A Village Life

Monday, April 16, 2012

clean green living

What do we mean by clean green living......sustainability......... eco friendly......... leaving a smaller carbon footprint?  Does this mean buying "eco-friendly" disposable items? Using unbleached compostable disposable nappies?  Purchasing an energy efficient clothes dryer?  This whole realm of being clean and green has been on my mind lately.  In New Zealand everyone talks about losing our clean green image that we hold on the international stage.  I tend to disagree.  The very core of Kiwi existence is clean and green......a frugal mentality in all aspects.  We collect rainwater off the roof to use as the household and garden water supply, everyone hangs their washing out to dry on a clothesline.  Some families don't even own a dryer.  When something breaks it is mended or recycled to make something else instead of being chucked out.  Kiwi ingenuity in action.  Never throw anything away because you might need it later or you might find a way to use it in some other manner. 
After living here now for 6 years my mentality has certainly changed.  On our annual visit to California, I cringe every time I see people doing dishes and just leaving the tap to run while they finish a conversation or something.  Water, water, water just pouring down the drain for no reason.  There is never a thought to where it comes from or how much it is costing them to just let it run down the drain "unused".  If your water supply were limited as ours is, you certainly would make every drop count.  And with all that beautiful dry hot California sunshine, I have yet to see someone hang their washing out to dry.  It is natural and free and only takes a few minutes.  A few minutes that you can spend outside with your children while they have a play or help hang stuff up before heading off to work for the day.  Get some fresh air, take a moment to slow the pace of your life down and appreciate mother nature before heading into the corporate concrete jungle world.  Having a picnic or party?  How "green" is it to buy eco friendly disposable plates and cutlery?  Is it that hard to just have a picnic set that you chuck in a cloth bag and bring home to wash and reuse?  Not, really and you save money and energy by reusing instead of buying disposable goods.  Cloth nappies anyone?  I've started using them again with baby number 3 and they are great.  It doesn't take much time to put the dirtys in a bucket and wash them once the bucket is full.  Hang them out to dry in the sunshine for a natural bleached effect.  Of course I use eco disposable too when I am out for a full day but for every nappy I save from the rubbish bin by using a cloth nappy, I feel pretty pleased with myself.
I won't go into personal care products because I've already had a rant about that before.  Why smear chemicals all over your body and hair when you don't have to?
Perhaps you could give it a try:
Can you set up some sort of water tank in your back yard to collect the rain even if only to use to water your garden?
How about buying a clothesline and giving that a go?  Every load that is naturally dried is that much money in your pocket and that much less energy pollution to the planet.
Lose the disposable mentality!  Re-use and recycle everything.  If you no longer want something, give it away.  Buy only good quality items that will last a lifetime.  Need something new, look at a second hand shop first.  You never know what you might find.  Shop on craigs list for items you need instead heading somewhere for a brand new something. 
We need to think about the core of what sustainability means?  Forget about consumerism marketed with eco or green as the tagline.  Do you even need to buy that eco product or could you use something you already have at home? 
And with that I reckon your pockets will begin to fill with lose change as you save yourself a bundle on things you've never considered were putting strain on your budget.  Imagine your power or water bill being $20 less each month.  You might even be able to take a trip overseas eventually.........to New Zealand!!

Anyway, good to get it off my chest.......just food for thought.

Side note:  This is not directed at anyone imparticular.  I just want to chuck it out there for anyone in cyber space who happens to read this blog to consider.


  1. Great post Megan. In the US we dont tend to think about this stuff enough. A few years ago we made the switch to cloth napkins and ditched paper towels...but my family still has a long way to go and lots more changes we need to make.

  2. Well, Meg. You've given me loads to think about of course. I like the idea of investing in quality products that will last a lifetime or can be handed down to siblings or friend's children. Unfortunately, it's hard to find affordable quality products. Means we have to be patient and save our pennies and be thoughtful consumers.