A while back I put up a poll asking readers what was more important to them. The results were as follows:
Shopping Locally - 28% Using Car Less - 34% Cooking From Scratch - 35% Green Cleaning - 23% Growing Own Produce - 35% Reusing & Recycling - 44% Other - 1%
Of the 67 of you that answered, 44% of you thought reusing and recycling were the most important. I can’t tell you how many people that was as everybody could make multiple choices but I don’t suppose anybody’s surprised by that result. Reusing and recycling are easy things we can all do in our daily lives to help improve the chances of this planet sustaining life as we know it, if not forever (nothing’s forever) but at least for a while yet. A while, in universal terms, being a good few generations. I’m kind of hoping that my descendents will be able to celebrate the turn of another millennium, but maybe that’s too much to ask for. Still, reusing and recycling stuff instead of just tossing it on the landfill does and will make a difference but there’s still a long way to go. I still need to sort out my bin cupboard so that I can recycle more than I do at the moment and it’s really important that ONLY recyclable stuff goes in the recycling bins. If it’s contaminated, it can quite easily end up on a mountainous landfill in India. Just take a look at this post by Indian Earth for more on this. It’s really quite shocking.
Cooking from scratch was right up there alongside recycling so it’s clear that more people want to know exactly what’s going into their food these days. Or is it just that the blog attracts those who like good food and know how to prepare it? Perhaps a mix of both. I still see plenty of people filling their supermarkets trolleys with rubbish but a few of my friends who have never taken the time to learn to cook before have actually starting making an effort these days so the message is obviously spreading. I still use the odd packet sauce and have some tins and things in the cupboard for days when I simply can’t make a meal (when my energy is rock bottom) but in general our food is made from scratch and not only is it healthier that way, it’s cheaper too.
Related to cooking is growing your own produce, another one that was right at the top with 35%. I can’t say that comes as any surprise - allotments have flown out of the door around these parts and even a friend who I would never have thought would bother with anything even remotely related to growing vegetables asked me whether it’s possible to grow them in pots as he’d been thinking about giving it a go. I have to admit that, apart from herbs, I haven’t grown anything edible for years, but that’s going to change. I’m getting stronger all the time so all I need now is somebody to make a least part of my garden maintainable and I’ll be out there with my gardening gloves and watering can next year.
It’s good to see that using the car less is considered important with 34% of you. Y’know, I think I’ve even noticed that there aren’t quite as many cars on the roads around town these days. Whether that’s because of people’s ethical choices or because of the price of fuel at the moment I really don’t know but whatever it is, it’s a good thing. Now we just need to get through to those driving their whopping great 4x4s for no apparent reason.
I’d have thought, with so many cooking from scratch and growing their own, that more than 28% would have found shopping locally important, but obviously not. Perhaps some of you just don’t have any local shops that are easily accessible or that the choice just isn’t good enough to make the trek worthwhile. I know I have trouble finding everything I need in local shops and often have to weigh up the environmental cost of using the car to get to the farm shops against nipping to the supermarket but I do prefer to support local producers and retailers whenever I can. Even at the supermarket I look for UK produce and the closer to home the better. Asda are at least good at labelling their fruit and veg with not only the country of origin but, if it’s UK produced, the area. I also try to stick with seasonal produce because even though I can get most things all year round now, I don’t want to support the forced production of food in greenhouses that use huge amounts of energy.
I’m not perfect though, and yesterday I bought strawberries. Yes, strawberries in October! Only because LM is really fussy and won’t eat any other fruit than strawberries, raspberries and blueberries though and I really do want to get as much fruit and veg into her as I can.
What really surprised me was that so few found green cleaning important. Only 23%. In several posts I’ve written about the damage that chemicals do to the water, the creatures that live in it, the environment as a whole, not to mention what it does to us but still it’s right down at the bottom of the list. I really don’t understand that because green cleaning isn’t difficult, in fact it’s easier than using the plethora of cleaning agents that can be found under the sink in most homes. Just a few products will do most jobs around the house without polluting the planet. If you're interested in reading what I've already written, you can look here and here and here. Maybe I should write more about this.