Seeking a Better Future

Better coverThe past few weeks have been awash with news of environmental protests, green plans, carbon taxes, species diversity and sustainability.  While some have embraced the message of a need for a greener future, others have expressed concerns about the costs both economically and culturally as we look to change our current lifestyles.

The idea that governments or technology can save us from ourselves is tempting and while both will have a role to play in whatever the future brings, many people are making the conscious choice to begin the journey to a healthier and simpler lifestyle themselves. Every year larger numbers of Canadians are looking at solar, geo-thermal and wind-power for their heating needs, the growth in sales of electric cars is increasing rapidly, and there has been re-discovery of the joy of the domestic arts, especially by the young.  The rapid growth of country markets, specialty food and craft stores, thrift shops, second-hand shopping sites, and plant nurseries illustrate that we are reconsidering as a society the importance of what we eat, and how we spend our time and money.

Country Skills cover

If you are considering making some simple green changes, a great book to try is Better: the Everyday Art of Sustainable Living by Nicole Caldwell. The book is a short 243 pages, but each is packed with everyday wisdom, practical do it yourself ideas, and ideas to ponder. Caldwell understands that “less is more”, and that by selecting quality over quantity, it’s easier to have a beautiful, and more stress-proof life. Of course, if you’re feeling really lost Sustainable Living for Dummies by Michael Grosvenor, might be more you. Grosvenor, who has written about a number of green issues in the “for Dummies” book series, tackles everything from taking the first steps in a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, to creating long-term habits for better choices and finally to ways to help the planet.  The style of the writing is fact-filled and light while maintaining the attitude that by working together we can still build a better future.

Almost Green cover

I love Raleigh Briggs book Make Your Place: Affordable, sustainable nesting skills. This tiny book is a collection of her popular blog columns, and full of cheap and easy ways to live better. Whether it’s making effective nonchemical household cleaners, offering tips on everything from first aid to removing garden pests, Brigg’s cheerful, no-nonsense ideas are a great little reference guide to cleaner living. Most of the advice here harks back to a simpler time and would probably have been common knowledge at the turn of the last century.  Alison Candlin’s Country Skills: a practical guide to Self-Sufficiency is the huge, gorgeously illustrated tome, that could act as an encyclopedia to the greening movement. While it offers simple steps to reduce your carbon footprint on a daily basis, it also gives advice on everything from starting an urban garden, preserving your harvest, keeping bees, composting, recycling, and doing common repairs around the house, as well as a multitude of other topics.  Candlin’s philosophy is that if it’s good for the planet, it’s also good for the pocketbook.

Should you feel inspired to make a major lifestyle change than perhaps a book on homesteading might fill the bill. The Homesteading Handbook: back to basics guide to growing your own food, canning, keeping chickens, generating your own energy, crafting, herbal medicine, and more by Abigail R. Gehring, is a complete starter guide on establishing yourself and your family as modern pioneers.  Finally, if all the talk is getting you down then Almost Green: How I Built an Eco-Shed, ditched my SUV, alienated the in-laws, and changed my life by James Glave, is a hilarious saga of one man’s attempts at being eco-friendly.

Lori Kauzlarick – If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!


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