Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Some things one might do to live more lightly on the planet...

I want to share four things that I or my family do that you might consider - perhaps you're doing some or all of them. Here they are:
  1. I hardly ever wash my hair.
  2. We don't have a dryer.
  3. I've been on two clothing fasts.
  4. We are part of a CSA (community supported agriculture - shares in a farm where we get a box of vegies a week)

I hardly ever wash my hair:
It struck me this morning as I washed my hair in the shower that I hadn't washed my hair in 2012 before now. Yes, this is true. Those who know me are putting their fingers in their ears and singing 'la la la la' very loudly. I wash my hair every three months or so - sometimes more, sometimes less. And why you may well ask? And I will ask you why you are always washing yours? Because it gets oily, greasy, smelly! I was lucky enough to meet a fellow a few years ago who doesn't wash his hair anymore. At all. And he doesn't have greasy icky hair either. Fact is, you wouldn't know that he doesn't wash it. Oh, he lets water run over it but he doesn't use shampoo. But enough about him - the point is he challenged me to give it a try. At first it did git a bit oily but in short order it settled right down and now I defy anyone to tell that I don't wash my hair. The sweet patootie promised to tell me if it ever smelled - it didn't.  It is my shining glory (I don't brush it, comb it, style it, or blow dry it and I don't use any products on it but that's another story).

Why not wash my hair?  Just give this a little thought. Let's imagine that you're an average person - oh, I know you're not but let's just imagine. You might use a teaspoon of shampoo or two, four times a week. Now, imagine the block you live on. I'm doing that right now. I live on a small street out in the country burbs but I imagine that there are about forty people living on this block. If you live in Manhattan, Toronto or almost any fair to middling sized city you probably live on a block with four thousand folks. Or a good big full suburban block might have 100 to 200 souls on it. Now imagine that all those people use four to eight teaspoons of shampoo a week, 52 weeks a year. You know I'm giving a much less amount than is probably used unless you buy that super duper expensive shampoo. Every week, all over this continent, people are sudsing buckets and buckets of shampoo down the drain so their hair will be shiny. They are spending gazillions of bucks so their hair will be shiny. They are working hours at shitty jobs to buy nice shampoo so their hair will be shiny. And if they didn't do it - they'd have shiny hair and a spare hour or so a week to dig in their garden or pet their hens or make a nice woolen hat for those cold days.

So, by not washing your hair you'll save money, time and a wee bit of the environment and you'll still have what you wash your hair for - nice shiny locks. No brainer I say.

We don't have a dryer. I could not tell you how much we've saved by not having a dryer and also how much we've gained. Why we have to know what sort of a day it is going to be if we're going to do the wash. We get to stand outside, pegging up our sheets and socks and chatting to the chickens down below and feeling the breeze on our faces. Our clothes smell great - we only use cold water - and we're a little more thoughtful when it comes to tossing something barely worn into the hamper. I could not do this if we had a dryer. I would say that I was going to do it but I know I wouldn't. I just wouldn't. I'd cheat. Nope, it was the sweet patootie who said no to a dryer and I am so glad he did.

For two (unconsecutive) years I bought NO clothing for myself. Not even second-hand clothes. The first year I did it - a few years back, it was initially tough. I work in an area of gorgeous and funky consignment shops - not to mention the regular types of clothing stores. I like clothes and I'm like most folks - if I feel a pinch of worry or fear or rage - I like to go shopping. But I just worked with my mind because I had enough. More than enough. I found stuff in my closet that I wasn't paying attention to and never felt deprived or badly turned out. I did it again last year. It was way easier because I already knew I could do it. I also got rid of tonnes of clothes that I wasn't ever going to wear no matter how desperate I got. Sent off to the goodwill bins.

We joined a CSA a year and a bit ago. For not too much dough we get a box of vegetables from a local farm every week. Sure, this time of year it is perhaps more root vegetables or cabbage than one can manage but we do - we manage. We're eating excellent food, learning how to work with what we get given, support a fantastic operation, the local food movement, and we know where it all comes from. We've been there. The guy and I LOVE it.  I invented a cabbage roll recipe the other day which will become famous (in this house). We know what to do with celeriac! We even know what it is.

How about you? What little or big things have you done in order to live more lightly on the planet?


KarenG said...

You are truly walking the walk! We gave up paper plates a few years back. We used to garden and can our own fruit and vegetables but we since moved from that house so now I buy in season, at a store that takes local produce. I've done the clothing "fast" (cute word for it!) simply because I have enough clothes and hate to shop.

Liza said...

I know it is nothing compared to what you are doing, but I bring cloth bags shopping...
I keep thinking of the buying in at the community farm near us. I'll give it more thought after reading this post!

Carole Anne Carr said...

I'm making my own bread, cooking more from fresh ingredients - thinking of returning to dress making - your hair saga fascinated me.

Cruella Collett said...

Oh, you. You are such an inspiration, do you know that? I wish I had the strenght or willpower or - let's be honest - desire to do any of those things. I think it has to do with two things, though. Walks of life, and overall life choices. I'm in a part of my life where I *like* buying too much clothes and I *like* washing my hair too often. I haven't yet had the ugly truth spelled out to me by life's twists and turns: these aren't things that make you happy. I *know* it, but I haven't yet experienced it. And so I keep on living in my bubble, occasionally hating myself a little because, as I said, I know it. I just don't trust it.

I will probably never get to a point in my life where I live so dedicatedly to such things as you do. But if I can find the inspiration (YOU!), willpower and - DESIRE to do even a little bit of it, I will. In the meantime I try to recycle. But I cheat, all the time :/

Gardeningbren said...

Where u

all o k?