Before I begin to respond to the epic eco adventure planned for this chapter. I would like to take a small step back and reflect on the overall theme of the month that inspired Andy’s sustainability challenge. “The environment”
The term itself may mean different things to different people, but when I chose this theme as one of six for the Living Chapters year, I secretly hoped that I would be challenged in two areas: 1. How I engage with my physical environment (natural or man-made) and 2. How I consume the resources that our environment provides us.
We all experience our physical environments very differently therefore we also engage and consume in different ways. Coming from different backgrounds, and living in different places we all begin at varied starting points.
So before diving head first into the compost bin, I’d like to take this first week to focus on becoming more aware of my immediate environment and my direct consumption patterns. Understanding where we are coming from and what we consume seems like it should be the first step in this “Eco-Awareness Game”.
So here is a quick snapshot of my own starting point:
My home/residence: I currently live in Annapolis, MD. For the past 5 months, I’ve lived aboard “Chasing Gwian” a 30-foot sailboat. On that boat my electric bill never went over $28 a month. I also did not have running water to use or waste. In some aspects, I was living relatively simply and efficiently. At the beginning of this month, I moved onto “Meridan Summer”, a 31-foot sailboat with running water, a somewhat working galley (kitchen) and much more space to heat or cool. Moving up in comfort definitely means moving up in energy usage.
Energy Consumption: My primary source of travel right now is by car. For my job, I luckily can do most of my work from a laptop computer from any place. However, I am asked to commute to a Baltimore City office once or twice a week (30 miles one way) and the majority of my work this month will be at on-site events and activities in Southern Maryland communities (50- 100 miles from Annapolis). I also commute to Mechanicsburg, PA (120 miles one way) to see and help with family at least once or twice a month. Since I left my last long-term leased apartment in Baltimore (over 2 years ago now), let’s just say I have been on the road. Even though I have a very gas efficient Toyota compact car, my use of fuel is astronomical! I may have spent more money in gas than I have in rent in the past two years!
Water consumption: I use toilet and shower facilities in a shared marina. Before moving into the marina, I had given very little thought to my water consumption. I love long showers and hot baths! Since making the choice to live aboard I have become more aware of both my water and electricity usage. The change of lifestyle directly changed my habits whether I wanted to or not.
Food consumption: I have no set patterns of where I purchase my food and I often eat out as I have not lived with a proper kitchen for more than a year now. Currently I do have a small garden bearing only some herbs, bolting greens and one thriving pepper plant (not enough food to sustain myself on) I enjoy going to farmers markets but often feel like I can’t afford to shop at them but have occasionally treated myself to the better food and more eco-friendly choices. The bottom line is this: choosing the right food has always been a mystery for me… organic, local, free range, sustainable… can someone help me out?
At first glance this game looks like its going to be ridiculously tedious and hard. But I KNOW this will be rewarding if I can come up with some fun and creative solutions.
So please, if you will – join Andy and I in this game – go here and sign up to play. Or illuminate me with some creative and fun solutions to all these enviro-friendly challenges. Post to the blog or on the Living Chapters Facebook page – Cause like Kermit and Andy have said “It’s not easy being green”. We need your help!
Last month I learned that simple logic tells us less is more…I am going to try to stick to that mantra as I move forward.
Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about.
To get a taste of what it would be like to live on a boat yourself check out Sleeponaboat.com Greg, who runs this website, rents me the boat I am on and would like to connect both boat owners and individuals looking for a weekend stay or live aboard experience. I can only endorse this idea. I LOVE IT!
We enjoyed this post. We spend fall, winter and spring in Point Hope, a small Eskimo village in Arctic Alaska. This is a whaling community, and subsistence hunting and gathering are still integral to the culture here. during the summer months we living aboard our 37-foot sailboat in the marina at Seward, Alaska. A certain portion of our summer is devoted to harvesting enough wild salmon, halibut and rockfish to see us through the year. Our electricity bills on our boat average $27 a month – and that’s including the $20 hook-up fee we pay each month. We emphasize harvesting wild-caught, sustainable populations of fish. When we purchase groceries, we strive for free-range, organic products. Whenever possible, we seek out locally produced fare – even when it costs a little more.
As you note, food, fuel consumption, water use and acquisition of material goods represent complex sets of choices. These are issues we think about every day. Cheers.
RE: right food – have you considered a solar cooker? Check out Solar Cooking International as a great source of info on the subject. Combine that with a high fruits and veggie diet would be healthy and inexpensive. Just a thought.
I love this idea – have you used one before?
This is the perfect blog for everyone who wishes to understand this topic.
You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).
You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been written about for ages.
Great stuff, just excellent!
Thanks for your positive feedback – I feel like there is so much to learn about creating better environmental habits that will work for us in our own lives – please share any ideas or experiences that you have had.
Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look.
I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and
will be tweeting this to my followers! Superb blog and amazing style and design.
Thank you for your kind words and support. I appreciate you sharing my year long challenges with your followers! Be well!