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Reduce your Environmental Impact

Reducing your impact on the environment is at once easy, and sometimes very hard. Easy because you are not doing something – not buying a new thing or the latest gadget. Not getting swept up in a craze, and thinking before you purchase something. It is far easier not to have something that needs recycling or reusing. Easier for us – nothing to think about, and easier on the environment with less going to landfill.

However we live in a consuming society, and the pressure to consume is enormous. Shopping centres, the TV, advertising, marketing, peer pressure- it is a constant force that so strong that you may not even be aware of the pressure on you to buy a certain thing.

And yes, once you get it home, you have something! It might have cheered you up in the purchase, but having more things creates its own unconscious pressure. To look after it, to store it, to use it, to dispose of it. Resist these pressures and try and simplify your life.

The benefits of a simple life are many – less hours are needed to work to pay off purchases. Less clutter means you can have a smaller house that is more economical to run. You can spend the money on things that really can give you joy – holidays, the garden, charity.

In terms of the garden, there are many opportunities to reduce consumption. Some ideas include:

  • Use less or no fertilisers because you have a worm farm or compost set up;
  • Don’t use pesticides or herbicides;
  • Mulch your garden to reduce to need to water;
  • Borrow or rent tools or machinery if you are not certain you will use them frequently;
  • Swap produce with others – share a glut of lemons, or swap zucchini for a few cuttings;
  • Try propagation – it is an easy way to multiple your own and other peoples plants. If you end up with a few, they can always be gifts as well;
  • Take care in planting – a happy plant lives and doesn’t waste the purchase price;
  • Replace the lawn with mulch or a low growing native grass or alternative such as dichondria and native violets in shady areas;
  • Buy in bulk – bulk mulch and manures can reduce the amount of plastic bags and will be cheaper. Perhaps a trailer of mulch can be shared;
  • Some garden equipment is just not necessary – leaf blowers for instance, just use a broom. It is better to get some exercise and save electricity and reduce noise pollution.
  • For a new item, see if you can borrow one or hire it to see if you like it, or think you will get a lot of use out of it.
  • Sweep pathways and driveways instead of hosing them, and follow any water restriction recommendations. Plant beds of plants that all have similar water needs, and be ruthless about moving one that requires more than others.
  • Aim to have most of your plants in the ground if possible, and cut down on the number of pot plants. This saves time, and water, and reduces expenses like potting mix and the pots.
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