THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Aug23

(Fifty) Shades of Green

Shades of Green is a book by Paul Waddington, giving you some common sense advice on how to live more sustainably.

It is well put together and gently teaches you how broad the spectrum of green living is. From starting the book with ‘don’t fly’ (brave way to split your readers on page one!) to sharing ways on how to live without a fridge (how did people stop their food spoiling before refrigeration?) we list below some of the ideas, both dark green and lighter green, we liked the most from his book. Do check it out – Shades Of Green: A (mostly) practical A-Z for the reluctant environmentalist – it’s a good one for starting you thinking…

Shades of Green

No flying.

Homegrown food and flowers (including raw milk, no meat (or at least have rare breed if you do), local, artisan bread, cheese, fairtrade, organic dark chocolate, eggs from your own chickens and ale hand pulled from a cask… to be honest, when food is spoken about in such gloriously delicious terms, you wonder why we accept anything less from the supermarkets?)

No babies.

Shorter showers, smaller bath (apparently there are baths shaped like a peanut that should force you to use less water…)

Second hand bikes.

Darker clothes as whites require more energy to get them crisp and white. Probably best to go for wool, cotton, silk… animal? Handwash them.

No cod. Wild fish, sustainably caught.

Shade grown organic coffee. Or you could try dandelion root…

Induction hob instead of an electric oven.

Laptop? Or just go without completely?

Generate your own electricity.

No fridge – a zeer pot, pantry, larder or root cellar.

Use a wood-framed conservatory leaning against your house – better than a polytunnel!

Look again at your furniture and your homes. Is there some retro-fitting you can do? Can you use or buy less?

Let your lawns become meadows.

Use LED lights. We hear THIS IS THE FUTURE from people in the know. So check them out…

Have a wind up radio.

Then came more food ideas (it is amazing just how far wrong our diets have gone…) like using extra virgin olive oil, organic sunflower oil, organic dried pasta, home-grown strawberries and tomatoes (ripened by the sun…) use local staple foods (so for us in the UK – wheat? oats? barley?) honey instead of sugar and, if you must have sugar, make it organic, dark, unrefined sugar… and of course you should drink a cup of loose leaf tea.

Don’t keep cats and dogs – if you want pets, try bees and carp.

If you go on holiday – backpack or camp.

Put a pond in the garden.

Make your shoes of leather. Or hemp, with a rubber soul from a recycled car tyre.

No TV. You have a laptop anyway, right?

Soap. Washing powder. Jewellery. Make-up. Think about all of these now…

Telephone – we would love to be without one.

Target your water use – do you harvest rainwater? Flush too often? Could you have a compost toilet?

Take the train, or go sailing.

Use a triple AAA rated dishwasher – apparently it really is better than washing up by hand!

Make your own wine, or drink locally made.

The two items Paul Waddington talks about in Shades of Green that seem to be the biggest places we can cut back on our energy use are cars and houses. Financially, these are also the items that cost us the most.

Perhaps it is time we started sharing them?

To see what else he has written, click this link – Books by Paul Waddington – there are a few more than interesting titles for you there.

Last of all then – what shade of green are you?

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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