Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blog Action Day - reactions

Many didn't post any blog entry, even though they committed to it. I know I have really hard to keep dates and so, so I sat down and wrote my blog entry a week ahead, and just put the publishing date on 15th :-D It isn't too late, you know, even if you didn't participate on the 15th :-)

I have been going through the blogs, especially crafting blogs, and decided to share my thoughts here.

I notice that many are scared by this huge, dangerous and seemingly unstoppable beast threatening the whole planet. Sure, the planet will survive, probably most of the wildlife will survive too, move or adjust themselves to the changed environment, even though some beautiful things will die, like polar bears. The humans might not survive... at least we will be diminished, and the rest... well... let's see which qualities will win, the egotistic bullying "me first" attitude of Mad Max, or the social consideration and taking care of each other - "let's share what we have so that we all might survive" - because I don't want to be alone on this planet. The person I bully today might invent cure for cancer tomorrow... and I don't want him/her to remember me as a bully when my loved one is dying of cancer...
I too am scared, and it feels like I alone cannot do much to change anything. It feels as if the big players are all egotistical bastards and more harm is done with good intentions than not... that it has gone so far it doesn't matter anymore what a single person does... But I want to believe. I want to believe I can be the change. I want to believe that we can turn the development. I want to believe in human might and will to do good.

Craftivism was talking about turning all this into something positive.

Lotus in the Mud was listing things she does to reduce her footprint. I think it would be a good idea to take something from the hundreds of suggestions every month and make it a new habit.

We have a green energy provider, but we could reduce our consumption of energy. Even if you don't "believe" in global warming, you "believe" in reducing the economical costs of your household, don't you? ;->

We kept the Earth Hour, and we did it with vengeance :-D We switch off the power all together in our home. We were sitting in the bed, my husband and I, and read a book aloud in the light of candles. The dog was sleeping on our feet and it was so cosy and sweet.
I am thinking of all the descriptions in Victorian books about some people doing crafts, some entertaining either by reading aloud, playing piano, singing - there might be some popcorn popping and cider drinking, as described in Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Farmer Boy.
It was lovely. We decided to have an Earth Hour - electricity free hour - every week, but it hasn't been done. It is more "fun" (read habit) to sit by the computer and surf :-D (which is what I am doing right now, using electricity, in stead of doing something sane...)
The night made me feel more togetherness with my husband, more sincere affection and reminded me of why I married him :-) It was also fun to read the book. I have a HUGE list of books I want to read, but never get to do that, because I waste time in the internet. ;-)

Here's "how to organize a sewing party"
Here's "Fabric Maverick Says Have a Sewing Party"
It really doesn't need to be sewing party, "stitch and bitch" can be done with any crafts. :-D
You could really combine a book club with crafting party, and have one (the one who doesn't do crafts) read the book out loud, while the rest potters on with their UFOs - or let the book go around, and everyone reads a bit. Audiobook without using electricity ;-)

Learn to use public libraries.
Most of them do subscribe to most magazines, and it's better you go to the library and read the magazine there, take copies of the articles you want to save, or preferably make notes in a notebook or journal you carry along to catch all the good ideas floating around ;-)
Borrow books rather than buy them, borrow paper books rather than audiobooks.

We cannot do much to "insulate and ventilate", but we can keep the house clean, declutter, layer clothes and turn the warmth down. We can use thick curtains to keep the cold out in the winter and the warmth out in the summer. Also, we have the windows open only in the shadow side of the house in the summers and in the nights. We use mosquito nets. Also, we use fans. Those handheld thingies, not the electric ones, and wear what people in hot areas of the world wear - layers of light cotton, to create a portable shadow...

Reduce dishes and laundry
Don't use more dishes than necessary; make one pot dinners, use the same water glass all day long.
Use glass as storage for leftovers. Avoid plastic. (Plastic also has some toxins that will transfer into your food.)
It's better to make too little food than too much. Plan your cooking and take notes, so that you actually are aware of how much is a portion, so there will be no left-overs. This is not only ecologically sane, but economically as well.
Having a set of clothes for work and another for home, and change when you come home
Use sleeve covers, aprons and slippers.
Wash the clothes in 30-40 degrees - they do get clean. Avoid prewash. I doubt anyone has that dirty clothes now-a-days. Avoid overportioning the washing detergent. Find ecological washing detergents.
Wash only full machines dishes and laundry.
Buy things that are home-machine-washable. Preferably ecological fair-trade cotton and other natural fibers. Buy locally produced fibers and make your clothes yourself.

Borrow each others fashion accessories.
(swap, not shop - clothing exchange party)

Start exercising and eat less. Go out in the nature and enjoy it while you can. Walk, walk, walk. Walk and bike as much as you can.
Avoid cars. When you must use a car, try to use a buss or train instead.
Car pool.
Get yourself a shopping bag on wheels and walk to the grocery store, if it's in a couple of miles distance. Get used to walking. It keeps you fit and reduces your carbon footprint ;-)

Plan your grocery shopping and diminish the turns to the grocery store.
Buy as much organic, ecologic, fair trade and local as you can. See if you can exchange the "exotic" stuff for some local ingredients.
Learn to forage.
Have a garden - on a windowsill in some old tin cans, if no other options exist. Every plant eats carbon oxide and produces oxygen. Some of them even eat other gases...
Get a good box freezer and defrost it regularly. Fill it with local ingredients, like the stuff you forage (berries, mushroom) and local farm products.

Plant trees. Play Johnny Appleseed if nothing else.

Crafting a green world reviews the Green Guide for Artists - it matters what you use.
There's the Yarn Carbon Footprint, but it's still very new. What I know is that the carbon footprint of plastic is 6 kg CO/1 kg plastic - and acrylic yarn IS plastic. If it is not locally produced, you have to add the transport footprint as well. The carbon footprint of 1 kg wool is about 300 grams CO.

Here's some more suggestions :-D

The thing is that you WIN if you live sustainably and ecologically! Your life standard will be better, you eat better, you save money, you get fit, you improve your social life and feel better about yourself, because you actually reach your goals and achieve something.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

What's the worst thing that can happen?

Pretty dang bad...Sure, the economy isn't doing good either, but we can survive without economy, we can't survive without this planet, we can't survive without land to live on, we can't survive without weather conditions that allow agriculture. THAT is the choice you should be making, in stead of HOPING that people are wrong.

Prepare for the worst. The worst is NOT that you cannot take the car to the shop three times a day. The worst is not that you don't have gasoline to drive the car, you don't have the car, you don't have the shop to go to, nor money to buy anything with. The worst is that you don't have a ground to drive the car, and the shop is empty because there just is not enough food for all 6 billion + people living on this planet.
In Soviet Russia the worst problem was not lack of money, but lack of things to buy with money.

Economy has crashed before, and will crash in the future - if there is any future. What the people did in the 30's to survive the Crash, is what they should be doing now.

Listen to this knitting podcast: 66 coupons

Here's some Earth Day crafts. There is a lot of wonderful recycling ideas around the internet, and ideas on how to renew old things. I remember reading horrified about how a woman proudly told a group I used to belong to how she and her siblings emptied their mother's house while she was in hospital, having broken her hip. The mother had been an avid garage sale shopper and owned tons of things she had bought second hand. Her children packed everything into large garbage sacks and sent them to the city dump. She was really proud of herself, and all I could think of was the psychological abuse of throwing away another human being's things without asking or even telling her, and the waste of throwing away usable stuff with the unusable. Sure, it would have taken them a LOT more time, effort and care to go through the stuff WITH the mother, and taking care of things properly, sending the usable stuff to goodwill and sorting the non-usable stuff properly.

Now, one needs to think about that too. Here's an important article to read about the dangers of recycling fanatism... "Recycling... Is Garbage". Living sustainably means that you think BEFORE you stand there with the garbage.

Make yourself a reusable shopping bag. Plastic bags do take more space in the landfill.
Here's a very nice article about how to reduce waste when you do the shopping.
Don't forget to make yourself a dozen or so bags of thin, light netting, so that you can buy your fruits and stuff that needs to be weighed.

Start using cloth diapers and sanitary pads. Frankly, I would go so far as to ask everyone to scrap the damned electric toothbrush. Your teeth will be cleaned well enough with the usual non-electronic thing - which you can use to several other things after it has done its to clean your teeth...

You really should keep an electric diary and note everything electric you use - tv, computer, dishwasher, clockradio, lamps, microwave... what not - and see how you could reduce it, just like you keep book on your economy and try to reduce the waste there. (You don't? You should. You should also keep a food diary where you write how much you eat, and how much does the family eat, and daily food plans, and how to reduce the waste there...)

I would love if everyone had an Earth Hour every day. Take an hour off your surfing today. Read a real book, no electronic version or audio book. Learn a new craft or use the hour to work on your UFOs. Use the hour to unravel the sweater you never use. Play board games with your family and friends. Take a walk in the nature and enjoy it - as long as you can.

If the Moon Appeared Only Once Every Ten Years

There would be moon parades held everyday
for twelve days before that night,
white horses with glass moons clinking
on their bridles, riders in moon-cloud
gowns led by mimes marching and spinning
with gold auras around silver-sequined
moon faces. Moon parties would be in progress
all over town, milky moon drinks, white
chocolate bon bon moons, everyone throwing
foil streamers designed to catch
and reflect the most moonlight possible
in their flying spirals.

Platforms with marble steps and ivory
pedestals would be built on country
hillsides to provide the powerful and wealthy
with the best positions for the longest
viewing, their white porcelain spyglasses
ready to point heavenward.

By law: no artificial light (neon, bulb
or flame) allowed to burn anywhere
during The Hours of the Moon.

Like an ecstatic sailor shouts "Land, land,"
from his gyrating crow’s nest, who might be
the first among the crowds gathered
on the mountaintops to shout, "Moon, moon,"
as the buttery orange rim of that beautiful globe
first appears over the edge of the plains ?
One five-layer creamy moon cake for a prize.

Then squealing children, playing
"Catch the Moon" across open lawns,
would make circles with their arms,
holding them toward the sky to try
to capture that hard sugar button.

I believe, I believe in the medicinal
powers of the moon. Place all the impaired
naked on white blankets to moonbathe
in its healing balm.

No one anywhere would sleep
all night long on that night. And think
how happy you and I would be, lying
on the silver-gray grass, me kissing
your moon-kissed lips, you kissing
my moon-colored ear, and all of us
surrounded, every one of us—all bird
and lizard wings, spiny fish wings,
glass moth and bee wings, every cheetah
fang, siren and salmander eye, sickle
bill and sword bill, all coils
of fiddlehead ferns and wind-tattered
fronds, all grains of gorges, river
spumes and spittles, each slightest
snow flicker of the earth—all of us
together baptized and redeemed as one
in the wash and surf of that rare, now
so properly esteemed, marvelling light.
-- Pattiann Rogers