Sharing is Caring, or is it?

Reduce by Sharing what you own

While researching even more ways to go green, I recently came across UK-based website Streetbank. Streetbank adresses the issue of reducing what we buy/own by introducing the (age old) concept of sharing stuff that we own or skills that we posses with people who live in our communities. More than just reducing what we consume, it strives to re-create communities that care for and help out one another for free.

Participants share anything from garden tools, french lessons, child care and even vacant land for a gardener without land. Communities are considered as people living in a radius of a mile (approx 1.6km) from you.

A novel idea and one that initially filled me with excitement, untill I got to registering. Because you see, on registering, I had to specify at least one item that I would like to share with my community. That got me thinking and to my surprise, I could not initially come up with any one item that I was prepared to share with just any stranger that popped up on my front door.

I have to admit that I was a little shocked at my own reaction, especially as I am generally regarded as ‘nice’ and even ‘caring’ by most of my friends. After some soul-searching I decided to bounce the idea off some of the other ‘nice’ people I know and found that the non-sharing attitude was mutual. Is it a South African thing? Do you trust people in your community enough to share your lawnmower with them or invite them over for free assistance with their tax returns?

Why not take 30 seconds and tell me if you are prepared to share some of the stuff that you own with people in your community, and if yes, what are you prepared to share? Also, did you actually go and register at Streetbank? I did! Leave a comment and I will let you know what I’m sharing. See you soon.

Drink Away Your Winter Chills

Sustainable home made teas

Sustainable home made hot teas and drinksWith winter upon us, one of the challenges during colder days is to ensure that you stay well-hydrated.

Since water makes up over 50% of your body, it plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. Being well-hydrated will aid your immune- and lymph systems, helping you to fight off illnesses, regulate your body temperature, rid your body of waste material and keep your skin and joints supple.

Water remains the best way to hydrate your body, but Continue reading “Drink Away Your Winter Chills”

Second Time Around

recycled_items

Recycling can only be effective if there is a viable and growing market for recycled- over virgin produced products.  The international recycling symbol shows a loop of three arrows following each other and symbolising the dependant nature of the process.  Once your waste is recycled, these materials need to be re-used to produce recycled products in order to close the loop.

Due to current technologies and scales of production, recycled counterparts are often more costly than their virgin produced cousins.  However, a bigger demand for recycled will probably speak louder than the cry for sustainable production.  Investment, financial and other, will result in more effective and efficient production, driving prices down.

We are the generation who have to turn the tide.  Choose wisely by choosing recycled whenever you can.

Reuse, reuse, reuse

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An excellent way to reuse beautiful old or new porcelaine and cutlery. I found this decorative bird cage at one of our local craft markets, the Klip Klap Market, in Olympus, Pretoria East.
The Klip-Klap market is a monthly, eclectic market hosting antiques, quality hand-made crafts (many of which uses local craftsmen and recycled or reused material), food and wine. Go to their website for their exhibition dates.

Shopping

Green your shopping
Green shopping

With world population numbers soaring and these multitudes of people wanting to own, use and consume more products than ever before in the history of the world, earth’s resources are being put under more strain than ever before.

Add to this the fact that everything we buy will eventually end up in the form of waste and decisions taken during shopping trips become central Continue reading “Shopping”

Strawberries

strawberriesStrawberries are in season and here are a couple of good reasons to enjoy them:

  1. Strawberries are full of antioxidants (second only to blueberries in a USDA study of 40 fruits and vegetables);
  2. A number of the antioxidants found in strawberries has been shown to fight carcinogens;  
  3. Strawberries has more vitamin C than any other berry tested;
  4. Sweet as they are, strawberries are actually low in sugar (compared to other fruit) and will therefor not cause insulin spikes, as long as they are eaten in moderation;
  5. Strawberries are also high in dietary fibre, manganese, folic acid and potassium.

 So before you reach for the bottle of store bought vitamins, antioxidants or dietpills, why not enjoy a delicious couple of strawberries.

Local Markets : The Green Market

The Green Market at The Botanical Gardens in Pretoria

I visited a charming little market in the Pretoria Botanical Gardens last Saturday called The Green Market.  Not only are local markets a great way to reduce your food- and other product miles, they also stimulate creativity and entrepreneurship in your local community.  Given, of course, that it is a local market and not a giant imported goods flea market. 

The aim of The Green Market is also to help raise awareness and educate their visitors on the benefits and importance of living more eco conscious.

  • Where : Pretoria Botanical Gardens, 2 Cussonia Ave, Brummeria
  • When  :  First Saturday of the month, 9:00 – 14:00
  • Entrance fee (to the Gardens)  :  R5 per child, R10 per adult

What I found when I went:

  • Coffee and baked goods from local traders;
  • Eco products like the Bokhasi that turns kitchen waste into a soil conditioner;
  • Second hand clothes traders;
  • Providers of smart energy alternatives;
  • Organic and natural body care products;
  • Second hand books;
  • Collectors of second hand porcelain and other collectables;
  • Everyday people who wish to trade their trash for your cash;
  • Live entertainment by a local artist.  

If you would like to find out more, just click here.

Herbs and Vegetables

Grow Vegetables and HerbsWith Spring in the air you might feel like getting outside and spending some time in the garden.  While you are there, why not add a couple of summer veggies and tasty herbs to your garden.  If you don’t have a dedicated vegetable and herb garden, you can plant them between your regular garden plants. 

They’ll not only fill those empty spaces left by the winter cold, but you’ll also be able to dish them up in a couple of weeks.  Getting into the habit of growing your own vegetables will save you from travelling to the grocery store and improve bio-diversity in your area. 

Tips for growing your own herbs and veggies:

tips on growing herbs and vegetables If you’re new to growing herbs and vegetables, start by buying seedlings from your local nursery. It will increase your chance to succeed, improving the likelyhood that you’ll try it again;

tips on growing herbs and vegetables  Check the planting conditions (sun / shade / semi-shade).  If the seedlings are not labeled, ask the shop assistant;

tips on growing herbs and vegetables  If you decide to grow veggies from seed, starting in a seed tray that is located near your kitchen / patio will help you remember to water them regularly in the first couple of weeks;

tips on growing herbs and vegetables  Pots are a great way to add vegetables and herbs to your garden and patio. They can easily be replaced once they go past their expiry date or re-filled with a couple of seedlings for an instant new look;

tips on growing herbs and vegetables  When planting seedlings from trays, don’t plant them all at one time otherwise they will all be ripe at the same time.  Plant them over a period, ensuring that you keep your seedlings properly watered and fed, and you will extend your harvest time.