We've crept into Spring, yet the weather seems to need reminding..
Here are some things I am doing, using and loving right now. Products, non products, places. Some of these things are things mentioned before, but thats the nature of having things that are zero waste that last and that we love. These thoughts also summarise what we're doing right now to engage in current events in a sustainable way for us.
Soup and soup makers. I've always loved a good soup, they are a fantastic way to use up vegetables that are a bit old, to boil up chicken carcasses to make stock and to have a filling warm meal. I was very kindly given a soup maker and I'm totally in love with it. Reducing food waste is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint, every time I make soup I decide it's a radical environmental action. Especially now I am using a secondhand soup maker.
Hand Me Downs. As well as a now very loved soup maker, my best friend gave me two bags of clothes she was donating. I now have some "new" jumpers that I love so much, it's such a treat. I feel really grateful to have some new clothes, for free and also for a best friend who thought of me and let me rummage through her donated items. Hand me downs have certainly been much more normalised recently and I'm grateful for that, lets keep that up.
Locovore Edinburgh. Just down street from our Edinburgh home, is a brand new zero waste store that is honestly just incredible. It has kombucha kits, a plant swap, bulk food and sooooo much more. We already love it and will be using for our bulk stuff regularly.
Lidl Zero Waste Boxes. I wrote about these boxes a while ago, and we are still regularly getting them. I'm currently eating an apple from a Lidl box. Some Lidl stores do certainly produce better boxes than others, but overall we love them and get them about once a week.
Wild Garlic. We've almost finished last years wild garlic salt just in time, because it's the season for one of our favourite foragables. There are heaps of guides for identifying wild garlic, such as this one by Ashdown Forage but if you're interested in getting into foraging, we wrote some tips here.
My Bike. Like many people, I have been horrified at world events recently.
I try to assess things and make actions based on what I can do sustainably. By this, I mean actions that I can take that I can safely continue doing long term. World events have cemented my desire to decouple from fossil fuels systems as much as I can right now. I had decided not to bring a bike up to Edinburgh, as I was worried about it being stolen. I have loved walking everywhere with the occasional bus or driving. However, recent events have solidified my desire to have easy, sustainable and fast transport that also allows me to exercise safely for free. This is also the motivation to get to know my bike a bit more and get ready to fix it myself if I need to. I know for many, getting on a bike is not a radical action- but letting go of fears of the bike being stolen (my Dad got me this bike about 20 years ago!) is radical for me. This has also teamed up with cancelling my gym membership.
Turning down the thermomstat. Another act of decoupling and using less heating. We are actually excellent with energy use in Edinburgh. I like cold rooms with fluffy socks and jumpers. But we are now turning it down further. Good for the planet, for savings but also for reducing global need.
Reading: Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. Lee & I both started reading this book together. I read aloud whilst he's been playing Elden Ring (!) something we've never done before but is quite calming. So far, it's excellent.
Decoupling our food as much as possible. This is always on my mind. Food is my love, I enjoy producing as much as we can as well as eating it. In Edinburgh we can't grow food really, but on the farm down South this year I will be planting some vegetable plants that don't need much support to grow on their own and hope for the best. The link between industrialised food systems, global economies and us is super evident at the moment. The price of bread is rocketing due to oil price increases. This highlights how coupled what we eat is to the planet and global economies. Bread prices are interesting, as they increase rapidly yet bread is one of the most heavily wasted food items in the UK. Processed foods seem to be rising the most probably due to the labour and energy requirements needed. Therefore we are continuing to positively decouple ourselves as much as possible. It's very hard to do this completely in the UK, we have seasons that make it tricky unless you're very prepared. But it can be empowering to decouple in some simple ways, to reduce cost impacts personally, environmental impacts, to take radical action to take our money out of a system benefitting people we may not want to benefit and to enjoy different food systems. Foraging, growing, sharing, community fridges, farm shops, Good On You App, reduced sections of the supermarkets, bulk cooking to reduce energy use, storing your produce properly in the fridge to reduce food waste. There are lots of ways to engage positively in food systems, depending on your resources. You might want to dip your toe into a few, pluralising our actions is a good idea. We do a number of these actions depending on the season for one. When we engage with different actions we can help to create resilience into our systems to create sustainability against shocks.
I've really fallen back in love with green lentils recently. I love a green lentil, roasted butternut squash, beetroot and spinach salad, tossed together with sea salt and lemon. Delicious and easy to meal prep. Last time we ate this, I cooked the squash with our roast on Sunday, bought the spinach and beetroot reduced. The lentils came from Locavore. The salt was a foraged wild garlic sea salt we made last year. A simple meal, yet I was proud to have a delicious meal with soul and so much connection. Green lentils are so versatile and delicious.
Cool Products I've spotted.
When I'm out and about I often spot things that I think look awesome. These products aren't necessarily products we all use but they might help somebody reduce waste, save money or simply celebrate innovation.
Spice pots, found in Aldi.
Less plastic on plastic bottles. I am not convinced by the greenwash on these bottles and hence not naming the brand (you can clearly see identify it yourself). But I do think it's great that standard products are beginning to showcase packaging innovation by using slightly less plastic. I am really supportive of plural solutions to problems and many little wins.
Amongst everything, joy is important. Finding joy can be difficult sometimes but it's a radical act. We're allowed to find joy amongst feeling despair, worry or anxiety, I hope you can find it at the moment.