Sustainable living and the ‘normal’ person

I aspire to live a sustainable, eco-friendly life, but struggle with the day-to-day mechanics of this, so this blog post at Dark Purple Moon really resonated with me – thanks, Jen.

For example, I need to buy new sheets for my kids’ beds.  If I could find organic, fair trade sheets at all, especially ones I could afford, I would buy those.  So far, not good.  My main choices appear to be between cheap sweatshop sheets and expensive sweatshop sheets (and I daren’t even think about the manufacturing processes).  Budgetary constraints have me coming down on the side of the cheap ones at present – and my inner excessively-hopeful subversive notes that at least the capitalists won’t be making as big a profit on these (well, I can hope).

Or there’s the whole self-producing thing – ‘the grow your own fruit and vege and preseve them’ thing – which I also aspire to.    The problem is finding the time and the will.  My garden is currently fairly ‘fallow’ or ‘underdeveloped’ – that is, I don’t do anything like enough gardening.  I do enjoy gardening and growing my own herbs, fruit and vege.  However, fitting it in around family life remains a constant struggle – and I know I ‘should’ be introducing my children to the delights of growing their own, but mostly they want to ride their bikes through everything or else dig up everything (and I do mean everything!)  And I’m not very good at ‘shoulds’ at the best of times.  Then there’s my terrible track record with harvesting – I’m actually quite good at preparing, planting and tending, but remembering to pick the stuff is another matter. Oh well, at least the birds keep happy!

So most of my good intentions get put aside for ‘when the kids are older/leave home’.   I do try to limit my consumption, buy things without much packaging, use eco-bags, recycle and all the rest of it – but it just doesn’t seem like enough most days.

There are just so many different angles to consider when you start breaking the supply chain down: e.g. organic growing, air miles, processing methods, treatment of people doing the growing, treatment of people doing the making, packaging…

However I have made some decisions (in no particular order):

  • (the biggie) to not buy stuff unless I need to (although ‘need’ is fairly broadly defined) 🙂
  • to stop buying beads, use what I already have and buy any other jewellery from stores like Trade Aid
  • to buy yarn that is eco-friendly or fair trade, preferably both
  • to limit my orders from overseas websites

There will be more later.

In the meantime, I’ll try and stop beating myself up for not being good enough 🙂


Author: verdant1

belly dancer, mother, student, public servant, shaman, knitter, sister, feminist, gardener and a lot more...

8 thoughts on “Sustainable living and the ‘normal’ person”

  1. Given the apathy many have about changing their lifestyles in order to reach a more sustainable balance, I would say you are ahead of the pack even just from the things you list as common sense activities you have worked into your life. Plus, you are educated enough to look for new options and challenge yourself beyond your current accomplishments–no matter what, even the greenest of us can always improve.

    Lastly, do not underestimate the power of passing on knowledge. One of our biggest (perhaps the biggest) collective problem is ignorance. If you do not have one (or more) already, I would put a low-flow shower head on your list. It is certainly one of the easiest ways to save the most with the least impact on your daily life. Keep making the good sell!


    1. Thanks for your kind comments – and the inspiration to carry on.

      I’ve heard about low-flow showers and wondered how they work, especially when your shower pressure is pitiful. Does anyone know? I really don’t want to risk losing any water pressure, but would be keen to save water and power.


      1. There’s nothing complicated about low-flow fixtures. I have one myself and I have come to love it. It fits right where your existing shower head is so with a bit of plumber’s tape, the switch is easy. The premise behind them is simply allowing less water through more, smaller holes. So in fact, I would imagine it would help distribute lower pressure better than a traditional shower head. This is the one that I have:

        Considering it lasts for quite some time, it is a relatively small investment. It allows 1.75 gpm. Give your own shower a check. It is not unusual for a shower head to have twice that and we use more water in showers than anywhere else. If you assume two people in a home each showering for 15 minutes, once a day, switching from 3 gpm to 1.75 gpm then we are talking about a weekly saving of 262.5 gallons. That is 13,650 gallons a year! And that is just for two people.


  2. Thanks for the link Verdant 1. Its a struggle isnt it? Trying to balance everything out, especially when one is on a budget.

    Yep, I think continuing to link and comment is really encoraging!


  3. But the preserves look so nice lined up in the pantry!

    Just remember to put all the jars on the bottom shelf!

    Does this mean you’ll be getting rid of some beads? she says hopefully!!!


    1. Hi sis! Yes, you’re busted!
      I’m not currently planning on getting rid of any more beads – but I may have some from other sources to pass onto you (once I’ve had a good look!).
      If I have a clean-out, you’ll be the second to know!


  4. It’s always hard to find the time around family to do all the things you think you should do. But doing the things you can is better than doing nothing. Jules over at pancakes & French fries put my thoughts so succinctly, progress not perfection.


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