Earlier in my quest to further decrease our family’s ecological footprint, I had envisaged us growing, baking, preserving, sewing, refashioning, mending, and so on. It didn’t take me long to realise that I had to make MY life sustainable…not try and squeeze the sustainable living tools of others into my life.
I realised that I didn’t have time to do all of what I had envisaged - without eating into the time I spend - with my family, or working in threatened flora conservation, or volunteering with my community. My sustainable life will hardly be sustainable if I have to stop doing what makes my life worthwhile.
Admittedly, some things had to give, and they did. I gave up Flannel Fings and we have been rather slack finishing our half renovated house. But we have dropped all that can be dropped and are now focusing on making our - 'both-parents-working but simple-living-loving family on a small urban block’ - life sustainable.
I believe the only way I can make my life sustainable is by being a contributing member of my community. The importance of community really hit home with me a few months ago. I became an active member of Transition Newcastle and switched my blog header to a picture of part of 'my community' to reflect this change in my approach - but hadn't yet found the words to describe this change. Melinda's recent post on 'Does Living Sustainably Have To Take More Time?' has motivated me to try and find the words.
I believe that no matter what befalls our family, we will be OK as long as we are an active member of a connected supportive local community. The more resilient our community is to peak oil and climate change, the more resilient we will be. Consequently, recently I have been focusing more on making change outside our home, rather than within.
Just before Christmas I submitted a Community Builders funding application for the Greater Waratah Wellbeing and Sustainability Project - so cross your fingers for us. The project is all about increasing the resilience of our community to peak oil and climate change.
My change in focus has actually lightened my 'load' within our home. For example, take a look at this…
It’s our garden. It’s a sad unproductive neglected mess. We have some major plans for the garden but they will have to wait until we have some spare time. But that’s OK with me for now - because we still manage to eat 100% local and organic vegetables.
We get a box on Tuesday from Beanstalk (a community local and organic food co-op), and then another box on Friday from Purple Pear (a local organic Community Supported Agriculture(CSA) farm). I share the beanstalk pick-up with a friend, so only have to pick-up once a fortnight and Purple Pear is on Daddy Eco’s way home from work. So sourcing local and organic vegetables is part of our weekly routine and we don’t even have to think about it. Fruit is a little harder - but i'll talk about that another time. Sourcing our vegetables this way is more-or-less as environmentally friendly as growing our own and is socially a better option because we are supporting the livelihood of a handful of local organic farmers.
I've also recently signed up to Hunter LETS and plan on trading honey, bees wax and some crafty goods for goods and services I don't have the time to make or do. I'm also meeting like-minded families through Playdates for the Planet. All this community activity increases the resilience (and wellbeing) of our family.
Have you found your pathway to sustainable living sustainable? What or who has made sustainable living easier for you?