So yep, basically the aim is to break bad habits.
The year before last, I challenged myself to not drive the car in the town we live in. While we do live in a fairly small seaside town, it does take 45 minutes to walk to the main part of town from our house. We used the bus as much as we could, although the bus only comes every couple of hours or so. Andy even got into the act and rode his bike to work more regularly, which is about a 25km trip one way.
Last year, we challenged ourself to not buy any clothes for the entire year. Not even secondhand. So no clothing for two adults, a five year old and a toddling boy.
The first couple of months were the hardest but to be honest, once the shopping pattern was broken, it really was very very easy. And you know what? We survived no worries.
We did benefit from hand-me-downs from cousins, which was particularly helpful for the little lad. And my aim was simply to make what we needed. The reality was that we didn't need that much really. The kids needed pants and jumpers, but beyond that we survived no worries. I even found that I didn't need to make as much as I thought I would. Clothes really do fit kids for a lot longer than just the year the number on the label corresponds to their age. (I say that in jest, simply because I do know people who change their kids' wardrobes over to the next number up each year regardless.) Lily's favourite pair of shorts are a size 1.
This year our focus is on food sustainability. Lily has even started contributing her thoughts to the eco-challenge and helped come up with the focus for 2011. She wants to reduce our use of packaged food, which in itself isn't a great deal, but I love that she is involved.
We eat mostly organic, and do benefit from an organic veggie box delivered every Monday. So we do tend already to focus on eating what's in season, and fairly healthy. We're hoping to increase the productivity of our veggie garden over the course of the year as well as make much more food from scratch. We've been baking bread every day so far, which is great fun! This afternoon I'm hoping to get some fruit loaf happening; with organic raisins, cranberries and goji berries.
I also need to find a recipe to replace those delicious Carmen's muesli bars that Lily loves so very much.
One of the benefits of a deliberate eco focus for each year has been Lily's increasing understanding of green issues and concern for the environment. She is very disturbed by rubbish (which she refers to as tinseling) and will pick up rubbish if she sees it.
I love that our no clothes buying has taught her about other aspects of creativity too. Recently she made a couple of games that were based on some of her favourites from kindy. She showed me and said, "Look Mum, you don't always need to buy toys, you can make them sometimes too." then she looked a bit concerned, "But that doesn't mean we should go a year without buying toys though, okay."
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