UPDATE: Zero Waste Home – South Africa Tour 2017

Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home is the guru of the Zero Waste lifestyle. She is inspiring people around the world by sharing her journey through social media and being invited to give talks around the world. She has given 100+ speeches in 20+ countries on 5 continents, since 2011. She has spoken at The European Parliament, United Nations, Google, Adobe and more.

So imagine my joy when she asked if I would be interested in helping getting her to South Africa in May! Especially as she is the one who inspired me to start my journey.

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Photo taken from Zero Waste Home.com

If you or your company are interested in assisting with sponsoring, making a donation towards the cost, or even hosting a talk, but would like any further information, please do get in touch with me to chat about it. You can reach me on mrscolleenblack@gmail.com.

Once we have venues confirmed, an event page will be created for each location, and all sponsors will be promoted via these pages. In the meanwhile, please express your interest on the event page on Facebook by selecting “Interested” or “Going”.

Our major sponsors are EcoJarz and Faithful to Nature.  We also have support from Ecoffee Cup SA and KURO-Bō Activated Charcoal.

Thank you to our organisers – Eco Atlas, Rethink the Bag / Two Oceans Aquarium and Food & Trees for Africa.

Zero Waste Home Tour SA Cover

5th May – Cape Town – Two Oceans Aquarium (Organiser: Rethink the Bag)
6th May – Plettenberg Bag – Beacon Island Resort (Organiser: Eco Atlas)
8th May – Durban – venue to be confirmed (Organiser:Food & Trees for Africa)
9th May – Johannesburg – venue to be confirmed (Organiser:Food & Trees for Africa)

Please do help spread the word by sharing this info and reaching out to your contacts so that we can make this a reality! Invite your friends, tag them, share this post, phone your friends, talk to relevant businesses, do whatever it takes!
If you would like to support this, you or your business can make a pledge on our crowdfunder on ThundaFund.

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VIDEO: Dame Ellen MacArthur

This video clip is quite old but I just love it.  Listen to the surprising thing that Dame Ellen MAcArthur learned sailing solo around the world!

“What do you learn when you sail around the world on your own? When solo sailor Ellen MacArthur circled the globe – carrying everything she needed with her – she came back with new insight into the way the world works, as a place of interlocking cycles and finite resources, where the decisions we make today affect what’s left for tomorrow. She proposes a bold new way to see the world’s economic systems: not as linear, but as circular, where everything comes around.”

The change seems to be in your wallet!

A zero waste lifestyle (or the attempt at one), is not something that just happens, it happens as we educate ourselves, grow, motivate each other and grow even more!

Everywhere we look we are told we should recycle.  If we recycle, we are doing our bit for the planet. But you soon discover recycling is not actually the answer. Reducing the packaging you buy, that needs to be recycled, that is the answer. Just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean it gets recycled. We need to give more thought to what happens to things we purchase & consume not just when they are in our hands. What happens to that plastic bag or tin after you have placed it in the recycling bin?

greener-grassYou then start thinking further, about who is producing your food, how they are doing it and what effect their processes have on our planet.  Whilst we should be super conscious of what we eat, what we buy, our waste, our electricity, water and fuel consumption … what about the shops and organisations we support?  If they are not making careful and considerate choices behind the scenes and doing the best they can to care for the environment, should we be supporting them? For example, the restaurant that doesn’t even recycle, uses disposable cutlery, and sends tons of food waste to landfill and does who knows what else?! Should we be supporting them?

We have so much power in our wallets.  Give your support and hard earned money to the businesses who care; who care not just about you and giving you the best, but by doing their best for the environment at the same time. We each have the power to make a difference.  Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like we are making a difference – but trust me – we are!

The way we will make change is by being the change we want to see.  We need to not be discouraged when seeing other people using disposables, and by seeing all the litter. We need to just do our best with what we have.  Stay positive and just always do our best to vote with our wallets. It is so easy to get despondent when things don’t go as we hope, but this won’t benefit anyone.

I know, it is easier said than done.  I am not a crazy person who has taken leave of my corinthianssenses. But we really can make change by making better choices and voting with our wallets. Be brave. If your local store is not meeting your needs, let them know.  Don’t be a whinge bag about it, but just let them know that you love their products/service, and want to see them do well, and suggest some changes.  Don’t be disheartened when you don’t hear what you want to hear. Put yourself in their shoes, they might have thought they were doing fantastically (with what they knew). Just stay positive.  You have done your bit by letting them know, rather than just not supporting them without giving them a chance.

There is a South African website called Eco Atlas; a platform for ethical businesses to advertise their establishments or products, as long as they meet certain criteria. If you are going on holiday, why not choose a guest house who has proven to make good choices.  Also see what shops, products or restaurants are in your local area.  Maybe you know a business that should be listed, nominate them!

Eco Atlas is a great platform to help us seek out the organisations who are really doing their best to care for our earth and it’s people and animals.  Help Eco Atlas grow to make it easier for people all over the country to educate and motivate each other and vote with their wallets. Also check out their Facebook page, lots of info to educate and inspire change.

No I am not saying you mustn’t recycle – I am saying stop buying so much stuff that needs to be recycled.  I am saying you must reduce your single use packaging, especially plastic.

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Some basic water saving tips in South Africa

JoJo Water South AfricaMost parts of our beautiful country are in desperate need of rain.  There have been many prayer meetings and posts circulating about it, but unfortunately, when we do then get a bit of rain, we all seem to quickly forget!  But we still have not had nearly enough rain.

Many dams are still bone dry, many towns have no water or water restrictions.  Farmers crops (our food), are still suffering as are animals, both farm and those in the wild.  The Vaal dam is currently at 27%! The Vaal supplies the Gauteng area – so every time you switch on your tap – you are contributing to the emptying of this dam!

There are a gazillion different ways to save water – here are just some of the super easy ones.  Another idea – print off a picture of the dam or farmers suffering crop and stick it on your fridge or in your bathroom cabinet.  Or put a memo up to remind yourselves to continually pray for rain.

In the bathroom:

  • Make sure you have the water reducing tap and shower heads.
  • Shower rather than bath
  • Take navy showers (switch off water between soaping, shaving, scrubbing etc)
  • Keep a bucket at your feet to collect water whilst showering
  • Place a water saving “brick” or bottle filled with water in the cistern
  • Place a tub under tap to collect water whilst waiting for it to get hot
  • If it’s yellow let it mellow ….
  • Fine family members for taking long showers!

In the kitchen:

  • Place a tub under tap to collect water whilst waiting for it to get hot
  • Place soap on scourer and wash dishes, then quick rinse rather than filling sink with water
  • Wait till you have a load of dishes rather than bit by bit
  • Leave the tub in the sink to catch water from washing hands
  • Use eco friendly soap, then you can use dirty water to water plants

General:

  • Get a jojo or drum to collect rain water from gutters
  • If you can afford it – install a grey water system
  • Leave buckets / large tubs outside instead of storing indoors, to collect rainwater (amazing how fast these fill)
  • If you must wash your car, try and wash it on the lawn. Use a bucket of water (ideally water you have been collecting) rather and be super frugal with the hose.
  • Use lots of mulch in your flower and veg beds to keep moisture in.
  • When watering plants, only do so super early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid evaporation.
  • Don’t use a hose to clean patios and driveways – use a broom
  • Don’t encourage water toys with kids – great opportunity to educate them why!
  • Educate kids on turning taps on gently and turning off tightly – and why.
  • Check all your taps and pipes for leaks and drips
  • When mowing the lawn, leave the cuttings on the lawn to cool the lawn and protect roots. Acts as a mulch.
  • Use drip irrigation rather than sprinklers where suitable

We can all play our part in saving water – where ever we are in the world, even when it is raining outside!

Feel free to share in the comments any other ideas of how you are saving water.

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Ecoffee Cup now available

The amazingly gorgeous Ecoffee cup is now available from Life Lived Simply.  For just R189, you will be prepared to always proudly refuse single use takeaway cups.

There are 6 different designs and the cup is 340ml.  So next time you want to grab a takeaway coffee, just hand over your cup and the barista can place it in directly.  Some stores even offer small discounts for using your own cup.

Best of all, you can sip with the confidence of knowing you are not contributing to the 100 billion single use cups that end up in landfill.

What I love about this cup is that it is light, and whilst the manufacturers do admit to it not yet being perfect, they are working on it.  The bamboo cup is made from naturally organic, naturally sterile bamboo fibre sourced from managed plantations in Anji province in central China; combined with non-GMO corn starch and a resin binder. The sleeve and lid are made from high quality food grade silicone – which is made from silicon (silica) and oxygen. Both elements are recyclable. It is free of BPA and phthalates, and if you look after it it should last a lifetime. The cup is biodegradable, you just need to crush it, soak it in boiling water and then bury it in organic compost, and it will take 24 – 36 months to fully biodegrade.

I particularly love that it is standard coffee cup size, as this avoids confusion at the counters.  I have already chosen my cup! Fits perfectly in my handbag along with my folded up cotton shopping bag, Freshbag, stainless steel straw and reusable napkin – so I am always prepared and able to politely refuse the single use.

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I am working on the shop aspect of my site.  If you would like to order and Ecoffee cup, then drop me a line at mrscolleenblack@gmail.com. Check out the other waste producing products I have available too.

Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle & rot – always in that order.

The Best Birthday, Ever.

So today I turned 34. My husband and I don’t really do birthdays, not because we are grumpy non-joiners, we just don’t.

So this morning I opened my eyes after around 730am after a lazy snooze in, and my eyes welled up! All I could think was how I honestly couldn’t be happier, not because I have everything and life is perfect, but because I have finally got to the point where my joy is in Jesus. No parties or gifts could make me happier than knowing that God has blessed me with another year and has changed my heart. Our life on this earth is short, and it is all about the journey, it is all about eternity. Realising this life is so short is not about cramming in everything we can do to live a busy life, being so busy in jobs to pay for ‘all the things’.  It is about focusing on what would bring God joy, what would bring our loved ones joys.  I finally realise that.

I have received more inspirational birthday messages this year than I ever have in my life, and to hear that friends can see in my life that I am living for the Lord is the best gift I could ever receive. Which led to more tears!  Hormonal or not enough crochet & cake … who knows!?

In just over 2 years, my life has completely changed, and there is only God to thank for that.  It really makes me reconsider the birthday vibe in our home.  Maybe it is time to start celebrating the years God has blessed us with, now that I don’t see it as just celebrating ourselves and buying presents.

All I can say is, Thank you Jesus for my life.

 

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born. Isaiah 44:2

God doesn’t play dice.  Albert Einstein

Surely God would not have created such a being as man to exist only for a day! No, no, mad was made for immortality. Abraham Lincoln.