Both/And

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It isn’t unusual for our dinner conversation to turn to what a wholly sustainable life looks like. We can find ourselves treading a familiar path of logic: that the only way to avoid harming the natural world and other people is to escape the infrastructure and culture of the modern world; both can be so unkind. A truly sustainable life would be living off our own land, off the grid. Making and growing our own. Total retreat.

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Making from scraps // sunglasses case

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I realised that I needed new sunglasses when wearing my existing pair didn’t actually enable me able to see the world any better. True, they blocked out the glare, but they were so scratched that in dappled light they rendered me virtually blind. This seemed not ideal.

Mindful about where to source a new (to me) purchase from, I took a £2.99 risk and ordered a pair from Oxfam’s online shop. I’ve had previous successes from there and I’m pleased to report the sunglasses have not ruined my track record. They fit perfectly, are in great condition, and fulfil that all important role of protecting my eyes and sight on sunny days.

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The Bees

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When I saw on Twitter that Kew Gardens (a Royal Botanical Gardens and botanical research institute, for non-UK readers) were giving away free packets of wild flower seeds, my first thought (after ‘FREE STUFF!’ – love a bargain) was, ‘I know people who will get on board with this’. The couple of months between ordering the seeds and receiving them had, to be honest, rather put the initiative out of my mind. I’d also failed to tell my husband, so he was welcomed home one day with: “I forgot to to tell you I ordered 100 packets of seeds! Where shall we plant them?” Plant some we did, the rest we distributed to eager hands – friends and colleagues glad to be easily enabled to be part of the ‘Grow Wild’ initiative.

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All that potential

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grow-your-own-planters

Last year we moved house, gaining stewardship of a garden for the first time. Our bodies and minds were nourished by the time spent there, digging in the dirt, relaxing in the open air, as well as the seven strawberries and handful of basil we managed to grow. One of our aspirations for 2016 was to grow more of our own food – a move towards greater self-sufficiency as well as reconnecting us with nature and where our food comes from.

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Chemicals in our home // the starting point

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One of my 2016 aspirations was to look at the chemicals in our home. The European Environment Agency recommends prudence when it comes to the chemicals to which we expose ourselves and the environment. The blame cannot be laid on a single chemical; it’s the range of them and how they interact with each other that’s the real problem. The thing that challenged me is: I know very little about the cocktail of chemicals I purchase, apply, spray. It’s time to change that.

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Being neighbourly

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A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to share some of the thoughts I’ve had and things I’ve learned about being neighbourly in the 21st century. Around 40 women had gathered to share breakfast and friendship, and to hear about an amazing charity called The Gate which works with women in the sex trade in Southampton. I had the privilege of putting the work of The Gate in the wider context of a call to be radically neighbourly in our day to day lives.

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New series: Spurred on by…

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I suspect the life I aspire to is not attainable. That is to say, it isn’t a destination; it’s the journey of a lifetime. Constantly trying to better understand my impact on the lives of others, on this planet we call home. Taking steps to make that impact more positive, loving and kind. Exploring the creativity I didn’t know dwelt within me – with words, with fabrics, with bookshelves, with… I don’t know what else – that’s the point. I don’t live in the expectation that one day I’ll have ‘arrived’. If we achieve ‘one planet living’ (when our impact is not greater than the planet can sustain), then there will always be opportunities to actively have a positive impact, not just minimising the negative. For every word written and shared, scrap of furniture upcycled and fabric sewn, there will remain the possibility of more.

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