‘Live Green’ – it’s what we all want to try and do isn’t it, to live our lives more simply, more sustainably, more in harmony with our natural environment. We’ve all seen the distressing images of plastic floating in our oceans and heard the news of how the earth is heating up and that time is running out to save it before irreparable damage is done. It’s not surprising that people may feel a sense of environmental guilt – I know I do. I share pictures regularly on this blog of the beautiful places I visit and then I think to myself about the things I’ve thrown away, the plastic I still buy and it doesn’t sit well with me. I feel that I’m not doing anywhere near enough.
However, in this arena of ‘green’ living and sustainability, I am a learner. If I want to make changes, I need to seek the advice and expertise of those who are ‘in the know’, who live it and who can speak with some authority. And if, like me, you’ve tried to Google these subjects, you know the information can be confusing and often conflicting. It can be difficult to know where to start. This is where Jen Chillingsworth’s book ‘Live Green’ comes in.
Jen is the author of the blog Little Birdie where she writes about slow and simple living, eating seasonally and green issues. I’ve been following her blog for quite a few years , so long in fact I can’t remember now how I first discovered it. I love her quiet, calm tone, her beautiful images and the authenticity of her writing. And I would attribute my own journey to live more simply to reading her blog.
Published earlier this year, ‘Live Green’ builds on the themes that run through Jen’s blog and is a collection of 52 tips and changes you can make in your home and lifestyle over the course of a year to help you move towards a more considered, more sustainable and ‘greener’ way of living. It’s a compact little book, covering topics such as the Eco Household, Eat Green, Slow Fashion, Natural Beauty and Simple Christmas. Beautifully illustrated, informative, practical but not patronising, it acts as a really useful guide, a book that you can keep referring back to as and when you feel ready to make some changes towards simpler and more sustainable living.
As I read through the chapters, I found that some things I already do – for example when it comes to my home, I normally buy second hand furniture over new because that’s my preference. When it comes to the garden, I try to buy plants that bees will love because I know bees need our help and it makes me happy to see them. I keep my reusable shopping bags in the car so they are always to hand when I need them. And in terms of my overall lifestyle, I definitely consume less than I did a few years ago because I feel less need to (and my bank balance thanks me for it).
In other areas, though, I know I can do more, particularly in terms of cleaning and grocery shopping. For example, I think we could follow Jen’s advice and
- Reduce our food waste through better planning and make evening meals less of a stress after work by batch cooking.
- Spend less of my precious weekend cleaning (and more time having fun) by spreading the chores out through the week.
- Avoid the use of a chemical laden cleaner to clean the oven by tackling stains sooner.
- Save money by simplifying the multitude of cleaning fluids we have stored under the kitchen sink
- Look for plastic free alternatives when food shopping to reduce the amount of plastic we put in the recycling bin.
In effect, reading through the book helped me do a ‘self audit’ and these are the things that struck a cord with me, that I think with a bit of time and effort initially we could turn into longer term lifestyle habits. These changes won’t happen overnight and I don’t kid myself into thinking that I may achieve them all. After a stressful day at work, for example, I think I may well struggle with adding some cleaning chores to the list of things to do. I guess I will have to see what works and what doesn’t and I’ll share any progress I make. And that’s the key I think, and something that Jen refers to in her book – to be sustainable, it has to be sustainable to you. And if this is something you want to begin or do more of, then I think that’s the positive and inspirational message to take from this thought provoking book.
You can find Jen’s blog at www.little-birdie.com
And you can find ‘Live Green: 52 steps for a more sustainable life’ here
Have you been trying to Live Green? Feel free to share any tips in the comments below.
Have a lovely Thursday x