Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sustainable Living

"When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world."
- John Muir

I remember watching a movie about John Muir with my sister Kris when I was younger. One of the things I remember most is John exclaiming with a rich scottish brogue to his abusive father's inquiry to his well-being as he dug a water well so deep he began breathing toxic fumes, "Fine! Perfect! Spleeendid!"

The other thing I remember is the love this man had for nature and preserving it. He was a huge moving force in the establishment of Yosemite National Park and was a co-founder of the Sierra Club. I really respect his views of nature and his passion for preservation, though there is a clear difference between preservation and conservation. I lean more towards conservation. Preservation says we need to protect things so they can stay the way they are, unadulterated and pure. Conservation says we need to use what is around us wisely while continually rebuilding what we tear down so we don't lose quality or quantity of our resources. I think nature needs to be respected and cared for, but I strongly believe God created it to serve people's basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing - not just as a spiritual oasis, as Muir saw it.

The important thing I want to draw from this is that God created the world with order, and everything is connected. If we want to be healthy and live rich lives, we need to care for the things around us and reinvest in the things we use. Hence my interest in sustainable living.

One great resource I've been digging into lately has been Mother Earth News ( My dad recently bought Steve and I the entire archive of the magazine articles from 1970-2009. It's amazing!

I grew up learning how to garden in the Midwest U.S. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest and so much is different. It's wetter and the winters are more mild. The growing seasons start earlier, but they aren't super long. The sun doesn't show up very often. The weather can be scorchingly dry in the summer, but the fall and the spring are sopping wet. It can be quite a challenge. The ME news archive has so many articles about gardening in the Northwest and how to enrich your soil. I can hardly wait to plant my tomato seeds! The DVD is an archive that allows you to search almost 20 years of sustainable living information. It's quite brilliant. Here's a screenshot of how it works:

It displays in your web browser. I prefer the split-view format. I can search in the white text box on the left, and it will display the search results below. When you click on one of the blue links, it opens the article on the right side. Articles contain hyperlinks that make it easy to find other helpful information on similar topics. Enough of my plugging. I think you get the idea. :)

Gardening is a great way to begin sustainable living. It's simple to do in an urban setting as well. There are other areas though, including farming, food, electricity, etc. The list goes on. I have to admit my favorite is food. My friend Kirstin just sent me a link for making your own homemade yogurt. What a great idea! Not only is the recipe great, there are also really great links on the side of the blog as well. That's how I found the link for making my own jiffy pots. Check it out when you have time:

We would love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this topic!

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