HOW BIG IS YOUR FOOTPRINT?

I am a greenie.  I believe that we should keep our impact on the environment to a minimum and try to give back to it as much as possible. This stems from my deep love for nature, animals and the knowledge that part of our purpose here on earth is to look after mother nature.

I will share with you a few things you can do to reduce your footprint without it being a really big deal.

At home we recycle as much as possible and we are privileged in our town that our municipality does provide us with “blue bags” in which we can put our recyclable goods.  I would like to believe that everybody makes use of them.  (The only drawback is that I am never sure if the company that fetches our recyclable goods really recycle everything properly.)  There is so many innovative ideas out there for using recycled goods and I think South Africa still has a long way to go in utilizing these.  It could probably also be a wonderful way to create new jobs.

Besides us having the “blue bag” system at home, I also have my own wonderful recyclers in the form of my “Can-O-Worms”.  All my vegetable peels go to my worms.  They, however, do not like onion peels, chilli’s or garlic leftovers. Those items I use for a natural insecticide for my garden – just add hot water and let it stand for a good couple of days – strain and spray but be warned the smell also repels humans.  I love my worms (which probably sounds a bit funny). Not only do they turn my kitchen fallout into wonderful compost for my garden, they also extract all the goodness, turn it into a “tea” that you can also spray on your plants or use as liquid fertilizer for your plants.  And believe me, all plants love it.  The worm box amazingly has no smell and you can therefore keep it quite close to your kitchen door for convenience.

As you might also have deduced I do not make use of any poisoned sprays in my garden and rather try and combat insects either with my natural spray or with good old-fashioned handiwork (plucking them from my plants and squishing them).  It is of course impossible to win with everything and I have long ago decided to  plant enough and let the insects have their share. After all, they form part of the food chain.

For the other garden rubbish and kitchen fallout I have a compost heap.  This takes quite a bit longer than the worms, but if you plan it properly and keep it going, it can also add to feeding your garden.

As far as possible I try and use products that are not harmful to animals or the environment.  We installed two rain tanks some time ago and have connected our whole house to it.  If we get enough rain, we can run our whole house on rainwater for a good couple of months. The severe drought we had a couple of years also drove home how precious water is and it is therefore used sparingly even when there is lots of rain.

We have changed  all our lightbulbs to energy savers and have a solar geyser.

Whenever we go into nature or go camping, we always make sure that we leave the place the same as how we found it and we take all our rubbish with us to a proper dumping ground.  The only thing I take is pictures and the only things we leave are our actual footprints.

Still I feel that all these things are not nearly enough to make a considerable difference.  There is still so much more that we can do.  I am trying to cultivate a habit of walking / cycling to work at least once a week (the aim is to increase it once I’ve settled in the habit).  In winter I must admit, it is not the nicest thing to do but it is something I want to challenge myself with more.  Every time I don’t use my vehicle, I am saving the environment a little bit.

What change can you make to reduce your footprint and help save our environment.  What will  you challenge yourself with this year?

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