Currently, I've been focused on small-scale sustainability. Let's be honest, it's not easy to be a die hard environmentalist, ELF member, living-off the land kinda person. I could totally do it, but probably only if someone forced me to and/or there was an alien attack which annihilated the majority of our species. Side note: Matt's pretty obsessed with the OBVIOUSLY impending zombie/alien apocalypse, so we talk about this stuff a lot hah!
Before Olin ate all the blueberries:
BUT, it's not hard to make simple, every day choices that encourage environmental stewardship. There are many small things one can do to become more sustainable. Sustainability, in every aspect of life, is crucial in my opinion for the longevity and future of our earth and the people on it. I could go all hardcore and write an essay about our obligation to environmental stewardship (even in biblical terms, people), but most of us understand or have some inkling of how much stuff we consume and how we consume/dispose of said stuff and that everlasting effect on our planet.
Basically, I want to show some simple things (which I'll do every friday) that I do/ my family does to reduce our ecological footprint and that encourages us to take a closer look at not only how we live, but what we consume and how we consume it (both in our bodies, aka food, and otherwise). Here are three examples that just happen to all be on our front and back porches.
#1: Reuse/ Repurpose:
Keep your crap. You never know when/ how you may use it again. Okay, so DON'T became a hoarder-- know when to pass off or give away things that you aren't using, but do so with the long term in mind. I'm a believer that surrounding yourself with less stuff can lead to a greater life, but sometimes reusing or repurposing old stuff that you have held on to is really fun. That, and you just can't beat that basically free price tag.
We had this old wicker chair and table from my childhood that we, on many occasions, wanted to donate to goodwill, but kept putting it off. This summer we decided to spruce up our front and back porches and realized we needed to buy some new stuff to do so. But, per usual, we were poor and HATE buying something new that won't actually get used that often. We thought about cragislisting it, but then remembered the old wicker furniture living in what used to be our man cave and realized a quick coat of paint could mean a new life for them at no big cost to us.
This was the best 'before' pic I could find: the wicker table all decked out in halloween loveliness....
After + chair (forgive the mess.. we still have a few things to plant):
We also cleaned out Matts moms storage room and discovered a bunch of stuff that could have a new life at our home, such as these chairs, cushions and lighthouse bird feeder. The pillows, table and umbrella are actually used too-- they were priorly used as staging furniture for my moms company.
#2 Sub-Urban Gardening:
Welp, 3 years ago we made a decision to buy a town-home and it was for sure the wrong decision. As first time home owners, college go-ers, and having a relatively new baby, we thought a townhouse was a great choice; low yard maintenance, young families, small community, etc. And it was, for like a year, until our baby got big and demanded space to roam, we realized we had so many neighbors it was like apartment living all over again, I finished school and our desire for a little piece of land to call our own grew.
We decided to move. Then the housing market crashed. Shit. So, when life gives you moldy lemons... you plant a garden in planter boxes. That's how the saying goes, right?
Urban Gardening is the process of growing plants of all types and varieties in an urban environment. It is a great way to learn about the food growing process (for adults and tiny humans) when you don't have any land and/or have very little space to actually grow plants. It can make you a little less dependent on large scale farming/ shipping food long distances thus wasting a great amount of natural resource. Also, just planting a basic garden, without edibles, is a good way to get back in touch with nature, feed bees & birds & other little insects, and encourage ecological/biological diversity in your neighborhood. We happen to live in a suburb of Portland, so I thought sub-urban garden was a more proper term.
Our urban gardens:
Edibles: chives, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, and edamame:
Before Olin ate all the blueberries:
Flowers/ other plants:
#3 Buy Locally:
Our windmill bird feeder is just one example of something bought and made locally. It was bought at the Astoria Sunday Market. It was handmade by a guy whose daughter Matt actually grew up and went to school with. Buying locally obviously stimulates local economic growth and encourages all the benefits that come with the promotion of a small businesses aka: local jobs. Buying locally reduces overall shipping costs such as the cost in fuel, ENERGY and time as well as the basic monetary cost. When an item is made and bought locally, great amounts of oil, of which resulting emissions can greatly impact our environment, aren't wasted on simply transporting that item (like from China to the U.S.). While Matt and I don't actually live in Astoria, Matts mom does, and we hope to also one day.
Also, the little table the bird feeder is sitting on was bought from a thrift store for under $5 and repurposed by us.