This week I had a very lovely chat with Paul and Lyn Thurman for their Quiet Rebel Bureau podcast.
One of the things we chatted about was saving the planet (nothing small or easy to do!).
As Pagans, are we more concerned about the state of the planet? Can we do more?
I suspect that being as in touch with nature as we are, we perhaps feel it very strongly – humans have infested planet Earth and done as much as we possibly can to destroy her. Mother Nature is suffering.
So, what can we do?
My answer to that question is – as much or as little as you are able to. Even tiny baby steps towards helping out are important. Very few people have the resources or the bank balance to make a huge change in lifestyle, but we can make smaller changes.
I am a working wife and mother that has to feed three teenagers, my food bill is huge so I am restricted to how much I can do with that. In an ideal world I would love to purchase all organic meat, but my budget just doesn’t stretch that far, but I do try and stick with free range. I don’t have a local greengrocer, but I do have a vegetable box delivery service that is not far away, and they deliver big boxes of fabulous fruit and veg every week that has been grown locally. There is also no plastic involved and the boxes are reused. When I cook, I try to use up leftovers as much as possible, my mum did it with her cooking when we were kids – roast dinner on a Sunday, cold meat and potatoes on the Monday and rissoles made with the last bits on the Tuesday. One joint of meat lasted us three days! We don’t seem to think like that so much these days, everything is disposable, and we waste so much food it is criminal.
Herbs and plants
And for pagans that use herbs and plants for magical purpose, think about where they are sourced from. I grow as much as I can in my garden. I don’t order exotic and unusual ingredients that have to be shipped across the globe. Not only is that costly to me, but also to the environment. Smudging your home or working magic with herbs from a different continent surely cannot be as good as something you have grown in your own garden or that has been sourced locally? For me, it is all about connections – connections to the land that you live on and the area local to you. My magical ingredients come from my garden or my kitchen cupboard and as much as possible, locally sourced. Obviously, there are some things that don’t grow in a suburban garden in the UK, cinnamon for instance is a personal favourite, but I am not about to grow a cinnamon tree in my tiny city garden! I must be realistic and can only do as much as I feasibly can. But every little helps.
My council has a recycling scheme although they are a bit selective with what they take. We also pay a little each month to have a compost bin collection, for all our garden and kitchen waste.
Household plasticRecently I have looked at the amount of plastic we use in the house. Small changes have been made; shampoo bottles are being phased out and replaced with shampoo bars, which I actually love! Good old-fashioned bars of soap and natural body scrubs (in recyclable pots) in place of shower gel (all made with natural ingredients by a lady I discovered at a Pagan festival, Bewitched Botanicals. They also make bath bombs and the most gorgeous moisturiser). Hand pump soaps at the sink are now soap dishes with handmade soap bars in. Small changes, that don’t cost the world but will make a difference.
This week we discovered our washing up bowl had a crack in. Ah, I will replace that…and then I realised it was a huge lump of plastic that would be thrown into the world rubbish tip. My next thought was “why do we need a plastic washing up bowl when we have a perfectly good stainless steel sink underneath it with a plug!” … So, I won’t be replacing that.
I love clothes…but the majority of mine come from charity shops or eBay. I love buying second hand because you get interesting finds that are much cheaper and help the environment.
My garden is tiny, but I cram as many bee, bird and insect friendly plants in as I can. I also provide bird seed and water for both the birds and the bees. In the summer months the noise of the bees is deafening!
Our car boot is full of long-life shopping bags that we use each time we do a supermarket shop. When I go out on a short trip, I take my wicker basket (much to the embarrassment of my youngest child…). I also take a fold up tote bag as well. All little gestures, but ones that mean I don’t have to purchase plastic carrier bags in the shops.
With a household of five, I do a laundry load pretty much every day. It is frightening how much laundry detergent goes down the drain and into the water system. I have experimented with other options – soap nuts worked well at first, but after a few weeks the washing didn’t seem to be as clean as I would like. I am looking into other options. During the dry days I hang the washing on the line, but during wet and wintery days I do use the tumble dryer. I have to, otherwise I just can’t get through all the laundry. However, I stopped using tumble dryer sheets a while ago. I tested wool tumble dryer balls, but I didn’t get on with them. Now I use reusable energy saving tumble dryer balls – and they are brilliant. No need for tumble dryer sheets and they shorten the drying time.
We also have a lot of washing up and we were getting through a washing up sponge a week, that’s 52 plastic sponges a year going into landfill or the ocean. So, I researched…and now we have reusable dish clothes that can be thrown in the washing machine each week and last forever without being replaced. I also sourced a wooden natural fibre washing up brush.
Just do it
Individually each of these is a small step, a little change that costs nothing or very little. But add it all up and it comes to quite an impressive list. We probably all do more than we think. Just make small changes, even if you only do one thing it will help.
We are all in this together, and together we can make a difference.