16 April 2013

Welcome to the April edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival - Going Green cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about going green and environmentally friendly living. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.
When it comes to labels, those that apply to people that is, I find them difficult to apply none more so than that of being green or environmentally aware.  This is not because I don't agree with it as a principle but rather that I fear that some choose to apply it to themselves because it is what they think they should be doing.  But should I be critical?  If it means that more people are recycling is that not a positive step, well of course it is, but if we are truly signing up to being green should we not extend this further and look at other areas of our lives.  That does not mean that it has to be an unreachable goal, it is about paying more than lip service and thinking mindfully when we make decisions.

We do recycle, we compost food and garden waste, we buy products with little or no packaging and we have reduced our rubbish and put out a bag for collection every eight weeks or so.  We grow some fruit and vegetables in our garden, those that we buy are locally grown, where possible, and seasonal.  We have solar water panels to heat our water and have insulated our house to reduce our fuel bills to a minimum.  We used washable nappies, I breastfeed.  We are considering ways to reduce our water consumption and would like to install a wind turbine in our garden to take our house off grid.  Does that make me green, perhaps it does but all these decisons have been made because they felt right to us, we were considering the impact of our behaviour when making them. We own a dishwasher, take baths rather than showers and we have two cars.  Two cars is there anything wrong with that, or a dishwasher or taking baths not showers?  Some critics might say there is.

We made a conscious decision to become car owners.  They are cars with low emissions but cars they are nonetheless.  We recently had to make a decision concerning one of these cars, it failed a test that is required by law where I live.  It needed a considerable amount of work doing to it before it would pass, money that we were not sure we wanted to spend.  So we tried to sell it, unsurprisingly no one wanted to buy it so we ended up selling it for scrap.  I would like to believe that it will be stripped of its parts and recycled completely but I am not sure if that will happen.  I have to take it on trust that that will happen in the same way that anything I place for recycling is actually recycled rather than placed in landfill.  We had another decision to make and that was do we replace the car or just have one.  We live in a rural area it would be difficult to live with one car but not impossible.  My husband is self employed and his work takes him all over the place, often at short notice, it would make planning our lives much more difficult.  It might mean that we could not join in with many of the home educating activities that we currently go to as we could not get to them on public transport.  We had to strike a balance and we decided that for now, we wanted to continue to own two cars.  We wanted to continue to be able to do what we were currently doing.

As we negotiate our path through life we can choose many routes.  We must make decisions that feel right to us, that are mindful and fit with our own beliefs and practices.  But to be green or environmentally friendly or whatever you wish to call it we must care.  It is not about offsetting one set of behaviours against another we must care that packaging is wasteful, or that using less water or energy is a positive step.  When we live simply I believe we have the capacity to do this.  We are not tied up with meeting our own unmet needs by filling our homes with the latest must haves for example.  We have the capacity to consider the impact of our decision making and leave the world as a place for our children's future that we too would want to live in.

Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating eco-friendly living solutions into their everyday lives. We hope you will join us next month, as the Simply Living Blog Carnival focuses on Daily Lives!
  • Green Renovating: A Lot, A Little, Not So Much - Laura at Authentic Parenting ponders about the many things that have an impact on eco-friendly renovating
  • Growing Native in My Flower Beds - Destany at They Are All of Me takes the guilt out of her flower habit by switching from high maintenance flowers to native plants which not only lessens her gardening load, but also benefits the local wild life.
  • Baby Steps - Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares how her family became more sustainable, one step at a time.
  • A Greener Holiday - Sara from Family Organic discusses the overwhelming amount of "stuff" that comes with every holiday and talks about how to simplify instead.
  • Forcibly Green--Obligatory Organic - Survivor at Surviving Mexico talks about her family's evolution from passive to active green and sustainable living.
  • Giving It Away - Juliet Kemp of Twisting Vines writes about the role of Freecycle, the giant karmic lending library, in her simple and green living.
  • Simply Sustainable - Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses her family's attempts to live in harmony with the earth by living simply and more sustainably.
  • How Does Your Yarden Grow - Alisha at Cinnamon&Sassafras writes about an ongoing permaculture project, converting her grass lawn into a mower-free paradise.
  • Green? - Is it about ticking the boxes? sustainablemum shares her thoughts on what being green means in her life.
  • Using Cloth Products To Reduce Household Waste - Angela from Earth Mama's World shares how her family replaced many disposable household products with cloth to reduce their household waste.
  • Going Green in Baby Steps - Joella of Fine and Fair shares some small, easy steps to gradually reduce your environmental impact.
  • Are You Ready To Play Outside?! - Alex from AN Portraits writes about gardening, and playing in the dirt, and how it's O.K. to get dirty, play in the dirt, play with worms, for both adults and kids.


  1. "But to be green or environmentally friendly or whatever you wish to call it we must care."

    Absolutely! I find that I do care but there are changes that I have not yet been able to make because they are currently out of my reach. But truly caring about what I am doing means that I will find a solution, work on solving the problem rather than throw up my hands and say "nevermind."

  2. Wow, that IS a lot of green stuff! I struggle with many of those things. I think we do what we can, over time, and within reason. It's a process and you guys are already doing great!

  3. I think "green" has become more of a status symbol than one of mindful consideration. Buy the "green" cleaning chemicals and your are green, even though those chemicals are still toxic. Buy "green" products and shove the packaging in the trash. I think mindfulness can only be a good thing in how we live. Thanks for sharing!

  4. An excellent point. Living simply or living green is not just a thing you wake up and decide to do one day, it is a process, a delicate balance between convenience and conscience that is up for daily negotiation.


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