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Are You Living Lightly?

By Chris Sobey, Albury 

“Living lightly” – a slogan so many of us know and would like to aspire to.  Maybe when we retire and have more time!  However, I firmly believe there is a greater urgency in this imperative.  With the possibility of the global collapse of the economy and in the resource fields of oil, water and food supplies, action needs to be taken NOW by us as individuals and by our various levels of government.

It can be done.  A new, healthier, simpler lifestyle can be led.  Do you recall hearing of the mighty shift of priorities and behaviour during World War II, when almost every individual changed their behaviour quickly?  For us, it’s the ramifications of a rapidly changing climate affecting our water and food security, while the reality of increasing fuel prices will drive the need for a slower pace of living.

With wide overhanging eaves or verandahs, the sun gains entry to the north-facing living areas in the winter, while keeping the higher sun from the windows and walls during summer.  Well-fitting drapes act effectively to warm or cool these rooms, while appropriate clothing is also helpful in combining to reduce the energy bills.  The end of the wasteful McMansion is nigh – the 1/4-acre house on a 1/4-acre block!  And a recent visit from the State Government’s energy audit officer was very worthwhile, with doors getting close scrutiny against draughts.

Fuel costs are set to rise, so providing free public transport would counter the need for and cost of the second family car.  A big fall in contaminants would result, with an increase in taxes substituting this cost.  I wonder what a cost/benefit analysis would show?  Car pooling and “community utes” are also excellent, and will become increasingly necessary.

And food?  A few large pots in a sunny spot growing the essential vegetables are something the kids can handle.  I find it easier to buy fruit and eggs from the local market.  Summer/winter menus of easy weekday meals makes both cooking and shopping that much easier and cheaper, while also providing a balanced diet.

I’ll live more lightly to contribute to a life for my children in an uncertain world, and to set an example to them of “how to live lightly” on this planet.  How about you?