Tuesday, 15 May 2012

My Butt Hurts

I guess that's what you get when you cycle to work two days in a row after weeks (OK, months) of relative inactivity.  An extra 15 kilos on the bike for part of the journey certainly adds to the workout too!  Excellent - not only am I living greener, I'm burning buttfat as well - yay me!  Mr Neats picked his bike up from the shop last night, so he's biking today as well.  Unfortunately for everyone in this family really cold miserable weather is forecast later today so we may be biking home in the snow!

One of my personal goals for this week of living green was to buy less, so last night I set about making some lunches for the next few days.  (after Mr Neats had cooked us a huge dinner so we could freeze half for later - reheating uses less energy than cooking).  In my cupboards I found some tins of creamed corn and bread, in the fridge were some ham chunks and in the freezer was a lonely sheet of pastry.  With the addition of some free range eggs from the in-laws chickens, I made a batch of mini pies (and a big pie for Mr Neats) that actually turned out OK (those who know me are aware of my shortfalls in the kitchen - I love baking, but am not much chop as a cook).

Mr 2 was pretty happy to pop one in his lunchbox this morning.

While cooking I pondered the energy used in doing so.  When we started this challenge, someone suggested that we do all our cooking on the BBQ to save electricity.  While that would certainly help my meter reading at the end of the challenge to be lower, using gas would be burning fossil fuel so I was a bit confused.

It is better to use gas to cook at home than use electricity generated by burning fossil fuel.  This is because some of the energy is lost through transmission from the power station to your home.  However, most of our electricity in NZ is produced from renewable sources such as hydro schemes and wind farms, so where does that leave us? I decided to use electricity to cook all week, but it's something I'll be doing more research on for sure!

While I was in the kitchen, I thought I'd try some of Wendyl's recipes for cleaning products (you can find them on her website).  I made up some spray cleaner and some hand dishwash liquid which both seemed to work well and smell great!  I'm going to make some laundry liquid too, but just have to wait for my Borax to arrive (I bought it off TradeMe as it was HEAPS cheaper than from the chemist).

This did require a wee bit of shopping during the day for ingredients, and a happy discovery for me - Binn Inn!  I got that enormous container of baking soda for only a couple of dollars, as well as a big jar of glycerine and some neem powder (which I'm going to try for it's medicinal and skincare properties).  You can have your own container filled and a lot of the products work out much cheaper than buying at the supermarket too.  And it's walking distance from my work.  I also checked out our local organic shop, Cornucopia.  I'm tempted to try soap nuts for the laundry and there are all sorts of other wonderful products there too (and a fabulous cafe!).

All this mixing and making made me think a bit more about our shopping habits.  We always try to buy locally produced food, in season.  This means less carbon has been produced in both it's production (heating greenhouses to grow tomatoes in winter etc) and it's transport.  We do usually have bananas in the house, but this week have gone banana free (actually, the banana industry has a lot going on behind the scenes - for an interesting read on this and all sorts of other products we use in our daily lives, I highly recommend reading Confessions of an Eco Sinner - it's written in a way that will make you think, but won't depress you too much).  We also try to support local business - you can't have a healthy environment without a healthy economy and a healthy community, I truly believe the three are dependant on each other and we need ALL to live well.  Some deep thinking going on without the telly!

I have to admit that the house is a bit too quiet without the TV on in the background, so we have been listening to the radio (uses less power at least!), but of course it's only been More FM!

Today's hints:
Shop well - buy local and in bulk, with less packaging and transport involved.  Maybe you could start a collective - swap some of your homegrown veges for eggs from a friend's chooks.
Take packed lunches - in reusable containers not plastic wrap.  If you can't take your own, buy without packaging - I take my own container to get sushi, subway or bakery food and they are all very happy to use it instead of theirs.
Try making your own cleaners - it's fun, cheap and easy!  Wendyl also has ideas for cosmetics and lots more, and I'm sure a hunt around the net would yield lots more great sites.
Think and read about your impact - be aware and try to improve where you can.  But don't beat yourself up too much, if we all do a little it will make a big difference.

1 comment:

  1. The ride home WAS cold and wet, and poor Mr Neats got a puncture half way (thanks roadworks!). At least when the roadworks are done there will be alovely new cycle/walkway from Havelock North to Hastings!