It's peak sowing and planting season at the moment and I'm working on A LOT of gardens! I really, truly believe that so much understanding about plants has been lost in recent years, and identifying them, and knowing how they can be useful will become more and more important as artificial resources become scarcer. So I like to use every opportunity to share a bit of knowledge.
Bear with me...
I was lucky enough to get wind of a community litter pick lately, organised by two lovely young people who, keen to begin growing in their area, wanted to start by improving an area of wasteland just next to their local park.
If there's one thing that's a great way to kick off a community project, then it's picking up litter. It's an easy thing to do, anyone can take part, and there's an immediate visual improvement. It's also the perfect means to begin conversations - not so taxing that it's difficult to concentrate and the people contributing generally have at least a few common interests, so no awkward pauses.
It's all about the plastic nowadays. For some reason (because it's been on the telly?) the world seems suddenly gripped by the idea that plastic is The Worst Thing Ever. And to be honest, it's not far off. I've been concerned about our excessive use, and disregard for its disposal, for years, so I am enjoying this sudden realisation by the masses. Of course it is terrifying still, but maybe we're turning a corner...
Plastic has its place (medical applications for example) but we should treat it more preciously than gold. Almost all plastic is derived from fossil fuels and so is a finite resource, so we should be mindful that what we take for granted will become hideously expensive and possible extinct within our lifetimes. Surely we should be saving it now 'for best?'
Going plastic free (the current 'eco trend') is really, really hard. Try it! It's almost impossible to avoid. But don't let this put you off; there are simple switches and in the words of the supermarket, "every little helps!"
Here are two easy peasy examples: ketchup and tea. I don't know many family households that avoid the red stuff. I know it's high in sugar, but my kids will eat anything with ketchup - entire cauliflower heads, for example. And for that, I forgive it its sins. But try buying a glass bottle of the stuff! If you find one in the array on the shelves, then I applaud you. And you'll quickly see it's way more expensive than the plastic bottles. But it recycles more easily, and if you're handy then the bottles are perfect for home made relishes and liquers after.
And tea. Almost all tea bags have plastic in them (tweet them and ask them if you want to check). We drink gallons of the stuff and switched to loose leaf some years ago. No fancy equipment needed: a tea pot (cheap in charity shops) and that's it. We use a tablespoon in the pot or a teaspoon in a cup. Pour on boiling water and the leaves sink to the bottom. The dregs are sieved and go into the compost bin, an added bonus. (Incidentally if you're a compost obsessive like me, you'll now know the reason the bags get left behind!)
Next problem: compulsive glass jar collecting!
Treading Lightly is simple living, within your means and the means of the planet, and making a minimal impact on the Earth. Find out more here about Catherine, of Barefoot Solutions, does this from day to day.