February 13

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on

Recognising how much we take from the earth and don’t give back

Today I ‘left no footprint’ and for the first time in my life gave back to the earth more than I took out of it! I knew in advance it was going to be a rare sunny day, and I didn’t have to work, so today I tried something I’ve always fantasised about, but never actually done.

For a 24-hour period I used no electricity, used tank water, ate only home/Blackheath Community Farm-grown food, used no purchased products (like makeup, face cream, soap, tissues or toothpaste), only rode my bike to the Farm, only cooked using my Sun Oven, produced no waste and planted more food than I consumed.

I only used a pre-charged phone to take photos for this blog and didn’t recharge it during the day.

I didn’t go near the computer all day until now to write this blog (after a day ‘unplugged’).

What did I learn?

So much …. I learnt greater empathy for those who don’t have enough to eat; who don’t have access to showers; who can’t afford, or can’t access power.

I learnt how automatically I just use all these things without thinking about them. I learnt how hard life is without coffee.

I learnt that I have to plant lots more potatoes, lemons, parsley and spring onions and food that doesn’t need cooking.

I learnt that we are just soooo dependent on the sun.

I learnt that life exists away from the computer.

And I really really wished we could grow coffee.

Breakfast was easy!

Even though I was feeling tired without my coffee, it was fun to go outside and pick breakfast … cumquats, strawberries (cultivated and wild), one green hazelnut, plums, spearmint, fennel and nasturtium flowers. It was a fresh and lovely start to the day.

Sun Oven

Lunch required more effort

Before I left for Blackheath Community Farm I put a pot of water in the Sun Oven with freshly harvested purple congo potatoes. While I was at the Farm, and when the water reached a rolling boil, my husband added four eggs for me. It meant I had potatoes and eggs for lunch and dinner.

At the farm I snacked on some lettuce and an apple I spotted on the tree there.

After I got home from the Farm I made a delicious salad with Farm lettuces, boiled eggs and potatoes, spring onions, chives, garlic chives, parsley and lemon juice.

Dinner stopped the hunger but wasn’t cooked enough because it was too late for the Sun Oven to generate enough heat

I spent a little too long at the Farm because I weeded a bed and put in a crop of potatoes, then planted radish seeds, to make sure I was returning more to the earth than I was consuming.

By the time I got home and ate lunch (I was ravenous!) the sun wasn’t high enough in the sky to give me a rolling boil to cook dinner. I managed a lukewarm lemon verbena tea and I was grateful that I could throw my cooked potatoes and eggs into the half-cooked ‘soup’ of silverbeet, beans, green tomatoes, onions, zucchini, chilli, parsley, lemon juice.

For dessert I had apple, strawberries and cumquats.

The day revolved around the sun

The light finally disappeared around 8pm. I was grateful for a solar light so I could read a very inspiring book: The Politics of Waking Up: Power and possibility in the fractal age by Indra Adnan. A book I wouldn’t have read had I spent the day on the computer.

I’m glad I’m fortunate enough to go back to having coffee and eating more tomorrow but I’m also glad that I made one permanent change as a result of today. I’ve been using the toilet near my bedroom but today I changed toilets to use the one at the back of the house that’s linked to our water tank. With the amount of rain we keep getting it makes so much more sense!

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