Filed under: Adapting to Change | Tags: baker, barter, beekeeping, bike repair, Compost, debt reduction, food insecurity, Gardening, moonshine, small engine repair, soapmaking
365 days in a year. That’s a pretty big block of time you know. Just because you were too tired, busy, or hung over to make some resolutions on New Year’s Day doesn’t mean that less than two weeks later, on this second Monday of the new year, that it’s too late. And you know what? Even if you DID manage to resolve to lose 20 pounds or quit smoking or to stop biting your nails, you can work on those resolutions AND resolve to begin the transition to a way of life that is more outwardly simple yet inwardly rich. Talk about PEACE in the new year! I swear it’s not too late.
Where to begin? Before we get into the how’s, let’s consider the why’s first…
Do you have any debt? Do you depend on electricity or some other source of fossil fuel to heat your home and water, cook your food, or power your car, computer, lights and phone? Do you eat? Do you have good health? Do you have good healthcare? We all deal with these issues and many more in our lives, and chances are, we won’t be able to resolve all of them in 2015, but what we can do is to set aside time to put into learning skills that may prove useful, particularly in a long emergency, a crisis or even a grid down situation. (You’re not still holding on to that same, tired argument that ‘it can’t happen to me’ are you?)
It’s common knowledge that modern grocery stores have approximately a three day supply of food before their shelves are empty. From storms to truckers’ strikes, the nation’s food supply is precarious. It’s also common knowledge that honeybees are responsible for every third bite of food we take. From colony collapse disorder to mites, beekeepers are worried about the future of their hives and our food supply. We are also aware that our new Republican-led Congress is going to do everything in their power to prevent immigrants from entering the United States (who will work in our farmer’s fields?), repeal Obama Care and approve the Keystone pipeline. And that’s just this week. Do we really need any more reasons to begin our personal transition to a better way of life that is not based on cheap, plentiful and polluting oil but on localized food, sustainable energy sources, resilient local economies and an enlivened sense of community well-being?
OK, so I’ve convinced you. Now what? Just like with any other big project, you’ll need to take small steps. If food insecurity concerns you, start a compost pile.Today. Put all your kitchen scraps and yard waste in a bin or corner of your yard, and with no help from you, eventually they’ll become rich compost that you can then use to grow something that you love to eat fresh! If personal health issues concern you, see the same advice above…we are what we eat after all, and healthy bodies begin with healthy food. Now, when spring arrives, plant some fruit trees or bushes. They will take several years to produce fruit, and in the meantime you can still be working on resisting biting your nails or getting organized. The activities of planting and taking care of your new fruit or nut trees and your compost pile will improve your health tremendously.
Are you concerned about job security? Why not learn a new skill that would provide you with a new career that could support you in a collapsed economy? Making moonshine comes to mind, as does training to become a knowledgeable herbal medicinalist, firewood or biodiesel supplier, small engine or bicycle repairman or computer repair person. Solar installers, bakers, gardeners, beekeepers, soapmakers and seamstresses do too. You get the idea. All of these ‘second careers’ take time to develop and perfect, but remember, you’ve still got 323 days left of this year alone! And if the economy doesn’t collapse? Great! You’ll still have more money, better health and barterable skills to use. I’ll trade you some of my honey for some of your soap. I’ll trade you some of my corn for some of your moonshine too 🙂 .
If financial insecurity is your yoke to bear, get out of debt. Completely. That way, if you lose your job, you’ll be able to live off the unemployment checks you’ll receive while you look for another. Maybe you can use the time you’re not looking for ‘a job’ to work on those skills we discussed above. And if you don’t lose your job? Great! Getting out of debt will then enable you to start putting more money into your retirement fund and savings. Just one more car payment? Continue paying that same amount each month to your credit cards or other obligations, then learn to pay cash for everything. It’s the most liberating action you can possibly take to blow your world wide open and allow you to have options available in your life that may not have ever been open to you before. Ask me how I know. The quiet peace of being financially stable and having a source of healthy food is actually deafening at times.
To everything there is a season. THIS is the time for us to collectively plan and act early enough so that we can create a way of living that’s significantly more connected, more vibrant and more fulfilling than the one we find ourselves in today. I swear it’s not too late.
Filed under: Frugality, Greenwashing, Reducing Waste | Tags: frugal, reusing, soapmaking
Greenwashing, as defined on Wikipedia, is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s aims and policies are environmentally friendly. Whether it is to increase profits or gain political support, greenwashing may be used to manipulate popular opinion to support otherwise questionable aims.
I question the aim of this product. The back of the box reads: “This innovative ergonomically shaped waste reducing soap has been designed to eliminate the unused center of traditional soap bars.” Waste Reducing? Really? Look how much of the center is missing-a LOT! I suspect when I use this bar, I’ll still be left with a sliver of soap. The only difference is that that sliver will be left from one side of this bar, rather than the middle. I’m going to start using it tomorrow and will keep you updated on it’s eventual demise.
What do YOU think? Is this greenwashing? I’m all for reducing waste and living frugally. But I’m also about making conscious, mindful decisions about how I spend my money, how I live my values and how I can make even a small difference in the world, but sadly, this (almost) bar of soap just doesn’t ring true for me.
To eliminate soap waste, I save all those little slivers that have been cleverly eliminated from this bar, and store them in a ziplock bag. When I have enough to mess with, I melt the slivers down, and then pour the hot liquid into a repurposed food storage container. When it cools, it hardens into: TA DA! Soap! Here’s a picture of the melting slivers melting in a nonstick pot:
And here are the four finished bars. They smell heavenly, and are the EPITOME of ‘Green Washing’, wouldn’t you agree?
Just trying to keep it real…
(Have you seen any blatant examples of greenwashing in advertising? If so, send them in, I’ll post them here!)