Daily Archives: December 14, 2006

when the sea sea level rises

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A 10m sea level rise will result in our house being virtually on the beach.

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wrapped up

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Why buy wrapping paper when you get the kids to make it for free. This roll of backing paper cost £1 from wilkinsons.

community shopping

This is an idea I’ve had for a while now, it’s by no means new but a great way to save money and be an ethical shopper but also you can gain a greater knowledge of the people who live around you who most of the time we never even know there names. Most of us who live in an average street in an urban area shop at the same shops and supermarkets as our neighbours, meaning in a street of say 50 houses there will be at least 50 trips to the supermarket each week normally in a car. Also there are often elderly people in the street that would be more than greatful of a helping hand with shopping.

What I want to set up in the new year is a shopping co-op with friends and neighbours so as to cut out the ammount of single trips to the super market and also try and encourage those who do not shop organically or ethically to do so, as well as this I hope that it will go some way to minimising the ammount of wastewe produce.

Many organic whole salers will only deal with you if you are a company or a co-op, rather than a single customer,Essential-trading.co.uk. Also buying in bulk is cheaper and saves on the environment as one large carton of washing up liquid is better than ten small ones. Ecotopia.co.uk allow you to buy Ecover and other products in bulk, so for example you can buy 10kg bag of wash powder rather than the 1200g you get at the shop, its all very simple. We own a van which we are doing up as a camper so we have the scope to collect bulk orders. There is also a veg box sceme in the area.

The theory as ever is the easy part the test will be how many people I can convince to be involved. I know I have a few friends who possibly will be up for it, but the neighbours will be another matter as some of them I have never spoken to, and many already consider me to be slighty eccentric.

tackling self-sufficiency alone

The importance of community

I feel that by far the hardest part of voluntary simplicity and living with a degree of self-sufficiency for me is not sourcing local produce or growing what I can where I can, it is the choice of opting out of certain social activities, the choice to not be part of the mainstream, living the ideology. What years ago would be common knowledge and family traditions now is unusual and carried out by a select few.

What has become the norm for me still requires me to have to explain to friends and family the reasons behind such behaviour. I find it hard sometimes to keep up my ethics and motivation, as even though this way of life is carried out by thousands of people across the world, for me amongst my friends I am still the pioneer. This sometimes gives me a feeling of responsability, to have to prove how things can work, to myself and especially to my family who may have given up something for the ability for me to experiment. Luckily I have a very understanding wife who supports me, but as much as I need the support of my family what I crave is the ability to discuss and share experiences with others. In our modern consumer lives we have lost not just traditions but the most importantly communal knowledge, the passing down of skills through generations. What is sad is that of all of my family and friends possibly two grow some of there own veg and dabble in brewing etc. I do not feel in any way superior to those who don’t but rather we all lack a common goal.

Even though the internet has provided me with information and forums to discuss, these such forums like selfsufficientish.com and rivercottage.net has made available this type of community and been vital to my successes in keeping to my goals, however these are only virtual, only on hand to offer advice rather than support or physical help. It is hard to be the only one but knowing that there are others out there gives me the confidence to carry on.