The Green in Sufficiency (Part 1 of 3)
One of the expressions of Sufficiency is living by the principals of sustainability. Most simply, this is using no more than you need of energy, food, water, and things in general, and producing no or very little waste. There are many ways to join the sustainability movement and practice this form of sufficiency. Some of my favorite resources:
• Calculate your carbon footprint by using an online calculator at www.carbonfootprint.com.
• Experiment with your consumption behaviors by joining the No Impact Experiment at noimpactproject.org. The No Impact Man and his family spent a year living off the grid, producing no waste and buying nothing but food grown locally, all in New York City. The experiment they propose is one week, and their website offers hundreds of ways to change your consumption behaviors.
• Learn about global action movement on 350.org is the number that climatologists say the parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. If we exceed this number we will push the globe into irreparable harm. We are currently at 387. (Check out this song about 350.org on YouTube.com)
For these reasons and the fact that my husband is a chef and loves to grow things, we plan to head for a farm. If not the one we visited last week, then another one we find. It’s beyond the back to the land movement; for us it’s becoming a necessity to become more familiar with where our products come from, who makes and distributes them and from where. Food is essential, yes? We are off to learn how to grow our own food and hopefully food for others too.
This may sound like an extreme response to the current global uncertainty (check out the Uncertain Times blog series), but we are aligned in our values and our passion to be close to the land and its rhythms. In our small urban yard we keep four laying hens and garden half of the yard. We produce waste to fill slightly less than a paper grocery bag per week turning leftovers into compost, packaging into gifts and craft activities, and re-gifting and re-using everything. As I said to a friend recently: “I am accepting hand-me-downs.” Scaling our current lifestyle up a bit is a natural step for us.
But practicing sustainable behaviors is a process, one that evolves over time. Changing behaviors sustainably, is part of the movement’s challenge. Not to shame people into giving up anything – their conveniences – for the sake of others, for some abstract world. (See Recess from Excess post about this topic.) The No Impact Project folks declare the surprise of their experiment: that they discovered they were “healthier, happier and richer in ways they could not have imagined.” It’s not just about the environment.
Stay tuned for more of this discussion in the next couple of posts including Seven Stones synchronicity with the 7 permaculture principals and being a “Green Monster” (and not for the love of Fenway).
In the meantime, tell us what you think about living simply, the sustainability, how it relates to your sufficiency practice and anything else that came up for you when you read this.