All they seem to be able to talk about is how I should spend, spend, spend, and they do it in the smuggest, most self-satisfied tone. If its not spending more money on carbon credits - which frankly seem to be a way a assuage guilt and continue to live exactly how you have before. Then its paying more for green power, organic food, grey-water recycling systems and solar hot water.
By the end of Leaving a Lighter Footprint I was starting to feel less like a woman on a mission and more like the cash cow that I really am. Then there was all this talk about 'did I have the affluenza virus' and was I 'keeping up with the Joneses/Neighbours' to the detriment of the planet. WTF. I mean seriously.
But, being scandalised by Sustainability books is not the only thing I've done to improve the environment in my little corner of suburbia. No no indeedy. I have...
- Convinced hubby to wee on the lemon tree last thing before bed - thus saving one toilet flush and fertilizer (remember this when I post about the lovely lemony treats I'm cooking in winter)
- Calculated that we emit about 16tonnes of greenhouse gases a year from electricity use alone (so this doesn't include the wood-burning stove or the two cars).
- Discovered that during some periods we use up to 800 litres of water A DAY. Though the average is around 500 A DAY. I'm still gobsmacked.
- Figured out that if we were to install the largest solar power array you can get (for $47,000 and that is with rebates) it would only take care of half our power needs.
- Actually considered paying $18 for four tiny lamb chops because they were organic
- Made my own soap - ambitiously used goats milk - note to self, KNOW ONES LIMITATIONS. Soap has kind-of worked. May not use it on anything that actually owns living flesh though.
- Planted vegetables (tatsoi & leeks - eaten by slug, onions - fried on 40degree day and rest of seeds left in pocket of jeans and then washed, zucchini - survived, just. So its ALL good).
- Toilet trained my youngest child - thus saving a squillion disposable nappies - and I am now living in a world of poos on the lawn and puddles on the floor. Somebody peed in hubby's shoes and the debate is still raging, was it the child or the cat? Excrement - it is my life.
- Have thought seriously about walking to the shops. Seriously.
- Swore no piece of paper that entered our property would leave it (ie, all paper to be mulched on the garden, fed to the worms etc), promptly disappeared under an avalanche of junk mail (despite our NO JUNK MAIL sticker on the post box) and cardboard boxes and am having a bit of a rethink about that one. Well, its either that or hubby is going to move out.
Okay, so its going to take time. Our first goals are this; reduce energy use and water use. Both should be challenging. I found a really interesting brochure on home energy use on the Origin Energy website. Just having the microwave switched on but not running is costing us $1 per quarter, the laptop $8 per quarter, and the computer $16. So there is $25 we can save, or $100 a year just by switching three things off.