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Thursday, January 19, 2012

New starts

So we've finally moved house. Been here for just over a week now and it's been great!
So here are a few things we have done or thought about during the break:

While we were packing up our stuff for moving, we utilised Freecycle and got rid of furniture and other bits and pieces. Also discovered a new website in the same ilk called FreeStuff though we haven't used it yet. We do highly recommend signing up and using it to get rid of unwanted stuff- everyone has stuff they need to get rid of- why not give it away?

The house we are living in (we are housesharing- we have the downstairs and they have the upstairs) is getting chickens. Very exciting and we are looking forward to not only getting fresh eggs but learning more about how to raise them, care for them and whatnot. Apparently chicken poop is also great on the garden.

While our last attempt at a veggie garden at the old house wasn't all that successful (for the most part) we are looking forward to be able to try again at this place. So far Em has learned not to over plant (a rookie mistake) and also to read up on when to harvest said vegetables (a silly mistake).

Meal planning:
We were really great at this... until we started packing up our stuff to move. We will definitely be meal planning in the very near future- not only for costs sake but also convenience. It wasn't hard to do in the first place and made life way less stressful around dinner time- especially with a destructa-toddler running around eating us out of house and home.

Less computer time:
It is far too easy for both of us to get addicted to the computer- spending hours doing pretty much nothing and achieving just as much. The way this house is organised is a lot less open plan so this time around the computer, while still in the living space, is not so much the focus of the house any more.

Toothpaste, sunscreen and other such things:
Em has been brushing her teeth with baking soda/salt (a mixture that one of you kindly directed us to) but K is on the look out for an alternative to the toothpaste that's on the market right now- full of all sorts of stuff- a lot of it really unnecessary.
Same with sunscreen. K will do a big post about sunscreens soon after more research

TMI for the guys, but for the women, please do have a think about alternatives to your normal menstrual products. While we have been trying to research this, and have been finding it hard getting statistics and other information about pads and tampons and how they are produced, we will continue to look into it and do a proper post in the fullness of time. In the meantime, please check out EnvironMenstruals which is a company based in Christchurch and their website has a lot of information about alternatives. Mooncups might look scary but they are reusable, easy to use and will save you money long term.

So here's to a new year, a new place to live for us and some new changes afoot.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolving conflicts

We have tried to keep this blog's topics pretty wide, but at it's most simple we focus on three things: the environment, health, and social impacts. These are by no means isolated areas however - some issues can easily been seen as covering all three. For example, a dangerous chemical used in a product is a concern for our health but it may also be a concern for the people manufacturing the product (making it a social concern) and it also might cause pollution when waste products are discharged from the factory (making it an environmental concern).

Often it is not that simple however. Some products might but better than alternatives in one area and worse in others. For example, Palm oil is better for our health than both butter and trans fat containing margarine; but both these alternatives are are more environmentally friendly than palm oil. So we are forced to decide between these competing issues.

I suggest that these three issues can be ranked so that, all else being equal, one trumps the concerns of another.

1. Social
2. Environmental
3. Health

A lot of people will disagree with me ranking Social above Environmental, but I am shamelessly anthropomorphic and think that the extreme suffering of humans is of a more urgent concern than environmental ones. Don't get me wrong, the environment is important in it's own right and in the sense it is where humans live, but social concerns are more important to me (you can rank differently if you want). Health, I think is pretty non-controversial to put third as it is a 'selfish' concern - it mainly only effects ourselves and those we buy for. We can always eat small amounts of butter over palm oil to use the above example.

In light of this we will be writing more about social concerns in the future to balance all the posts about the environment so far.

any comments?