Sunday, July 5, 2009

My new favourite term: Self Sufficient-ish

I borrowed an excellent book from the Hamilton Library called The Self Sufficient-ish Bible: An Eco-Living Guide for the 21st Century  by Andy and Dave Hamilton (great last name). (Let me digress here to rant about the fact that new pulp-fiction novels and pop culture DVDs can be very hard to borrow from the library due to the long waiting lists. However the books I've just checked out regarding energy conservation and self-sufficiency have no waiting lists! That's really sad. Good for me, but sad.)

I've read a little already and absolutely love it. At first I was worried that it wouldn't be very useful for me since it's written in the UK and I was seeing a lot of products we don't have here and there were lots of words we don't use and references to climate that is different than ours. Well, happily I found with more reading that there's only a tiny bit that doesn't apply. What is wonderful about it being written in the UK is that there are so many new and fresh ideas. The different perspective is refreshing. Here are some fun things I've read about so far:
  • hand-crank MP3 players
  • putting foil behind a radiator to reflect more heat back into a room
  • hay-box cooker (you put your hot pot of soup or stew into a box, surround it with hay, newspaper, or rags, then cover tightly)
  • a solar cooker you make yourself
  • pot-in-pot cooler (a way to keep food or beverages cool for up to two days, which consists of two nested terra cotta pots separated by damp sand and covered with a damp cloth)
  • Bokashi composting (a Japanese method of composting indoors that uses Bokashi bran)
I'm only about 50 pages in, so I'll post more nifty things as I continue. Oh, and the term "self sufficient-ish" refers to ways in which anyone can live a more self sufficient life without having to go all the way. In other words, you can have a balcony edible garden and a worm composter and reduce your energy consumption and reduce your chemical use, etc. while still living in the city. Every little bit helps. Great reading and full of photos and diagrams.

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