Starting out in permaculture
There's never been a more exciting time to be involved in permaculture. Things have changed enormously over the last few years, and it is now easier than ever to learn about permaculture, and get support for all the practical things you need to do to reduce your eco-footprint, and get started on a permaculture project at home or in your community.
There are many simple ways that you can reduce your impact on the Earth, and improve your quality of life. Read a permaculture book, attend a course or get involved with local projects to find out more. The following list includes actions which will help to significantly reduce your impact on the earth. Permaculture isn't about following other people's rules, and some of the suggestions might not be right for you. The most important thing is to think about your own situation and develop an action plan that is appropriate for you.
Think about what you eat and where it comes from. Actions may include:
- Eating less animal products and processed food.
- Eating locally grown food wherever possible and supporting local growers or box schemes.
- Eating ethical and fairly traded for the things you can't get locally.
- Eating as large a proportion of your diet in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Think about how you travel. Actions may include:
- Getting rid of your car, taking up cycling, walking more often.
- Joining a car share scheme, or sharing one with a friend. (www.liftshare.org, www.carclubs.org.uk , www.nationalcarshare.co.uk, www.shareajourney.com)
- Getting local bus timetables and rail timetables and finding out what services are available.
- Avoiding travelling on planes - the most destructive form of transport.
Think about your home and garden. Actions may include:
- Insulating your house and doing an energy audit.
- Turning down the thermostat 1 or 2 degrees and wearing a jumper instead.
- Switching to a green electricity supplier, for example ecotricity.
- Installing a rain water harvesting system for watering your garden.
- Setting up a compost bin or wormery.
- Becoming a recycling maniac, and taking pleasure in finding new uses for old things!
- Re-designing your garden and planting fruit trees and bushes, herbs and vegetables.
- Changing your cleaning products to non-toxic alternatives. (Women's Environmental Network factsheet - pdf.)
- When purchasing electrical goods, looking for good energy rated products.
Think about your money and how it is spent. Actions may include:
- Being an ethical shopper - reading the labels and investigating alternatives.
- Transfering to an ethical bank with clear policies for how they invest your money.
- Trying an ethical pension scheme.
- Making a regular investment in groups providing solutions and practical action for sustainability (like us!)
- Joining a credit union.