Monday, August 17, 2009

Simple in my Own Way

Photo of the jars of red and yellow bell peppers and tomatoes dried recently. These small jars represent 10 pounds of tomatoes and 15 large peppers.

I enjoy reading others' blogs about their efforts to lead sustainable, "simple" lives. Some of these people live in city apartments, some live on acreages, some live on a city lot.

Most are not hesitant in saying that this lifestyle definitely puts them out of step with neighbours and even family. I remember how upset my parents and Tony's Mum were when we became vegetarians. They were not only convinced we'd shrivel up and blow away, they felt threatened, as if our decision was somehow a criticism of how they had fed us.

Of course it was nothing of the sort, we had concerns about the taking of other lives to support our own, but it was as much an issue of health as anything. Neither of us had ever had robust health, and we wanted to improve on it.

We've had this reaction from other people, much more recently, about our interest in preserving our environment. Some people take it as a personal criticism. I can understand that. I look back on the way we lived in the past with some regret, but the important thing is that, however we lived in the past, we take steps now to do what we can to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Very few people can adopt a completely sustainable lifestyle. Someone commented the other day that it's not possible to do so. Well, it is possible to do so, but it involves a large lifestyle change, and to do so as a culture it would involve a great reduction in human population, and probably much less material comfort than we have in the affluent west become accustomed to. Steps our cultures are not going to take without painful motivation, or maybe even force.

Technology can (and probably will) be brought to bear on the problem of sustainability eventually but right now the challenge is to go forward as individuals. This brings us to look for new, insignificant perhaps, ways to lighten our footsteps.

This year the "going forward" part (for us) has been to raise some of our own food, encourage others in the neighbourhood to do the same, buy as much of our food locally as we can, preserve locally grown fruit and vegetables for winter consumption, eat far less meat, use no disposables, bring home as little plastic as possible, thrift when we can, recycle diligently, use Freecycle and drive very little. I'm happy to say that the last fill-up of our Ford pickup lasted six months. We drove less than 600 miles last year.

Even though it might seem so this way of life doesn't feel like penance or deprivation. I find it rewarding and personally satisfying. It's interesting and fun. It keeps me on my toes. I'm looking for ways to do more. How have you reduced your footprint? Any ideas to share?

No comments:

Post a Comment