What We Do button (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

An Organic List of Little Changes We All Can Make to Make our Children’s Future Happier and Healthier

Updated September 2014

(read also “Manifest“)

(and read about our Riot for Austerity and Transition Wayland)

  • Resilience and adaptability

Peak oil / climate change / (good) food scarcity / economic uncertainty are already here. A lot of what I do, I do to be prepared and out of the principle of not taking more than we need (and constantly questioning what is is that we truly need). Our preparing is not in the head-for-the-hills survivalist manner, but in the sense of adapting by weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, excessive consumer goods, unhealthy and unsustainably grown food and other unsustainable practices.

  • Community: Transition Initiative

Such efforts cannot remain within the household level. So in April 2011 I started a Transition Initiative here in my town. Find out more from the Transition Wayland website.

In October 2010 I joined the local Green Team, a Task Force to green our schools. Check out that website to see what our vibrant group is up to.

One needs to walk the talk, so on the household level we do the following:

  • Our Food Matters
  1. we grow as much food as we can (2014 = 6th year gardening)
  2. we eat in season (e.g., we don’t buy tomatoes in winter)
  3. we keep bees for pollination and honey (2014 = 6th year, 2-3 hives)
  4. we have a largish flock of beloved hens for eggs
  5. we eat very little meat and fish, and when we do we buy locally and sustainably raised – and savor it
  6. we buy locally grown foods at the local Farmer’s Market and have a weekly, all-year-round farm share from the next town over
  7. we put up as much as we can of the season’s local crop for the winter by canning, dehydrating and freezing
  8. we use only natural gardening practices in our garden and import no fertilizers or soil – we grow soil first , and compost
  9. we grow a winter harvest in our hoop house
  • We Save on Energy
  1. we do the Riot for Austerity
  2. in winter we set the thermostat at 59 F
  3. most of our heat comes from a super efficient wood stove and wood harvested on our own property (oil is our backup – no gas line)
  4. we have a fully insulated house and super efficient oil burner
  5. we don’t have AC
  6. when doing dishes and laundry, we use the lowest temperature necessary – usually that’s cold
  7. we use a tea-cosy and wear sweaters (it can be that simple)
  8. we hang laundry out to dry
  9. we use an electric lawnmower and…
  10. our electricity is sunshine, harvested on our roof (new in 2011)
  11. also our warm water is solar heated
  1. we only run the dishwasher when it’s full
  2. when brushing teeth or washing our hands, we don’t run the tap
  3. we shower less and take short showers
  4. we water the garden exclusively with rainwater from our 275 gallon IBC barrels
  • We Reduce-Reuse-Recycle
  1. we compost kitchen scraps (everything: meat, oil, bead, you name it), grass clippings (from friends and neighbors, we don’t have a lawn) and fall leaves (got lots of those year round!) (compost facts)
  2. we recycle even the smallest piece of paper, the tiniest plastic cup or lid; so far we have reduced our trash to one small shopping bag a week
  3. we Freecycle and set up exchanges with friends, especially for baby/children’s clothes, toys and books
  4. we use no paper napkins/towels at home (we use a cloth wipe) and only the minimum at restaurants
  5. we bring own reusable cups to coffee shops and work
  6. we wash out ziploc bags and baggies and reuse them
  7. we call up junkmail/catalog companies and request being taken off their mailing lists (it works: most will).
  • We Decrease Pollution
  1. paper or plastic? Neither, thanks! We bring own canvas bag to shop, they’re stronger and much more stylish anyway (amusing/disconcerting article on the topic)
  2. we don’t buy bottled water, EVER (according to the Whole Foods “The Whole Earth Weigh-In” pamphlet, “80% of the 25 billion single-serving plastic water bottles Americans use each year end up in landfills.”)
  3. when buying something, we consider its packaging (lots of nonrecyclable plastic? No thanks!)
  4. we say no to paper, styrofoam or plastic cups (we bring own mug)
  • Healthy Living
  1. I have started on the path of learning about herbal medicine
  2. I grow a of medicinals in the garden
  3. I make teas, decoctions, syrups and tinctures ( read more here for my take on herbal medicine)
  4. Spiritually, too, I’ve only just begun. I am not religious but believe strongly in the principle of kindness. I am a scholar in Stephen Jenkinson’s Orphan Wisdom School, were I am an elder-in-training.

You can leave a comment here.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *