Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

In its inaugural year, Blog Action Day will be co-ordinating bloggers to tackle the issue of the environment.

So here's my post possums...

If I was to classify myself I'd probably say I'm a pragmatic greenie. I am concerned about sustainability, conservation and the impact human beings have on the environment. I can't say I have all the answers though! But I do believe we've been given stewardship of the earth so it behoves me to try and be a good steward. That doesn't mean I have to wear a kaftan and meditate in my backyard naked.

I can make some lifestyle choices that reduce my ecological footprint though.

Actually I wasn't sure what to post so I decided to interview myself using the questions the Herald uses to grill various "famous" people.

What are you doing personally to make a difference?

I try to reduce the amount of waste our household produces. To this end I compost all our vegetable waste, lawn clippings, hedge clippings and other bits and pieces (e.g. contents of my hair brush). We recycle through the local council's recycling initiatives (paper, plastic, glass, cans, tins etc).

I use cloth nappies (diapers) on DD almost exclusively. I do admit to putting her in disposables at night though - that means I don't have to wake her up totally by changing her. Any mum who has kids who don't sleep through will understand how maintaining every precious skerrick of sleep is to me!

I personally use a Mooncup instead of disposable sanitary products. It can be purchased in New Zealand from Embrace. Viva recently reviewed menstrual cups and their verdict was "Eeeuuw!" My reaction to the reviewers would be an eye roll and a "Get over it!" comment. I find the thought of putting sanitary product waste into landfills more disgusting than emptying the Mooncup. I suppose rabid followers of Viva fashion, who happily spend NZ$500 on a pair of shoes might struggle a bit with the idea of their own humanity. Admittedly, if you are nervous about touching your girl bits you might find it weird but hey - this is the enlightened age isn't it? No more bathing in your nightie, embrace your womanhood, know your ... uh ... fanny and all that.

I try to use reusable bags.

I also try to buy local produce and mostly seasonal stuff (although tomatoes and bananas are a weakness of mine). I'd love to buy organic food exclusively but we can't afford to do this all the time. I like to use "eco" cleaning products too e.g laundry powder, dishwasher powder, washing up liquid etc. Eco-store has some really nice stuff that works and it lasts for ages.

We're growing some of our own veges and fruit and we try to do this in the most "green" way we can. One of my favourite organic garden products is Neem which helps to protect my tomatoes etc from sucking bugs and some soil pests. I do some companion planting to confuse the baddies and attract the goodies. My simple method for dealing with aphids is *don't read this if you're Bhuddist* to use the old manual-squish-and-squirt procedure. That is squish the infestation and squirt it with the hose at high pressure. That's why my gardening gloves have green fingers! ;-) Alternatively, a strong infusion of chillies and garlic sprayed onto the plant works not too badly either. Unfortunately, I've yet to find a good solution to the slug/snail issue. Apart from ducks/chooks of course. But living in suburbia, they would bring their own problems.

I try to walk to get errands done - or at least combine trips so that I use the car less. Online banking etc has made this so much easier.

Simple things like picking up rubbish when I go to a beach makes me feel like I'm helping.

What more could you do?

If I could afford it I'd do a lot more in terms of my purchasing power. Eat organic/sustainable food, buy organic/sustainable products, avoid products made out of the Australasia area, buy organic cotton clothes and so on.

I would like to bike/walk more and avoid using my car. I used to bike to work and really enjoyed it. DS loved sitting in his Wee Ride seat - he even went to sleep in it. Perhaps if I got some panniers I could use my bike more often to do some basic shopping trips. Once DS can ride his own 2-wheeler I will be able to get one of those Trail-Gator things.

I would like to be more energy efficient. If we could afford to install it, I would like to use things like solar heating and roof run off for grey water. If we ever built a new house I would seriously consider such a thing.

I would like to be able to afford to donate to conservation efforts for NZ native animals, plants and habitats.

What is your biggest environmental sin?

Probably my car. *sigh*

Living at the bottom of the world means we import a lot of things too, and I do think it a real shame that some of the big NZ firms are out sourcing their factories to Asia. I wish NZ could grow cocoa beans and coffee beans... avoiding the food miles there.

Global warming: true or false?
I think it is true that our climate is changing. What I find confusing and cannot decide on is whether this is part of a natural cycle or if humans are the sole cause. I do think humans can influence the climate though, and through choices about our lifestyles I think we could learn to live within the bounds of our environment.

Hope this doesn't sound preachy or pompous... these are just my choices that have worked for me with very little to no inconvenience to my life. As for my death - I think one of these would be good.


  1. Sounds like you're doing lots of good things for the environment, Penny! Much more than me, that's for sure. I am ashamed to say that I use disposable nappies and I drive my car way too much. But a lot of that comes down to being convenient and quick, and I tell myself I'm too busy to try other ways. I guess that's a cop out. I'd never heard of the Mooncup until I read your post and clicked on the link. It does seem a little weird at first, but then as you keep reading, it makes a lot of sense. Could be worth trying ...

  2. Funny you should mention the mooncup, I just recently bought myself one! Haven't had the opportunity to use it yet, though. Do you find it easy to use? (Did it take you a while to get used to it?)

    I also got myself some cloth pads while I was at it.

    Good post, I was just thinking I need a good meme to write to... :)

  3. Wow, you are doing heaps. More than most!

    We're doing the compost, garden thing and LOVING it. Plus like you I try and walk places (yes, even with three kids), and combining trips in the car.

    Unfortunately with twins I just couldn't bear the thought of cloth nappies. Sigh. So that's my huge weakness!

    Loved your post.

  4. Well done Penny, we also compost, recycle and re-use but you do a lot more than we do. I also used cloth nappies when mine were babies and with only 16 months apart, there were lots of nappies!

  5. compared to you I don't do much. I walk or catch the bus. We have a Prius. Turn lights off as we leave a room. recycle (I so want to compost and cut down on our food wasteage). But know that we could do more. Wow, that mooncup sounds really interesting. I am so over paying huge amounts every month to buy products.

  6. Good for you Penny. I am only making baby steps. Luckily I am past the nappy stage so no longer need to feel guilty about my choice to use disposables. The mooncup sounds interesting (and no less gross than the alternative frankly). I must confess I suck on the gardening front. I have tried but I am just not a gardener. We have planted plenty of natives though and our messy garden is teeming with native lizards so I figure that maybe that is something good. I am looking to do more though.

  7. Wow Penny you're so switched on! Baby steps for me too. We do the recycle thing and I'm just sourcing some options or composting.

  8. cool interview with yourself, miss penny. :)
    i keep saying i'm going to get a diva cup or some such thing whenever my cycles return. glad you like yours.