Posts filed under ‘Frugal Living’

What Can We Do?

Tapajós River in the Amazon © Todd Southgate / Greenpeace

At the University of Minnesota Dr. Nate Hagens teaches an honours course called “Reality 101: A Survey of the Human Predicament.” Hagens operated his own hedge fund on Wall Street until he glimpsed, “a serious disconnect between capitalism, growth, and the natural world. Money did not appear to bring wealthy clients more well being.

”Reality 101 addresses humanity’s toughest challenges: economic decline, inequality, pollution, biodiversity loss, and war. Students learn about systems ecology, neuroscience, and economics. “We ask hard questions,” says Hagens. “What is wealth? What are the limits to growth? We attempt to face our crises head on.”

Some students feel inspired to action, and some report finding the material “depressing.” One student shared the course material with a family member, who asked, “So what can I do?” The student struggled to answer this question, and the listener chastised her: “why did you explain all this to me, if you can’t tell me what to do?!”

A fair question. One that, as environmentalists, we often get asked. At the request of Dr Hagens, here is my list: Read What Can We Do? by Rex Weyler at Greenpeace.

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December 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Degrowth in the suburbs

So what would become of the suburbs if we gave up fossil fuels and moved toward a low-energy, post-carbon society beyond growth?

Suburban catastrophists like James Kunstler in the US argue that fossil fuel depletion will imminently render the suburban landscape an inhospitable wasteland. Such curdled imaginations fail to recognise suburbia’s latent capacity to become something new.

Inspired by research and advocacy from the likes of Ivan IllichDavid Holmgren, and Ted Trainer, we see the suburbs as an ideal place to begin retrofitting our cities according to a new vision of prosperity. 

Read Degrowth in the suburbs by Dr Samuel Alexander and Brendan Gleeson at Ecologist.

November 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm Leave a comment

20 habits of frugal people

It takes serious strategy to save serious money.

Unless you’ve won the lottery, acquiring wealth takes a lot of hard work. Not only do you have to put years into a career, but you also have to be disciplined about keeping the money you make. People who are serious about growing their bank accounts usually have frugal lifestyle habits that make saving go more quickly. By implementing some (or all) of these habits in your own life, you can supercharge your savings rate and enjoy a richer life, in every sense of the word.

1. Frugal people prepare food from scratch. They refuse to pay a premium for convenience, preferring to make their own meals and freeze extras for emergency meals. They avoid eating out.

Read 20 habits of frugal people by Katherine Martinko at Treehugger.

October 1, 2018 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

Tips on Freezing the Harvest

It’s that time of year—the garden is bulging with fresh produce and you’re spending lots of time in a steaming kitchen preserving it all. I find freezing preferable to canning for a number of reasons.

For one, when it’s time to prepare a meal with my preserved garden goodness, frozen foods tend to be brighter, fresher, and all-around tastier. And relatively speaking, it’s fast and easy.

Over the years, I’ve come up with a few tips to make freezing even easier. Use these freezing hacks to help the environment, too.

Read Tips on Freezing the Harvest by Carole Coates at Mother Earth News.

September 12, 2018 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

12 Ways to Stop Wasting Money and Take Control of Your Stuff

In my work as a consumer psychologist and author, I’ve read countless studies about consumer behavior, and I’ve conducted plenty of research on my own, interviewing hundreds of shoppers about how, when, and why they shop. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to avoid piling up too much stuff and how to stop making unnecessary, excessive, and ultimately unsatisfying purchases.

Read12 Ways to Stop Wasting Money and Take Control of Your Stuff by Kit Yarrow at Money.

August 13, 2018 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

10 overlooked low-tech ways of keeping your home cool

Summer is here and the air is full of the the sound of whining air conditioners, all seriously sucking kilowatts. Yet much of that air conditioning load could be reduced or the air conditioning season shortened if we did simple things, many of them common before air conditioning was common in North America. Here are some low-tech tips for keeping cool.

The best ideas are those that keep the heat out of your home in the first place, rather than paying to pump it out after it gets in.

Read 10 overlooked low-tech ways of keeping your home cool by Lloyd Alter at Treehugger.

August 1, 2018 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Seed Saving 101: 10 Things to Know If You Want to Start Saving Seeds

Image result for home seed saving

Beans. That’s right. If you want to start saving seeds, we recommend beans. Or peas. Why? Legumes are by far the easiest seeds to save, and among the easiest to germinate. You can’t go wrong. With that, let’s learn more about the basics of seed saving.

In order for a plant like lettuce to produce seed, you must wait for it to send up its gangly flower stalks, which eventually produce tiny seed pods. By this time. the lettuce leaves are becoming yellow, shriveled, and bitter. It’s the same with most crops—you don’t get to eat it and save the seed; it’s either one or the other. The good news is that a single plant produces many seeds. So you usually need to grow only a few extra for seed-saving purposes.

Read Seed Saving 101: 10 Things to Know If You Want to Start Saving Seeds by Modern Farmer.

July 23, 2018 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

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