than never’.
I wrote a few months back about my purchase of a plot in the country. I am currently having fun exploring environmentally friendly and sustainable ways of building on it. I have bought in the Little Karoo, (semi-desert) so water is going to be a precious commodity. Last week I found a marvellous system that takes all the grey and black water out of the house, filters and prepares it for flushing toilets and watering the garden. It is an expensive system to install but requires little ongoing maintenance. After 2 years of lugging buckets daily to avoid using potable water in the washing machine, toilets and garden, this sounds like a dream come true. A toilet that flushes with water that is not potable!!
This week I shall be exploring the ins and outs of living off the grid. If I think really hard, the biggest electricity guzzlers will my deep-freeze and washing machine. Cooking on gas, heating with log fires and gas heaters, leave me needing power for Led lights, my computer/router and a few kitchen appliances. Am I oversimplifying it? Hot water the biggest guzzler of electricity will obviously be on solar power.
Plastic is, of course, the current scourge. I must admit I have found the eco-bricks a wonderful way of appeasing my guilt about the funny little bits of plastic that I end up having to purchase because the manufacturers do not seem too perturbed about the rising mound of plastic in the oceans. Buying my vegetables with my own basket has eased the load, though the organic farmers seem to love cellophane, but that goes into my eco-brick as well. (for the uninitiated, this is a 2L soda bottle into which you pound all your little bits of plastic, chip packets etc. until it is hard and solid enough to be used in a wall as a substitute for a brick! See picture)
I have started putting my garbage into a paper bag, rather than plastic, as it is bio-degradable at its destination, but I do worry about the number of trees needed to produce the bags!! If I continue to think like that I will never sleep at night, so I tell myself to look back on what I AM ALREADY doing, one step at a time.
What are you doing to save the planet? I would love to hear your ideas. Have you been inspired by Greta’s trip to the United Nations, or have you focussed as some I have heard, on the air tickets to fly a crew to sail the boat home? I find her inspirational and am left wondering, did we take such a strong stance when we were teenagers?