19 February 2010

Journal of a soul in transition

18th February 2010 - Eco Balls and Insulation
I switched my electricity supplier over to ‘Good Energy’ recently – they’re 100% renewable. I’ll be paying a bit more but it feels good to do it, so I’ll find a way to work it into my budget.
Ages ago I bought those Eco-balls to replace the use of washing powder.
I only tried them a couple of times and didn’t like them because they left the washing with no scent whatsoever. Then recently, I discovered Ecover fabric conditioner, though with Eco-balls you’re supposed to take them out of the drum before you use it. I’m a fairly practical person and if there’s too much fuss I can’t be bothered, so rightly or wrongly I leave the Eco-balls in and add the fab. conditioner on the last rinse. Washing powder is really expensive so I think in the long run, Eco-balls (the name of which reminds me of some kind of green super hero) ahem – will be a big saving!
On the subject of economics, My boyfriend, M, is a great believer in the importance of effective insulation – and I agree with him, it really does make good sense. My home is as draughty as anything, but fortunately for me I qualify for an insulation grant from Warm Front so that’ll be done over the next few months. It’ll be interesting to see what difference it makes to my HUGE gas bills! Oh, how I long for the day we can do away with gas and just have our own wood burner. I remember as a child, before central heating – the fireplace really was the hearth and heart of the home. No one would want to go to the cold kitchen to make a cuppa – don’t know why we didn’t just put the kettle on the fire! M told me about a Scandinavian company that build such well insulated homes, their in-house joke is ‘ if you’re in one of our homes and you’re cold, light a candle!’ That’s a level of insulation that would make a huge difference, not only for the conservation of resources, but for financial and environmental benefits as well.
I read in an F.O.E. book recently, ‘It’s not about doing without, it’s about doing more with less’. Personally I find that a comforting model to work with – it’s an opportunity to be creative, not feeling a constant need to increase and have more, but being amazed at how much I can do with what I already have – and feeling happier for it!
Time for a cuppa.....TBC

Switch on, switch off?!!

I find it’s very easy to feel that my efforts to live a more sustainable life are too small and insignificant to matter. This can make my path to greendom quite discouraging at times and so for the purpose of self encouragement, I decided to keep a simple journal of the ‘little’ things I have done, am doing and aim to do. To honour my bigness by honouring my smallness – if you see what I mean.

I first of all thought it good to look at my long-term goals in regard to my lifestyle and aspirations – they’re quite simple really – living in an environment where there is a strong sense of community. Not having to travel far to work and only working at most, three days a week. Supplementing my living costs by growing my own veg and trading services perhaps, instead of using money – anyone heard of the LETTS system? I dare say you’ll find it on the web somewhere. I plan to be living in a well insulated house to cut right down on energy use, and will only be using renewables for heating and cooking. I will not be producing any harmful waste! My job will be in some way related to the environment (I’m at college studying conservation right now), and I would like to be encouraging others to reconnect with the land and their community – particularly in a way that brings the generations together – our elders have so much to offer that goes to waste, and our young people with all their gadgets and baubles are in my view, like so many of us adults, so hardwired to an artificial lifestyle – it’s not surprising we see so much disruptive behavior and mental health problems. I realize I’m plugged in as much as anyone – I let my son play far too much xbox – so I can get on with my busy life. Oops, think I’ve slipped off the intended track – on with my mission!!

For some time now I have been recycling my waste, though it took me a number of years to get it together to find places to put my recyclables. It’s just a matter of making the effort, and then getting into the habit of rinsing things out. Don’t get me wrong – I still have off-days when everything goes in the bin, but it’s pretty established and for about a year or two now I’ve been using a compost bin, keeping a tub in the kitchen to carry outside. I remember when I couldn’t be bothered to go out in the cold, but now I keep my compost bin fairly close to the house so I don’t have that off-putting treck to the bottom of the garden. I’ve got longlife lightbulbs all over the house now. For a long while I believed it was more beneficial to leave the majority of them on, (which did somewhat peeve my boyfriend who had a different understanding.) now I’ve come to understand it’s best to turn them all off when not in use (even in places like the kitchen and hall). My acceptance of this pleases my boyfriend no end. (I never did consider smugness an attractive feature :-). I think it also suited me not to have to nag the children about turning the lights off after them, but they’re getting the hang of it…..sort of.


  1. Anyone living like that would have a right to feel pleased with their efforts I reckon, if only more people realized how possible it is to change their lives (without pain!)

  2. Nice blog - looking forward to more entries, and less xbox :)

  3. Sorry to tell you that Ecoballs are a complete con though... look them up on the internet. Just the same as using the washing machine without anything in it - doesn't do any harm, most of the time you probably don't really need washing powder (there's often soap residue in the washing machine anyway) - but unfortunately, they really are too good to be true - there is no science behind them at all, just gobbledegook. I'm amazed reputable places sell them in the UK, would have thought some sort of consumer protection ought to be in place...