How often do you get a guilty conscious when someone says statements like “We all can save the Earth!” or “How can you help to save our planet!”?
Do you wonder “How can I possibly save the Earth alone?” or “How can I make a change?”?
I can so relate to those thoughts and feelings. I used to feel that way too. It’s not easy to carry that burden around. It’s a heavy one trust me. It’s like you are being blamed for actually living on this planet and making a mess of it. You feel like the finger is being pointed at you and your lifestyle and then you think there is no way you can single handedly go on a crusade to make the required changes.
“There are others who have more power and can do it more effectively!” With that you push that guilt out of the way and think others will take care of it for you.
Am I right?
When I was 25/26 years old I too left all that to the more influential people in our society. Thinking if they took care of it and I agreed with what they were doing our Earth would be saved. Unfortunately it does not work that way.
As I grew older I heard the warning signals and saw the signs our Planet Earth was sending out to us. Tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and many other horrendous indications was what I watched helplessly. Each time that nagging conscious of mine eating up a bit more of me inside.
Well I guess with age comes wisdom and I took control of my own space. I might not be able to save the planet alone but I can certainly clean up the area around me - my home and my way of thinking. I can become a part of those who have also decided to take action and reduce the impact. As I dug deeper I realized that in actual fact it was a lot easier than I had imagined – the best part was – I was actually contributing to saving the Earth. What a buzz!
What did I learn and what am I doing to save the earth? It’s so easy and I am sure once you see the actions, you too will easily want to join in. Most of us are probably already doing one or the other thing, maybe even unconsciously.
- We use energy saving light bulbs at home. They use up to 50% - 60% less energy reducing approx. 300 pounds of CO2 per year.
- When we moved to Weimar I tried to make sure all the new appliances we bought were marked the Energy star label. I still have one thorn in my eye – my refrigerator. But I am hoping that after it’s 7 year lifespan it will soon give up and allow me to buy a new earth friendly model.
- I do not have a dryer! I hang all my clothes on a washing line. In the summer my clothesline moves to our balcony and in the winter it’s upstairs in our attic. I read somewhere that in 6 months I can save up to 700 pounds of CO2!
- In Germany recycling is a part of everyday life. With the Gruener Punkt system we recycle the packaging or wrappings of several products carrying the green point symbol in special bags or containers. Glass bottles and containers are separated and thrown in special containers, magazines, newspapers and other paper items are sorted into paper the appropriate containers.
- Most of our printing is done on recycled paper and our toilet paper is also made of recycled paper.
- We turn off devices and appliances we do not use. Like DVDs or our notebooks. We have multi-plugs with switches on them wherever there are several appliances or devices in one area – like our office or the living room. All we do when we are not using these is switch the one switch off to take it off the power. Incredibly just this one action allows us to save thousands of pounds of CO2 every year.
- One thing I am planning on doing in the future is to buy myself a new car. My current VW Golf has been a very faithful partner for the last 9 years. No breakdowns, is in great shape and runs smoothly. Although being a small car it is economical and saves a huge amount of CO2, I still can do better by investing in a car with a hybrid motor. As we are planning on leaving Germany within the next couple of years, I have already picked out the car I will be driving in the future. If it becomes available in the model I would like it. Otherwise I will choose one from the growing list of hybrid cars.
- When it comes to food stuff I try to buy most of my fresh produce from the local Farmers Markets or at least those that are made/produced in Germany (or Europe).
It’s really quite easy as you can see. True, the first step to make the few changes did sometimes get in the way, but soon it simply became a part of our lifestyle and we do not even think about many of these things anymore – we just do them – without a guilty conscious.
For this session of the Monthly Mingle I had called out on everyone to share their version of Earth Food. Simply for one purpose – to show how easy it is to take actions to clean up your own space.
My own dish is something I consider earthy because it uses a mix of fresh, organic, store-bought, German mushrooms and mushrooms I picked myself with Soeren in the forest. It was a pure and brilliant experience – waking up in the early morning just a bit before dawn and making our way to the forest to be the first to pick our own mushrooms. I also used organic Bulgur, which is quickly cooked and allows the aromas of the mushroom to unfold brilliantly.
400 g bulgur
1 medium sized parsnip – finely cut into cubes
1 large carrot – finely cut into cubes
1 leek – finely sliced
1 large red onion – finely chopped
800 – 900 ml vegetable stock
600 – 700 g mixed mushrooms – sliced or cut into smaller portions
Large handful of mixed herbs of your choice and from your garden - finely chopped
Salt and pepper
In a large pot add a good dash of olive oil. Sauté the onions and then add the parsnip and carrot to the pot. Continue to sauté until the vegetables have slightly softened. Add the leeks and the bulgur. Mix and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the stock and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or according to the time stated on the packet. Salt and pepper to taste.
In the meantime prepare the mushrooms by heating some olive oil in a large pan. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook till softened. Sprinkle with the herbs, mix well and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve bulgur on warmed plates with a nice helping of the mushrooms on top. Enjoy with a light white wine.
Sit back and enjoy the world around you with the taste of this simple but very flavourful dish. To me this earthly dish personifies my efforts to help keep the Earth a beautiful place to live in. This dish tastes of the earthy mushrooms seasoned with the herby flavours of home-grown herbs. It harmonises with the delicate bouquet of vegetables and wheaty bulgur perfectly.
You'll also find an interesting read by my dearest friend Nandita - how to reduce your carbon footprint.
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