Happy New Year one and all! It is with a clear head I start this new decade (thank goodness), and it is with this clear head, that I hope to achieve these new goals which are somewhat inter-related to goal #1.
- Pay down outstanding debt,
- Start a 160 kilometre diet,
- Use low carbon transportation,
- Make soap, and buy none I that haven’t made for the year,
- Continue my self-education.
Pay Down Outstanding Debt. This is so no-one has any outstanding claims on my work or my time. I find that in many ways, debt is slavery in another guise, so it is time to throw off the shackles as quickly as possible before Peak Oil hits hard. We have planned to pay down the rest of the loan I took out for the Solar PV by the end of April (approx A$7500), and then start whacking over 60% of my wage into the mortgage with a view of paying it off in 5 years. This is certainly achievable and Kim and I have calculated it down the dollar.
Start a 160 kilometre diet. Better known to most as the 100 mile diet, but seeing we use the metric system in Australia, I thought I would change it to a local flavour. I read about the challenge that Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon who were the first to take this type of diet up in Vancouver, Canada. It features on p26 of Issue 24 of G Magazine, so decided that it was time to join in this locavore revolution. It also stemmed from the challenge that Kim and I gave ourselves when we went shopping for the food to feed everyone at the end of year BBQ for the Sustainable Living group. We found it hard, but managed to achieve it except for the meat. So what it means for us is that the food our family eats will be sourced from within 160 km of Melton. Hard to believe that it is possible, but I have a few conditions.
- The food that we have stored in the house is fair game, as I am not so stupid to waste a vast amount of resources that I already have at my disposal.
- If it means that we eat more vegetarian meals, then so be it.
- One take-away meal a month still stands as per last years decision.
Other than those three conditions, it will be local as I can get it. We are lucky to have such an abundant vegetable garden, and will be able to preserve surplus as we have in past years. If I can grow it or swap it for other local food, it saves us even more money and goes towards goal #1! So it is off to visit www.farmersmarkets.org.au and www.australianregionalfoodguide.com.au for some ideas of where to source this tucker. You can look at your 160 km radius by looking at www.100milediet.org/get-started/map. Type in your full address to get an accurate radius. I nearly missed out on Shepparton which is a large fruit growing area in our state due to this mistake!
Use low carbon transportation. Well, what this really means is that I will ride my bike more often for simple errands around town, i.e. travel to the gym, library, shops for light things etc. As I already travel to work via public transport and I have a low emission car, it is the next logical step now that my back is healed. I believe that planning ahead will the hardest part, and that allowing time to get places instead of jumping in the Hybrid to go down the shops will take a bit of adjustment. Savings in fuel will go towards goal #1.
Make soap, and buy none I that haven’t made for the year. Kim has got the jump on me for this one. For Christmas she bought us a duel gift of a soap making kit, however, when we opened it, we found one of the ingredients to be Palm Oil grown in Malaysia which means that rainforest was cleared to make way for Palm kernel oil plantations and destroying a great percentage of Borneo’s Orangutan habitat. How bloody guilty did we feel when we found this out! Further research indicates that you do not need Palm oil to make soap, so we will use it in the first batch, but never again.
Continue my self-education. Knowledge is power and a little reading and experimentation can go a long way if I focus on learning valuable skills. Gardening the Permaculture way is a given, and my wood work skills are okay, as is my cheese making, so I will have to look for new skills that will be valuable in the new economy. Possibly metal work, as I don’t have much skill in this field. Cooking with local food will be a must to achieve goal #2. All of these extra skills will also give me something to do when I pay down my debt and won’t need a full time job any more!
So, 5 big goals this year, as well as continue with all the other things I have achieved so far. I believe that all are within reach and not too unrealistic, and I just have to stay healthy. Goal #2 and 3 should take care of that. I reckon that the hardest goal will be the 160km diet, but we will see where that leads and how fast we can take it up. I think that as long it may become a Victorian radius diet, but I will do my best to start off with the smaller area first. At least I know where to get some local cider from! Henry of Harcourt, here I come. The Yarra Valley is in my local zone as well, so I won’t be stuck for wine either. Thank goodness for small mercies.