They’re hard for me to live up to, too – I remember a winter living in a campervan with my then-husband and toddler on the coasts of Charente Maritime in France in one of the coldest winters on record, sometimes as low as 13 below zero in the daytime, breaking ice on buckets of cold water to wash out my daughter’s cloth nappies, which then festooned the van as I attempted to dry them, rather than succumb to disposable nappies. (The good aspect was that for at least two months that late autumn and early winter we were able to live almost entirely on foraged food from the coastline and in the forests.)
So I live a fairly frugal lifestyle by most of our Western standards – and very rich by those of many other less fortunate nations.
My big driving motivation is to avoid buying foods or products that involve serious depletion or pollution of the ecosphere, and animal suffering. This means, for me:
- being mainly vegan, though I do eat some eggs, free range only. For many years I relied heavily on dairy, as a veggie; but a) it’s not actually terribly good for us – something like 80% of adults don’t have the enzyme properly to digest cow’s milk – and b) eating cheese, for instance, even when it’s Soil Association accredited to guarantee organic status and, importantly, a reasonable degree of animal welfare, and even if it uses non-animal rennet rather than calf-stomach-extract rennet, still means that calves are taken from their mothers too early, and a high proportion of them slaughtered sooner or later. I also:
- don’t buy convenience or processed foods
- or disposable anythings, including kitchen paper and tissues (except loo-paper – recycled, naturally) - that is except very rarely some tin foil, and sponges for washing up, and I’m about to revert to good old-fashioned washable cloths for the latter
- don’t use any kind of chemical product in the house or garden
- keep driving to a minimum; and almost never fly
- almost never shop in supermarkets or multinationals generally
- try not to buy anything that’s prepackaged or comes from another continent/is out of season (except tea)
- and especially try to avoid plastics and petrochemical products generally if at all possible.