Thursday, November 8, 2007

Living more with less part 2

I found the following list from Living More with Less to be very insightful. This is a compilation of suggestions for "development projects" (for North Americans) given by Europeans and Asians who had lived in North America for at least one year. I wrote down some of my own thoughts in red to accompany each suggestion.

  • Build an energy-efficient public transportation network among small towns and cities. I have a difficult time imagining this in rural Iowa. We walk or ride bikes when we can, but winter is almost here!

  • Learn to cook simple, nutritious meals (consume less meat and fats, add more fruits and vegetables, decrease amount of waste). Because I don't eat or prepare red meat, we have a lot of vegetarian meals. I do eat poultry, but I always use less in a recipe than it calls for. I think our family eat more fruits and veggies, especially in the winter, but we make every effort to not waste food.

  • Use fewer kitchen appliances. (Cook only once a day, cut food smaller to decrease cooking time) This is an interesting suggestion! I do try to group baking projects together to decrease oven usage, and I'm starting to use my crock pot more.

  • Live without disposables, set up community systems for repair and recycling, reduce waste. I definitely want to do better with this. It often seems easiest to me with a baby to use disposable products, but I need to look for places where we can improve. Currently, we recycle aluminum and newspaper, but I recently found out there's a place in our area that will accept glass and "shiny" paper as well.
  • Plant home and community gardens. We've had a lot of success with our garden, and highly recommend it!

  • Value family ties and friendship above making money. Yes, so vital! One of the things I appreciate about my husband is that having a lot of money and possessions is not important to him.

  • Build simpler, less expensive church facilities. I'm intrigued by this suggestion right now as our church has plans to build in the next couple of years.

Of course, any nation or group of people could offer suggestions for improvement to another. I share this list merely as a challenge--it is not meant to tear down or exalt anyone, but to say, "We can all do better!"


Niki RuralWritings said...

I did borrow this book from the library, I think I'd like to find a copy for my own. It gives a person lots of food for thought! Her cookbook is one of my favourites.

Judy said...

This book sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for posting about it.

Anonymous said...

Some of these are perfect for individuals -- such as using fewer disposables and gardening -- but the bigger issues such as transportation require a lot more cooperation and money -- therefore seem less likely to actually become a reality.

In a perfect world....

Thanks for this post! Love you, Mom

Anonymous said...

These are great ideas! I'm proud of you for making an effort. It seems that this part of the country makes some of these efforts easier and some more difficult. Ah, psuedo-rural life!
Thanks, Carrie! Love, Sara

Katie said...

I am so inspired by your sense of stewardship - it really has inspired me to think about how I can be a better steward of all that has been entrusted to me - thank you so much for being an encouragement in this regard!

Bless you,

A, B & C said...

I loved this post and it has a lot I can speak to. We really need to work at conservation in this country. I take my own bags to the store and people look at me like I'm a crazy bag lady. Americans were always shocked when they visited us in France (soon Italy) that plastic bags at the grocery stores cost money. The French just bring their own bags to save money.
I do agree though that public trasnportation is an unrealistic goal is many places. The US is really too vast and spread out. Most of rural France uses their cars daily.
I also agree about focusing on relationships and family over money and things. We saw my cousin a few weeks ago and all he could talk about was his big house and how his work just bought him a flat screen TV for his office. My husband and I spend most of our extra money on three things: charitable giving, retirement, and travel.

Susan said...

I enjoyed this post too. I am with Abbey, Europeans are so good about the bag thing and conservation. It has challenged me. Would love to have the transportation system of Europe. But they are taxed 50% for it. Stewardship is an evergrowing subject to me. I enjoy your posts as you explore this and encourage readers, like myself.

Leah in Iowa said...

So many great ideas, Carrie! You inspire me to do better as well!

Amy A. said...

I love getting to know your heart through your blog. I'm sure we all agree there is a lot of room for improvement, especially in this culture.

One area I go back and forth about is the church facility issue. I agree that buildings do not need to be our focus, but there is something about a beautiful building that can inspire awe and worship and creativity. Going to church in a steel building has never appealed to me. Of course, I choose the steel building over the cathedral everytime if I'm made to feel welcome and loved.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Carrie, for making me more aware of my stewardhip responsibilities.
I do recycle aluminum cans,newspapers,cardboard, steel cans, plastic & glass. I am guilty of using too many disposables (especially when I have company, as I don't have a dishwasher.)
I do try to bake/cook more than one thing at a time and I'm becoming much more concious of not letting lights burn & not letting the water run too long, since I have been reading your blog!
As for churches; I don't think they should be elaborate or extravagant, but I do think we need to have our house of worship look as inviting & clean as possible. It is God's house and we need to give it our best.

As for public transportation, I don't use it much, but we do have the MetroLink nearby now & Mary does use it to/from the airport usually.

Keep up the good work, Honey. I am proud of you.

Love you, Grandma

Sarah Markley said...

These are some great ideas. I like the idea of cooking once a day or using the crockpot (fun in winter anyway). I try to reuse things whenever possible and I look forward to potty training my youngest so no more dipaers!

I agree that this sounds like an interesting book!

Mary Ann said...

I really enjoy your posts on stewardship, Carrie. The church one was interesting to me. Mainly because in the last year our church has gone from meeting in a rented facility to meeting in the homes and doing several Home Fellowships. I never thought about it being really a stewardship issue before, except that the money that used to be used for funding a facility and programs can now be put directly towards missions and different needs in the body of Christ. We also share a meal together each Sunday with each family/individual contributing. We love this-relationships are being built in this smaller more intimate setting and we are using the resources we already have(our houses).

Thought I would share this as another side to the simple church building.:-)