Monday, August 13, 2012

The Power of Prophetic Acts: Being the first

Last year I posted this article which made me think a lot about our efforts at sustainability at the time. Part of my recent brain freeze on the blog has been related to this thought. We've come to a plateau in  learning about sustainability, and the next choices seem a bit more complicated: Going radical on some big things- flying, driving, home size, biological family size- are tough calls to make, but they're there and can't be ignored because all of us need to make different choices on the big things for our children to have a good world to live in. We need a miracle. Sorry, that's kind of melodramatic- when I came back to edit I couldn't think of anything more true to replace it with.

I came to a hopeful thought: the prophetic act. [Sorry that the language is a bit alienating to some readers.] Though our giving up big things- or just what we can handle in the moment- doesn't evoke revolution, small bits of our lives are a reflection of the way God wants the world to be. Even if noone sees or hears about it. 

I am encouraged that radical choices can be a spiritual act. Up to now I've focused primarily on choices that have brought us fairly immediate joy- giving up the 9-5 career path, unschooling (maybe), having a little house (that's paid for), cooking from scratch, trying to get to zero waste. I want to keep exploring those that seem to be limiting and scary, because there's a picture I can't see.

Some inspiration:
  • Five gallon ideas- ideas of things to do with five gallon buckets!
  • Those of you here in S.A., check out Living Seeds, a site distributing Heirloom seeds. 
  • Tiny things to try with me this month: 
    • Refuse the tiny sweets wrapped in plastic at the end of a restaurant meal, and tell the waiter why. 
    • Explain why you don't use the tiny plastic bags (or why you reuse ones you found on the ground) for produce or milk sachets.
    • When your petrol/gas tank is close to empty, try to wait one extra day before filling it up (try to stretch your fillings by one additional day). 
  • Check out Leah's post here- we were writing simultaneously- she frames the problem with stories, which was really helpful to me.


leah said...

No fair... I was just about to write a blog post about prophetic acts of sustainability and you beat me to it! Mine will be more religiously framed, though, because I don't care about the feelings of my readership, haha.

Concrete Gardener said...

Hehe, you beat me to the previous one, and this is really a non-post because I'm still mulling it all over, so it doesn't count.

Unknown said...

Hi Jo,

I pretty much have you to thank for raising my awareness of our plastic consumption, so keep up the great blogging :)

We're fighting the good fight in New Zealand - baby steps, but it's something at least. Currently most stores pack groceries in free plastic bags, non-recyclable ones, and not even sturdy enough for much re-use. I take my own canvas bags (Queue song here...) and tell the cashier person I'm trying to cut down on plastic usage, please can I use my own bags. I'm hoping people overhear and are encouraged to bring their own bags as well. I'm very much in the minority with this one however, the norm is just to happily accept endless bags :(

I'm also starting to switch brands to products with recyclable packaging, re-using containers instead of recycling etc.

Haven't started my own Coke-bottle garden yet, though that's a plan for later!

Small things, but hopefully it makes a difference.


Concrete Gardener said...

Hey Linda,

It's really great to hear from you. What is food like in New Zealand compared to SA?

One thing that is always surprising to me is that packers think they're being really kind by putting your plastic sachet of milk in another tiny plastic bag. Or put your bananas in a plastic bag for you. So I'm honing the gentle but firm "I'm working on using less plastic because it doesn't degrade".

I was interested to hear that it's cheaper for you guys to have a car than to take the train to work? So interesting.

Unknown said...

Hi Jo,

We're paying more or less the same amount for food as we did in South Africa. Veges and basics much cheaper than meat. Meat is a bit pricey. Veges and fruit we really have to buy in season - cucumber for instance is normally $1-$2 during summer, but soars to $5 in winter, so we skip salads in winter! Pumpkins currently massive and dirt cheap - we bought a $1 pumpkin that lasted through 3 or 4 weeks, and I had to throw some out when it started going bad. I now cut in pieces and save it in the freezer. I saw a bag of 3 pumpkins for $1 at the vege store, and just couldn't bring myself to buy that much!

Fruit is unfortunately not as good quality as South Africa - tiny watermelons (We laughed at them!), small avos, not-very-sweet peaches, papaya small. Some fruit have just a slightly different taste, so have to get use to that.

The funny thing, is that a short flight to Fiji, and you can feast on massive amounts of delicious fruit for next to nothing.

Milk, butter, cheese and lamb surprisingly expensive considering the large population of sheep and cows over here!

New Zealand shops like to put a large markup on their prices, and have lots of "sales", so basically it's just watching out for the sales and stocking up appropriately.