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6 Jul 07, 2:45 PM - Doing it naturally

Posted by Seahorse

Reading about Live Earth this week, I have a checklist in my head that makes me feel like a super polluter.

Every time I step in a taxi it’s one more car clogging up the roads. When I run a bath, I know I’m using far more water than if I could just have a quick shower. Switching on the tumble dryer I wish I could manage to peg out the washing instead.

The truth is, there are some Green options that just aren’t an option. But for all the not-so-Green activities my disability makes a necessity, I can honestly say I’m more environmentally aware through being disabled.

In my case even the very process of becoming ill led me to gradually re-engage with the world in a more eco-friendly way. Yes, I suddenly couldn’t walk and cycle everywhere, and I find energy-saving bulbs a real headache. But when recovering from the depression that nearly finished me off, I found myself drawn to nature magazines and programmes, as I needed to feed my mind positive images. I didn’t have the concentration for books and still don’t much of the time, but give me a wildlife magazine and I’m happy.

Reading about the natural world has progressed to learning more about how we are damaging the planet, and how we can all limit this damage. And I’ve found that although I can’t do everything I can do the following:

Buy second-hand or Fair trade clothes
Wash clothes on a low temperature
Only boil the water I need (which has the added bonus of making the kettle lighter)
Switch to using fewer chemicals in the home
Sort the paper and glass recycling crates with help from my son
Encourage my son to be interested in the natural world, to grow things, to look after things
Stop buying so much stuff
Recycle plastic bags from my online order back to the supermarket

The house I rent also has good draft proofing, a no junk mail sign, and a rain tank in the garden. The plants have a fighting chance of surviving since I started using it, as collecting rainwater involves no bending. Plus it’s really near the plants that need watering.

Having a chronic illness forced me to slow down, to notice things more. It was only through becoming disabled that I got into photography. It’s why I called my blog The Beauty Offensive. And it’s why I now care very much about the environment. I can’t say I thought about it all that much before I became disabled.

• Visit The Beauty Offensive

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At 03:31 PM on 06 Jul 2007, The Goldfish wrote:

Another way that disability, particularly incapacity from work, might make us more conscious of this stuff is simply being somewhat hard-up. For every bit of electricity or petrol we save, for all the bits and pieces bought second-hand or free-cycled, we're saving money. Which is always good.

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At 04:14 PM on 06 Jul 2007, seahorse wrote:

Very true. I was thinking as I wrote 'stop buying so much stuff' that having no money kind of helps where that's concerned. And it does make you recycle, reuse, freecycle and buy secondhand a lot more. And that sort of makes up for the baths and taxis.

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At 04:16 PM on 06 Jul 2007, Flash Bristow wrote:

You can also get a pair of sandals made out of your old jeans thanks to www.recycleyourjeans.com - I live in sandals because any shoe that isn't completely flat exascerbates my knee pain, but at last I can have funky ones which are good for the environment!

I also do the things you list, and it's no trouble (in fact all that recycling means I don't end up with heavy binbags that I can't lift) but I am amazed at how few people bother. It's not hard!

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At 06:12 PM on 06 Jul 2007, seahorse wrote:

I totally agree about recycling. If you find lifting stuff difficult, it makes perfect sense to break it down into more manageable amounts.

Love the sound of your funky sandals...will check out the link :-)

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