Monday, March 30, 2009

What did you do while the lights were out?

Hello folks, what's all this then, two posts in as many weeks. Perhaps spring has sprung and I am getting all enthusiastic again.

So, before I get on to the next challenge (and it is a good one this week... I really want to hear how you get on!!!) I thought I would let you know how I have been getting on.

Saturday night was Earth Aware night which, thankfully, tied in perfectly with the end of the Enland game. What a great idea! Switch your lights off (and everything else) for an hour. The silence was great and I am sure many people got up to plenty of interesting things while the lights were out. I definitely had my own ideas, but my wife quickly put an end to those, so our first half hour was spent trying to search for our escaped kittens (who are both the colour of dusk, making them a bit mean, but not that scary really), who had decided to take the opportunity to explore the neighbours gardens and a party going on nearby and generally be pesky. The rest of the time was spent having a beautiful candlelit dinner (all prepared while I was out watching football, I am a lucky boy) all made from leftovers I might add. It was really fun actually, and for someone who can't spend 10 minutes without the stereo on, it was surprising just how beautiful the sound of silence was. Ok, when I say silence, I really mean relative quiet while at the end of the road it sounded like downtown Baghdad with all the sirens going off. But it was still kind of tuneful.

Now, I have definitely come to the conclusion that I am not very good at being environmentally friendly. Everything I do seems to involve a new stumbling block on the path to saving the planet. But I am definitely trying to be better, so with this in mind, as you probably remember (or if you don't, it is just down the page) the simple idea for the last few weeks was to cut down on waste. I would like to think I was quite successful too. I certainly cut down my extra trips to the supermarket and I can't remember buying any cheap meat... (have I mentioned before that I can't resist buying any half price food? I have a freezer full of stuff that I may never eat, but more about that later...)

So to start out I thought the best way to get rid of all the food in the fridge would be to invite some friends round for a barbeque, the sun was sort of out, or at least, as much is it comes out in Belgium so my reasoning was I could fob off last years supply of sausages and cheap meats on my unsuspecting friends, masking the freezer burn and antique price labels with marinades and general burntness.

In fact it was a great succes, largely down to a friends incredible ability to eat more sausages than I believed possible. On the downside, as usual we made far too much, so I lived on leftovers for a good few days.

Then I started looking at the other stuff in the fridge. Most of it was good and I felt like I was in an episode of Ready Steady Cook most evenings being challenged to whip up something exciting from the things that had been festering in the fridge for longer than they maybe should (although the thought of having Ainslie round every day would have been more than I could cope with). Most of it was a success, but I might not make beansprouts in custard again... Luckily my wife eats like a horse and we scoffed the lot! (No really, she eats like a horse, I have tried to get her to use plates, but she just prefers the bag hooked round her ears...)

So, all in all I think it was a success, but it raised more questions than answers. Waste is a problem simply because we produce too much but have little way of getting rid of it. This weekend I looked into getting a composter for the garden as we are lucky enough to have one. Of course not everyone does when you live in the city, but even then, the smallest one we could find would take up half our garden!

So what to do? I think perhaps this is where we need to look at an environmental community. Shops don't really sell food in single person portions (unless you are a lard arse like me and can eat for 3) so we are often left with food going to waste. So I want to start promoting a shopping share idea. But I need to think about how that might work first. Perhaps the easiest way is to invite your friends over for dinner more, then get invited back. I dunno, please send me your thoughts on how this might work?

And so finally on to this weeks challenge, and it is a good one... Back to waste and back to water... I think we have all seen the stories and pictures telling us how, for many people accross the globe, water is very much a luxury item and yet we happily waste it all the time. I read somewhere that even in England, the water system is so bad that there is real danger of it running out! So, just to make us think of just how much water we use, here is the challenge...

For one day I want you to see if you can survive a whole day on 2 buckets of water. One for washing, toilets and stuff and one for cooking and drinking*. It sounds abominal, but this is what people have to deal with their entire lives. Perhaps we might be a bit less wastefull when we realise just how precious water actually is...

* I am not sure whether you can supplement your bucket for drinking with wine or beer

And finally, I am nearly ready with the free gifts I am going to give you all. Sign up as a follower of this blog or let me know if you want one!


Dad said...

Hmmm. I want the free present but not if its the cats!!!

Toby Godman said...

You might be disappointed then...

paul said...

Can my free gift be limitless water for life because I'm allergic to cats?
Paul Morris