[Mothering] One year ago my husband (now a permaculture designer) introduced me to the concept of permaculture. For those unfamiliar, permaculture, or “permanent culture,” is a sustainable technique to regenerate landscapes. Permaculture encourages you to consider all of the different relationships within an environment and to arrange elements to work in harmony, thus requiring minimal maintenance.
We all have a collective responsibility to protect Mother Earth. While this can seem like an overwhelming task, I believe that even just one person can make a difference.
Permaculture extends into all facets of life and offers tools that can transform your family and your community. The three core ethics that inform permaculture are care for the Earth, care for the people, and sharing resources.
We are doing our best to start making decisions based on these beliefs and are sharing what we learn with our son. Ideally, he will share these practices with his children and so on. No effort is too small.
Even if you don’t jump on the permaculture bandwagon, you and your family can absolutely make a measurable eco-friendly difference in this world. One person alone is capable of producing and throwing away over 185 pounds of plastic per year! Here’s another fact from a display at our local science center: A grocery store plastic bag takes 400-1,000 years to break down, yet the average time it is used by a person is only 12 minutes. Yikes! I admit to having used many, many of these bags without much thought.
If you are looking to make a difference with your family, read below for a few easy ways how.
1. Be Producers, Not Just Consumers.As a nation, we love to consume. We use significantly more energy than we need to. By producing some food at home, you are helping to create your own local food web. Imagine the time, fuel, and energy savings if every house on your street had a different fruit tree that everyone could share? I challenge you to select even just one edible plant to grow this year.
2. Grow a Pollinator (or two or three).Unfortunately, many of our pollinator habitats are being destroyed. Pollinators (such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats) are declining in numbers, and 185 species of pollinators are considered threatened or extinct. Why is this a problem? These helpful organisms pollinate over 75% of crop plants grown across the world, approximately every three or four mouthfuls of food that we eat!
This is a very important lesson for our children and, my guess is, they will be happy to dig around in the dirt to plant something special for their pollinator friends. Contact your local Cooperative Extension to determine which native pollinator species are appropriate to plant in your area.
3. Bring Your Own.I recently put together a “Bring Your Own” tool-kit that I keep in my backpack with me at all times. The contents of this kit include a knitted coffee cup sleeve, real silverware, a glass straw and a cloth bag for purchases or produce.
The straw (which is a must for me) was added to my tool-kit after learning our nation uses over 500 million straws per year. These straws are usually not recycled and are unfortunate dangers for our aquatic friends too. My favorite is Hummingbird Straws, which are pretty to look at, and practical. The glass design allows for easy cleaning since you can see what is on the inside! Read More