Sunday, May 8, 2011

Use & Value Renewable Resources

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This week when I turned over the page on my calendar I was shocked and horrified that it was already May. Then this morning when I check me emails Reverb10 had sent be a prompt for consideration. I was struggling this morning to prioritise my days activities, but Reverb10 have helped me decide. It was time for a little time out in the garden, time for reflection.

May's permaculature principle is
  • use and value renewable resources and services,
and Reverb10's May prompt is
  • are any of the things you wanted to manifest themselves in 2011 revealing themselves?
So sitting here, in my sacred space, I am reflecting on my conscious activities this year.

Renewable resources - Gardening is the ultimate in renewables. My partner and I compost religiously - we have two compost heaps - the fast one and the slow one. The fast one takes in the house hold wastes and is managed through a conscious combination of ingredients. The slow one is less likely to be well managed - it takes the big stuff, garden cuttings, lawn clippings and dead plants. The compost is then used to feed the fruit tree's, top up the veggie patch each season, and to raise seedlings. There is usually plenty of compost around, so some goes to filling holes in the lawn, and is given away to neighbours and friends. Seed collection is also a great way to value the renewable. I collect seeds from successful crops for the next time round, and if I want to grow something different I purchase my seeds from others who grow organically and collect seeds. Sharing with friends is also a great way to renew.

Currently harvesting: beans, leeks, brocoli, loofa, bokchoy, pakshoy, sweet potato, ruhbarb, celery, basil, lemons and kale. Jeresalem Artichoke is soon to be harvested...

Other renewable resources we are conscious about includes our fuel sources. My partner commutes 25 km each way to work on his bike, while my car is a diesel which is excellent for my 150km round trip to work. However, often I will catch the train which is a much better way of consciously sharing the fuel used. Our other fuel sources include trying to use gas in the kitchen, and solar power for hot water. We're also conscious about reusing broken things or unwanted things. In our suburb we have a hard rubbish collection - which means our neighbours put out all their unwanted and broken things on the footpath for council to collect. Smart re-users collect the items with potential before the council does. In the past we've collected lounge chairs, garden furniture, bike wheels and frames, and a BBQ - all of which only need a little tweeking to give them a new lease on life. Oh, my other committment is that I wont allow myself to get a takeaway coffee unless I have a reusable mug (I know its small but it's meaningful).

However, on reflection I could be a lot more conscious about using and valuing renewable resources and services. One thing I had challenged myself to for 2011 was to consider how to reduce my reliance on commercial dog food. It's not all that organic, or chemical free, nor does the industry claim any environmental ethical considerations. If I was to make the dog food, I could choose the ingredients (even better grow them myself) and I would be caring for my dog as I should be. Unfortunately, this hasn't started yet. Perhaps now is the time to locate the recipe and start growing good stuff for dog food.

So, back to Reverb10's question. Well, I think that my response would be 50/50.
  • I really wanted to be a better cyclist before I go to France in July - this is one thing I have been diligent about. I've got a new bike this year, and I've been riding 3-4 times a week. Just last week I did approx 150kms in total. (This was toady's dilemma - go riding for 3 hrs or stay home a garden, and rest).
  • I also wanted to build my confidence and skill for my job. I think I can say I'm working on this too.
  • I had hoped to work with my charity organisation based in India, to get it Tax deductability here in Australia. I really wanted to increase the external funding for the school and hostel this year. I feel I have struggled too give this the time it needs, although I have made some progress. I have a few leads to follow up and if I can get some of this done in the next 6 weeks, we might have success by the end of the year.
  • I wanted to increase my connectivity with my local community. This is really hard to do when I work outside the community, and with travel time, I'm away from home nearly 10-12 hours a day. I also live in a community that is pretty insular,, except maybe sharing their love of sporting events (for which I don't have time for)..... I have been to the local church a few times this year, and consciously try to use local services - such as the sewing lady, dry cleaners, accountant, Dr and chemist.
I think I could go on, but, to avoid boring all of you, I'll leave it here. But aren't these interesting questions to ponder???

Currently reading: Half the Sky, and Humanitarian Assistance - Haiti and Beyond.


Jeanie said...

What a great post and way to look back on very worthwhile goals. We are upside down, weather wise, you and I. I am just starting to plan my garden -- lettuce now is the side of a rather large pin-head poking from the dirt, and in another few weeks I'll pop in the rest of it all. And I try not to overuse gas, but it hard to get to work on mass transit from my house. I'm trying to be more careful with things. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. It is an inspiration and motivator to see one who is making it work.

Tamara said...

Jeanie, We need to keep encouraging each other in these goals - and Im jealous over your lettuces...