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.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Rest in Peace my good friend, the Organic Guru, Richard Clare.

summitting Mt. Compost

When I decided to do my masters thesis on urban agriculture in the city of Sheffield UK, the most obvious source of information, according to everyone I asked, was Richard Clare. Over the succeeding months Richard spent many hours teaching me about the history of urban ag in the city as well as planting within me, a non gardener, the seeds of a food growing lifestyle. Every time I visited Sheffield I called Richard up and he always made time to hang out with me but on his terms, while visiting and working on the variety of urban ag projects he was involved with. My favorite and most valuable lesson? He taught me how to properly plant fruit trees.
Well, no more, my dear friend Richard has died.
what can I say........Richard.

On the allotment with my nephew Will

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

co-housing or bust

scrabble and tea break
RO filter goes into the new cabinets
Another busy month at the Sustainable Living Project. We finally have most of the work downstairs in the main living space completed and have started the renovations upstairs. We have decided to incorporate co-housing into our lifestyle as another step towards increasing the sustainability of the project. As we are not a part of a co-housing community, we can at the very least take on the benefits of sharing our space, inside and out, to make more efficient use of the resources at hand. Our co-housing partner will have the upstairs space to herself with full access to the kitchen and common rooms downstairs.
Since we moved in, the house has seemed bigger than our needs justify. We became used to living in 400 sq ft of space when we were on the boat and then with my mother-in-law in a small terraced house in England. The two of us in a house with almost 1600 sq ft of living space is questionable when considered through the lens of sustainability.
Most urban planners agree that increasing density increases efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint of housing. This step also holds other benefits: our co-housing partner will be able to look after the house and gardens while we are away; she can share in the benefits of living in a low energy house; also, she will be enjoying a share of the produce from the garden. The rent she pays will help us defray the costs the project incurs, while overall her expenses should be lower. 
Meanwhile we are nearing the limits of our resources to renovate, financial as well as personal. I've heard it said that no marriage can survive more than a year of renovations and we are nearing 3 years if you count the gardens, which we worked on first. I think we have done well but it has been a strain at times. It is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are very happy with the results.