Experiments in sustainability

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Ongoing Experiments In Personal Sustainability

Even though this website has been up since 1998, I've hestitated to write directly about the way I live for a number of reasons. One is that I don't want to appear judgemental, boastful, or to be taking the moral high ground. Another is that, since 1988, I have been, and am, conducting a huge long-term experiment, so what I do keeps changing, and I can't guarantee that I'll keep up with the documentation of these changes on the website.
I'm on a journey of discovery, finding out what I can do in my personal life to reduce my environmental impact, without sacrificing a reasonable degree of comfort and quality of life. Especially as I am limited by being a tenant, not a home-owner, having only my Age Pension as income, and constantly having to adapt my strategies as my body ages - I was 70 in March 2008. Not having to work directly for my income does, of course, leave me free to choose how I spend my time, and living alone means that I can be as eccentric about my domestic arrangements as I like.
Many of these experiments are "micro-systems" and I particularly enjoy finding ways to re-use so-called rubbish.

But people do keep asking - so, briefly, here are some of the things I do, or have achieved so far:There are things I either can't avoid, or have chosen to do in spite of their environmental impact, such as buying an Australian brand of organic soy milk, which comes in recyclable containers, & using Fair Trade tea & coffee. I regard these as allowable treats, and make up for them by going OTT on other things.

When I updated this page in March 2008 we in Adelaide were experiencing a record-breaking heatwave, as well as being in the third year of serious drought. I noted:-
As so far I have resisted using air-conditioning, I am using a variety of strategies to keep myself and my house as cool as possible, and the garden thriving in spite of very necessary water restrictions. I'll let you know if I succeed in getting through this horrendous time without refrigerated air-conditioning. But I am already horrified by my dependence on electricity during the heat. I simply could no longer manage without my fridge/freezeror the fan. It's a sobering realisation!

I made it! without an air conditioner! At the worst times I lay on my tiled floor & let the tiles drag the heat from my body. But the garden, especially the trees, & the fans were usually sufficient. Hot nights, when opening the house up didn't reduce the temperture inside by much, were the worst.

Further Updates
Here's a link to the 'thingy' I wrote to hand out at my positively last ever open afternoon, on August 17th. 2008. This was updated in August 2010.

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The various strategies I use and have experimented with are documented pretty well on this website.
I'm happy to receive comments and feedback, and to answer serious questions - but please note it takes me a little longer to reply these days than it used to. Just use the email link below.

Some people have said they want to see a photo of me!! You can see a couple on: Radical Recycling and a couple more on Permaculture Journal 1999. I am older, but haven't changed much. Should still be recognisable from these!

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Margaret's Sustainability Articles

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URL - http://www.users.on.net/~arachne/experiments.html