This post is late because it’s a big one! I decided to put my ‘sustainable living’ hat on this week after visiting a groups of friends on a small farm near my place. They inspired me to spread the word on sustainable living as I apparently inspired them to stop using plastic. We also realized that the more self-sufficient you become in your living, the easier it is to be plastic free!
My friend Casey has bought the land with his Mum and now lives there in the farm house with four friends who rent rooms from him. Let me just say that this visit got my ‘plasticfreediet’ brain thinking.
Casey, Chad, Benny and friends share a property, which has fruit trees, a vegetable garden, lots of free ranging chickens and three lovely goats. Whilst getting the grand tour on the farm I explained to the guys about the idea of being plastic free and as they drank from plastic bottles and picked up the plastic bucket with the food scraps for the chooks in it we began a conversation of how much we could make our planet a healthier place by some big but achievable changes.
There is a common ‘want’ we have in Australia when it comes to housing. We want a large block of land to live on with one large house to share with just 1.5 others (click here for a great article about our current un-sustainable living habits and the increased cost to our pockets too). This is a spacious dream that most of us want and it brings about thoughts of relaxing in privacy and safety of our home without much of a backyard or garden though. It may not sound that bad unit you begin to think about it on a national and global level.
First of all, globally our population is growing. Growing faster than ever before and it is not sustainable to continue to purchase these large blocks of land that we build on as this means we are reducing our national parks, our animal habitats and existing farm land. Land will continue to become more expensive as it becomes lesser available and we would become more in debt with larger mortgages. This would of course increase that big hole in the ozone layer, increase extinct animal species and reduce national food production as we will not have the space to grow ‘real’ food.
The other problem when it comes to housing is that we become more depressed due to less social interaction. Its been shown many studies over that social interaction is important in the mental health of all of us and living in group situations is positive. The key elements identified across this research are meaningful social contact and positive social cohesion. Without these, the person and the group flounder.
Would it be weird to consider the possibility of sharing land together as an alternative?
For example, what if you and your partner, your friend and their partner, your partner’s friend and your … sister all want to buy a house? You all agree on a lovely piece of land, build your homes and together use the left over land for your amazing vegetable and herb garden and goats, chickens, cows, fish and whatever else you wish to have. We are able to have more trees amongst us and this works because we are sharing the work load that living sustainably requires.It also reduces your costs to buy. The main benefit is that this is a solution to allowing us to live sustainably with a potentially longer life span.
Health wise the benefits of shared property far outweigh the cons. You’re living off the land so you’re in control of the chemicals that the produce you’re putting into your body have. Here is a video from a TED X convention where the guy talks about using charcoal from organic waste to increase the growing properties of crops. Its an amazing video which also goes into how the community can benefit by creating jobs and less carbon emmissions due to the charcoal absorbing carbon and if its produced within the community using it then less carbon is produced in transporting it. As well as this it enhances the growth of the crop meaning less need for GMO maybe??
Because you are physically working on growing this produce you are going to be moving. Not sitting! This is very important because sitting is one of main reasons for our first world’s obesity epidemic. .
As well as working on your sustainable lifestyle you are outside more which allows you to breath in fresh, not stale, air…