It’s mother’s day and I woke up in a fever of domestic enthusiasm. I put buttons on school shirts (a project that I’ve procrastinated for months!) and I cut two bags of old clothes into small squares to use as cleaning cloths. We had breakfast out but when we got home I made lunch, homemade pesto with basil from my backyard and baked Anzac biscuits. And as the biscuits were in the oven, why not use the radiant heat to dry the school uniforms (it was drizzling outside)? I felt like a domestic Goddess, so much was accomplished but the best of all I felt like I was acknowledging the planet that sustains and nurtures us.
Going back to the shirts ‘baking’ by the oven – did you realise that the clothes dryer is one of the largest energy user in the house? If you asked me that a year ago, I wouldn’t have a clue. I wasn’t an environmentally minded individual but this started to change when I read the book The Great Disruption by writer and sustainability advisor, Paul Gilding. The book argues that human activity is growing beyond Earth’s capacity and that our insatiable consumption and waste is leading us to an ecological crisis.
Since I’ve read the book, I’ve been looking for ways to reduce my family’s carbon footprint. It hasn’t been easy and I haven’t made a lot of progress but there are a few things that I’m doing that I think are a move in the right direction:
- Not buying a clothes dryer (in fact, I’ve never owned one)
- Stopped buying individually packed biscuits for the lunchboxes
- Plastic ziplock snack bags have been banned in my household (still have some as I’ve recycled the last ones I had)
- Baking more snacks for the lunchboxes (and if raining using the oven heat to dry clothes!)
- Making the effort to take fabric bags to the supermarket – I used to forget them all the time
- Not buying winter clothes this year. I’ve just revisited my closet and honestly my jacket is still is good condition, and so are my jumpers
- Reduced my family’s meat consumption: in addition to animal cruelty, animal farming requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water
- Reducing my consumption in general.
Other things I would like to do and hope to implement shortly: take my own containers to take-away shops, buy more of my groceries in bulk, from local farmers and fair trade and use my own reusable cup for coffee – Australians throw away 1 billion disposable coffee cups per year!
The way we eat, consume and use energy has a huge impact on the planet so we all have an ethical responsibility to do our bit not to inflict too much ecological damage. Happy mother’s day planet Earth – I hope many of sons and daughters are lightening their load on you.