What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

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Sunday, 7 September 2008

report on the first Free From Power Day -By Robb

It went pretty well. There were a couple of oops moments when my instincts took over but for the most part I'm encouraged and have begun to plan October's Free From Power Day.

• For 24 hours I used no grid electricity, aside from 5 oops moments where I turned on a light without thinking which I quickly turned back off. Lighting was provided by a windup torch on loan from my friend Graeme.
• For 24 hours I used no fossil fuels of any kind; not to cook, heat, or drive.
• For 24 hours I turned on no taps for water aside from one oops moment when brushing my teeth. Toilet was flushed with rainwater. Hands were washed with rainwater. More about water below.
• For 24 hours I connected to no electronic media aside from listening to some classical music on a windup/solar radio. This was a big one for me as I usually spent alot of time on the computer, listening to mp3 player and even a few hours watching TV every day.
• For 24 hours I bought nothing, this was easy as I don't usually buy anything anyway.

Water - I collect rainwater for my garden and I was happy to use that to wash with but for drinking I did not prepare a purification method. Thus I drew water from the taps the night before for drinking. I made a flask of tea with the kettle and super insulated it overnight. This was my biggest failing as it meant I still consumed tap water and had used fossil fuel to make tea, just not on the day.

Food - For most of the day I did well. I ate English organic apples, though they had been purchased from a supermarket the week before, something I will try to remedy for next time. I foraged for berries and raw nettles on a 7 mile walk. I ate runner beans and tomatoes from my garden. My biggest failing was the bag of tortilla chips and salsa I ate in the evening. I did manage to never open the fridge during the day however.

I am going to devise a method for purifying rainwater and cooking via a biomass cooker, probably something like a Vita stove. It will have to be small and very smoke free for use in this urban jungle I live in. I will collect and dry fuel in advance.

I will source local organic non-corporate unpackaged food in advance. There is a farm within a 3 mile walk of my house to source free range eggs, I will try to gather/forage more in advance, I will locate a green grocer selling local veg.

If weather permits I will set out my portable solar hot water heater for washing.

What I did:
As mentioned I walked and foraged, I worked in the garden, I played scrabble with Jacqui, I finished reading Michael Pollan's "An Omnivore's Dilemma" and started his "In Defense of Food", I organized my thesis paperwork, I tidied our room, sorted out our gear closet and designated stuff to go to recycling and freecycle, I avoided the TV room.

I also spent some time thinking about this Free From Power Day. Traditionally most western cultures have practiced this sort of thing to some degree and called it the sabbath. I think we need to look at this practice and encourage people to take it up again. Imagine if every business closed; no-one would need to drive to shop or to work, no sporting events planned would mean people could spend time exercising instead of watching people exercise, time for cooking wholesome meals from quality ingredients, time for growing quality ingredients, time for spending with loved ones, time for studying, time for worship, time to slow down, to relax. Isn't that what a day of rest is all about?

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