Thursday, 9 September 2010
how to be good
I like a good documentary. I have been banging on about this one for a while and was finally given the opportunity to see it on a UK screen at the lovely Little. No Impact Man follows Colin Beavan and his family on a quest to live for a year without negatively impacting the environment, a process that aims to whittle down the bare essentials that we need for living a happy existence without creating problems for the planet. That means no buying anything new unless it's in a pre-owned condition, no transportation unless by foot or bicycle, no paper, no toilet paper, no coffee (a struggle for the No Impact Lady), cotton nappies for the little one, no electricity bar solar power, no take away food, no food that hasn't be locally sourced and organically produced...you get the idea. But there are things that you can do without abandoning toilet paper and harvesting worms in your apartment to compost your waste.
If you're lucky enough to live in and around Bath like I do, there is a fabulous weekly farmers market every Saturday at Green Park Station. You can bring your own bags and support the locals without buying cheap veg that's been flown in from overseas.
Cut out unnecessary packaging
This is a tough one, because there is little that you can buy that hasn't been wrapped in plastic and then put in a box. But as a starting point, you can buy cleaning products from health food shops which you can refill on your next visit when you've run out.
Compost your waste
The council reckons you can build your own composting bin with relative ease...but I'm not so confident. Apparently you can pick one up from your local garden centre and reduce up to 50% of your household waste.
Shop second hand
If you're fortunate enough to live somewhere that has good charity shops (sigh), there are lots of nice things other people don't want. Or, organise a swishing party (I so so want to do this. Ladies?)
Switch to fairtrade
Switch one of your household staples to Fairtrade (the Co-op's Fairtrade English Breakfast tea is rather nice. Not to mention the chocolate).
So far I can conclude that, for at least two days after watching this film, you will be trying to implement ecological living strategies in your own home. Yesterday I bought a jug and a bag of milk which promises to produce 75% less waste than the traditional plastic bottle. I am considering buying a composting bin and unearthing my bicycle from my dad's garage. (Really what I want is one of these cool people carrying bicycles, like the Beavans' have.)
Even if going green isn't for you, you should definitely give this film a watch, especially if, like me, you're a sucker for a feel-good reality-based indie film. If anything, it will make you want to live life outside more.