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I can breathe

It’s World Environment Day 2020… and while I have never professed to be a greenie, I certainly consider my foot print. Everyday. We recycle, buy fresh and organic produce as far as we can, walk rather than drive if it allows, plan food to avoid waste, shower more than bath, use environmentally friendly and bio degradable products and generally consume less than say 5, 10 or 20 years ago. There's the saying that goes: "It takes a village..." (to raise a child). Well does it take a pandemic to get us to realise that we can’t carry on like we do? It certainly has stopped me in my tracks. We do in fact actually have to educate ourselves on what is really going on with the world, our immediate environments, the natural resources we rely on, the wildlife we need to protect (god forbid from Tiger King and the poachers) but more importantly bees, the value of air quality, the necessity of nature for our physical and mental health… the list goes on. Cape Town's drought changed many a habit and regard for water, it also inspired new ideas, drove innovation and created opportunity. It also made everyone accountable. I for one have certainly re-considered our usage and re-usage. In this lock down we have started re-using zip lock bags, tin foil and feta packaging make great containers. (My grand mother will no doubt be smiling and I for one have new respect for that level of thinking). Previously definitely ridiculed! You realise your impact, you realise that you are part of a bigger eco-system and in order for it to function effectively you have to play your part. It matters, not how small or big it is. It’s a responsibility. We have to own it. My new home project is to build an Eco House out of town on a farm that is off grid, self sustainable with fresh produce and maybe a donkey, some chickens and 3 goats. The reason is the very real desire to want to live closer to nature and ensure our own food security, as well as, live where there is less noise and more sky. The South African government doesn't have a green tax (yet!) Switzerland however is a real place with real rules, and a country I lived in for 7 years. They are experts at taxing citizens for waste, but they do provide every conceivable solution so you won’t and don’t waste. Including Nespresso capsule drop offs at just about “every” street corner. They are strict as they have a very beautiful clean country and take pride in conserving it. Switzerland even has water restrictions so as to conserve water for the next generation and make sure they can provide it to their neighbours. A black refuse bag in CH for example costs 5x more than the recycling bag. There is no avoiding it and there is no such thing as hiding something or blaming it on the neighbour or dumping it illegally. To adapt and change to this thinking when I first moved there was hard. Like it is to suffer a drought for the Capetonians. It was at first the most "dumb" thing I had to endure. Taking the time to split my yogurt container into 4 recyclable units was the epitomy of it. But you learn and you learn fast and then you never go back to your wasteful ways. This period has certainly made me aware of how fortunate I am to have and live with less. It is the new more. There is a great book I have called Kinfolk. It follows a movement of Slow Living which I absolutely LOVE and would like to adjust more to implementing in my own life across the board - in food, work and tech consumption for example. The thinking is around creating a home and a life for what matters most. It's that simple. What matters most is that I can breathe and in order to continue breathing I have to protect what matters most.

Illovo, Johannesburg

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