Drum roll please…….

I have decided to keep the blog with the same format. I think that it was Geoff’s comment in the last post that helped clear my mind. Making stuff at home is the ultimate expression of sustainable living, and if that has not been the journey I have been travelling on, then you must be reading the wrong blog. The comment was so well written I have decided to repeat it here. If you want to see other wise words of wisdom from Geoff, you can catch him over at Flood Street Farmlet. Cheers Geoff.

“I think the cheesemaking is the most important outward manifestation of green-ness. It’s a renewed profession for a post-peak, relocalised, greener world that you’ll have for life.

You seem to have achieved most of the major external things that can make your immediate environment greener, and now you appear to be making your way along a path of internal change showing us that we can go beyond being consumers of green things to become producers of green things.

We will only have overcome the problems with our current economic structure when we have the larger percentage of household consumption being of things produced within that household.

You’re promoting the household economy, just as it was in our (great-)grandparent’s times. This is one of the greatest political and social statements we can make.

Perhaps a sideline (extra obsession?!) in wine making might round out the enterprise lol.”

Thanks to everyone who commented. Sometimes I just need a sanity check, and what better place to get good honest feedback than my blog! Oh, BTW I made more Camembert and some Caerphilly yesterday. I am writing up the posts now!


  1. Anonymous says

    Geoff, I apologise if I took your comment about cheesemaking too literally.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you in regards to the re-localisation of knowledge and therefore production of goods.

    I raised the Compacting concept to draw attention to the breadth of things that need to be made/recycled in the home rather than the self-promotion involved. You correctly point out that many skills (including cheesemaking) would need to be learnt to be able to sustain a permanent Compact (which would be a laudable aim). My point is that learning one skill leaves room to grow by learning others.

    I have read more of your blog than just a couple of posts Gavin, I guess I just wanted to make some suggestions about further areas for growth in the future.

  2. Elaine says

    Hi Gavin,
    I love your blog – I only follow 2 and this is one of them. What I’ve found interesting about myself is that I only read the entries where you talk about what you’ve been doing to change things in your life. I’ve found that I don’t read the entries about global warming, etc. Maybe it’s true what they say that if you change your life others will follow. You are inspiring.
    Thank you for your blog!

  3. says

    Hi Anon. All I can say is that you need to read a bit more of my blog before passing judgement. As Geoff has rightly said, not only have I chosen to live as sustainably as I can, but I have started a local Sustainable Living Group which is growing in size every month.

    Oh, and I concur with Geoff’s retort completely. Now it would have been a different and more personal conversation if you used your name!

  4. says

    Anonymous, I’m surprised you seem to take the comment to be so literally about cheese?!

    How do communities come to be re-localised except by way of the people in those communities learning the different skills that supply us with the things we currently purchase from some external and distant source?

    How do we, as individuals, truly learn to appreciate all that goes into each of the things we could purchase from the market except by having a deeper relationship with them, by way of crafting them in our own homes, or by knowing those that craft them?

    How can we, as a society, ever hope to rise above the current situation except by reclaiming the household economy from the mass market and putting it to work back in our local environment, so that we have close control over the inputs, outputs and side-effects of every decision we make?

    Sure, Compacting is an interesting green exercise, but it is an outward manifestation of green activism, rather than a sustainable path of personal growth taking us to a better future. Every one of those Compact people will one day break that compact, or it will run out at the end of the specified year and they will lapse back into slightly more well informed habits. They cannot keep at it for a lifetime without a great deal of effort, can they?

    What would a person need to do to maintain a permanent Compact?

    They would need to learn the kinds of skills to allow them to produce things in the home, rather than buying them from the market, wouldn’t they? And they would need to be surrounded by a community doing the same. Which is the very approach that I’ve argued for, though perhaps a little too between the lines.

    Essentially, the Compact is an initial step towards personal awareness, as well as a means for promoting that awareness. It’s not actually a solution to the underlying problems. It certainly is a more visible outward manifestation, given that a large part of it is about promotion of one’s activities, but it’s not a “most important” one, imo.

    We need to be creating the future we want to see, not abstaining from the present we hope to change.

    Reading through some of the past entries here Gavin has been out helping his neighbours get started, has had a hand in creating the local sustainability group etc etc etc, so I’m guessing that the basic understanding that we need to be helping one another along forms a fundamental part of all his activities. From what you say it seems you may have neglected those posts?

  5. Anonymous says

    I think I have to respectfully disagree with Geoff. While making cheese is a worthwhile and interesting hobby, the larger problems of global warming/peak oil/overconsumption etc won’t be fixed if we all just sit at home and make cheese (no matter how individually sustainable that house may be).

    It’s great that you are producing your own cheese (along with more basic items like fruit, veggies and eggs) but I’m sure there are still plenty of things you need to buy to live your life. In that respect I think something like Compacting would be more akin to “the most important outward manifestation of green-ness”.

    Also, while you may have “achieved most of the major external things that can make your immediate environment greener” once again the problems of the world will not be solved if each household does what they can and then rests on their laurels. Perhaps you could use your local knowledge, your expertise gained from doing so many things (gardening, chook raising, solar installation) and the money you haved saved to help others in your local community to achieve what you have. Despite greener options being cheaper in the long run, some are quite expensive to establish upfront (eg buying water tanks/solar panels even worms for a worm farm are surprisingly pricey) especially when you are on a low income and having to pay a lot for housing etc.

    I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but instead just want to offer some honest feedback.

  6. says

    Hi Gavin,

    Sadly blogger lacks an embarrassed blushing smiley :-) I’m glad you’ve found renewed faith in the way you are approaching things, it really is an inspiration to so many. Keep up the good works!

  7. says

    Sorry I didn’t comment I time, am delighted with your decision.

    I really enjoy visiting here. Please post photos of the various cheese once each matures. And sit back and savour the taste of each of course.

Comments build lively communities. Let me know your thoughts, but keep it clean and green! Spam is removed instantly.