"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Our Aim

Our aim  is to return to a simpler existence - an off-the-grid lifestyle - a chronicle of our family's attempt (via recycled goods, solar power / solar cooking, wind turbines, LED lights, double glazing etc) to make a positive contribution to our amazing planet and to lower our ecological footprint

"Humanity needs what nature provides, but how do we know how much we have to use?"

The start of our green journey... 

(Pewter footprint & image is the property of
Eco-Footprint - South Africa
 and may not be reproduced without permission)
The purpose of this blog is to share all the eco-friendly information I have gathered over many months with anyone in South Africa who would like to live a more eco-friendly way on a daily basis in order to reduce their ecological footprint. All the information / items I have sourced took ages to find, for there is no main directory on the Net that lists sites in South Africa which can help us to lessen our eco-footprint or which supply ecologically friendly products – just as there is a dearth of shops in this country devoted to only selling eco-friendly items. We are a long way behind Europe and America! Africa is the Cradle of Humankind, and we should be at the front of the race to reduce our eco-footprint.

My grandson, Michael, always says: “sharing is caring” – so how better can I care about our impact on this planet except through sharing my albeit (limited) knowledge with other like minded souls. May I hasten to add that my blog is by no means an extensive source of information at the moment, but I am confident that with information coming in from visitors to my blog, we can, together, build a comprehensive source of eco-friendly information.

It would be wonderful to have a single website which was a veritable mine of South African ecologically friendly information, and the more that visitors share their "green" snippets with me, the more we can, together, create that. Plus, to get first hand information on eco-friendly products will certainly help with the "whittling" process. Please send me your information, no matter how insignificant you think it is. Together we can reduce our eco-footprint - we just have to care enough to share.

We hope that the eco-friendly journey RMan and I are embarking on will enable our children, and especially our grandson, to discover that living an eco-friendly lifestyle does not necessarily mean there need to be drastic changes to ones lifestyle.

February 2008

Quote from Maropeng : Your ecological footprint

Have you ever noticed your footprints in the sand? When you step, you leave a mark which can last a long time after you have left. In the same way, humans place pressure on the environment by the way they live their lives. Scientists came up with the idea of the “ecological footprint” to show how hard we tread on the Earth’s resources. How large is your ecological footprint? The size of your ecological footprint depends on how much biologically productive land and water you require to live your life. You can reduce your eco-footprint by not wasting electricity and water, cycling or walking to places close by rather than driving, and eating locally produced rather than imported food. The average South African’s ecological footprint is 2.8 hectares of food, fibre, timber, land and energy, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s 2001 Living Planet report. But the Earth can only support an average of 1.8 hectares per person. Can we afford to take more than our fair share of resources from the Earth? Every person can make a difference by changing her or his pattern of behaviour. The quantity of resources you require to continue living the way you do is called your “ecological footprint”. In 2001, the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet report estimated that populations on Earth had an eco-footprint about 20% bigger than what the Earth could sustain. This means humans are taking more than what the Earth can replenish in a given year. We are running up an ecological debt and soon the Earth’s “natural capital” will run out. We cannot sustain this trend.
( http://www.maropeng.co.za/index.php/exhibition_guide/footprint/)
Definition of an ecological footprint

An ecological footprint is the area required to provide the goods and services consumed by individuals, communities or organisations. It can also be derived for products or for particular activities. Using an 'area equivalence' expressed as 'global hectares', the ecological footprint expresses how much of nature's renewable bioproductive capacity (or 'interest') we are currently appropriating. If more of nature's interest is consumed than is available (i.e. nature's 'capital' is being reduced), then it is possible to assume that the rate of consumption is not sustainable
(Chambers et al., 2000).

Transient Caretakers
The above is a beautiful, thought provoking phrase which captures exactly who we are on this planet. Below are two quotes from this very informative book of the same name:

"This is our world today and as good caretakers, we have a responsibility to understand the changes that are taking place and to take action to ensure a sustainable future for our children and the planet - our home."

"When our demands for resources continuously exceed that which nature can continually supply, we move into a condition known as an "ecological overshoot", where resources are consumed faster than they are produced or renewed, and eventually become depleted. The result is a completely changed world in which it would be difficult or impossible to find clean water, fish and thick forests filled with wildlife."
Transient Caretakers written by Mervyn King with Teodorina Lessidrenska


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