Living green 

Living green 

We always advocate good environmental policies, either on a road trip or in the bush. But in many cases when at home in the city we forget about a green lifestyle.

We carry our waste out after a trip and then simply put it in the wheelie bin when we return home. So living a greener lifestyle is an important way to reduce our environmental footprint, carbon emissions and the number of pollutants released into the atmosphere.

A positive mindset at home will also improve how you act in the bush.

Small changes daily can make an impact, you will feel more positive. You can contribute to a greener future, conserve natural resources and be self-sufficient and more sustainable.

The first big step may not be affordable, one can explore the options of investing in solar given the current situation with load shedding that we are experiencing. Even if you start simply by installing a solar geyser and a single panel to operate it. It’s clean renewable energy and will reduce your electricity bill. A system from a reputable supplier will benefit you as well as the environment. Solar is clean energy. And is almost zero pollution.

Then another big step is to recycle, it reduces emissions, conserves resources and can save energy. It also reduces pressure on landfills which take up space. What can one do?

  • There are numerous depots where one can recycle glass and paper.
  • Donating stuff to charity shops also helps.
  • Look for second-hand books and pass them on afterwards.
  • Reuse plastic bags or keep bags in your car for use when you shop, this is even important when travelling.
  • Pick up litter in your street and recycle it. The same applies to a campsite and the bush.
  • Pick up litter on the beach, you will be amazed at how much you will find and how good you will feel.

Start small even if it is simply with glass and explore the opportunities. I have a service that provides bags which I put out every Friday. Generally, before they arrive the “waste pickers” also check the bags and remove prime items such as cardboard and paper – this generates income for them when they take it to a nearby facility. 

Consider packaging bearing in mind that certain materials can not be recycled – here I refer to styrofoam and certain plastics. Most glass can be recycled.

Organic waste from your garden or kitchen can be turned into compost. Over time it becomes nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser. And it’s good for your garden as it improves soil health. You can buy special bins, make a compost heap or simply use a spare “wheelie bin” which I do. I simply add some activators and soil to get great compost. It saves money and also means that I do not have to recycle plastic bags if I buy compost. It starts with a small bin in the kitchen which we empty regularly.

Insulation in your ceiling is also a great way to reduce your energy bills, it keeps heat in during winter and out during summer. This reduces the need for expensive heating or cooling. Checking the sealing of doors and windows is important as well. It makes life more comfortable. These principles also apply in the bush, be it at your campsite, chalet or even in your vehicle.

Then try to grow some produce, lettuce, carrots and tomatoes are relatively easy and fun to experiment with. As are potatoes.

When travelling try to buy organic produce that is locally grown, the farmer will benefit as will you. It just tastes better and has a reduced carbon footprint as it was not transported in a big refrigerated truck.

Then look at transport. Do you need two vehicles if four of you are travelling? Are there safe public transport options? Can you walk? Walking is healthy and good exercise. Many camps offer hiking and guided walking trails.

Lastly, look at having groceries delivered to your home it saves on fuel and wear and tear and reduces carbon emissions. When travelling pack your fridge and a cooler box, it means one less trip to a grocery store and is more relaxing. If the facility you are staying at has a small shop then support it. It beats having to drive around.

Start small and experiment, whether at home or outdoors and see how you can reduce your carbon footprint. It’s satisfying in the long run. And the environment will benefit. Urban landscapes and the outdoors will be cleaner.

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