Saturday, April 07, 2007


It strikes me, as I read my way through other yoga blogs, that most yogis and yoginis are the kind of people who care about environmental issues. I think the natural side effect of feeling more 'in yoga' with the world is a keen desire to protect and preserve what we have.

I am about to take a week-long media fast: no cellphones (yippeee!!), no email (gulp) and no internet (gasp), so I thought I would kick it off with two posts - first, a roundup of my recent enviro-yoga experiences.

Areas I am pleased about:
  • My husband and I live in an apartment - less resource-heavy than a house
  • We drive a Smart car and a Vespa, rather than two gas-guzzlers
  • We are both strict vegetarians
  • Most of our food is local, organic and fresh (almost no processed food at all)
  • We recycle all paper, plastic and glass. No need to do tin/aluminum since we don't consume things that come in those packages
  • We use energy-saving bulbs everywhere we can
  • We switch all appliances off at the plug when not in use (well, mostly we do...)
  • I wear no leather, and my husband wears only those leather items he already owns
  • Most of our household cleaning and personal toiletry items are free of harmful chemicals, and none are tested on animals
  • We try buy clothing and gifts from small local producers, rather than 'The Man'
  • We have a water-saving flush on our toilet
  • We mostly buy second-hand books, or go to the library. Mostly...
  • We get our music from the incomparable emusic
  • We take our own bags to the grocery store
Areas that need improvement:
  • I would like to drive less - but hey, this is South Africa - as I have mentioned before, the public transport is kinda fatal, accounting for a large proportion of our very very high road death statistics, and walking...let's just say I don't even walk the three blocks to my local mall. My husband would kill me himself if e found out I had! Save the criminals the effort
  • I would like less packaging on my food - do apples really need plastic wrapping?
  • We should both spend less time online. Ahem
  • I would like to buy more things second-hand or vintage. But I am lazy. And it takes a whole lotta scratching to find the good stuff
Things I have learnt along the way:
  • Just because it is organic/chemical free doesn't mean it is of decent quality. The worst were these:
    • Wensleydale Farms - great idea to send a box of organic produce to your door every week. If it gets there. And if you don't expect the client to keep a tally of what they owe you, never sending them a bill. And if you actually send what you said you would, or at least some of it.
    • Esse Organic Skin Care - thank you so much for the lasting legacy of allergic reactions and previously unseen on this face pigmentation. Obviously not properly tested.
    • Enchantrix - great for dirty, smelly laundry. Even after it's been washed. Also good shampoo for the worst scalp inflammation I have ever seen. On me and my husband. In fact, the quality of this stuff is so poor, I am astounded that they are still in business.
  • There are some good options out there - let me save you the trouble of going through all the nasties above:
    • Mary-Ann's household cleaners and food products. All do what they say, and our bedlinen is still white.
    • All of the Savvy Kids products. God bless them, I say. We use their shower gel, conditioner, and peanut butter. Best peanut butter I have ever tasted.
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that the changes you make need to fit comfortably into your life. Do the best you can, but don't go so far that you feel deprived or depressed. You can't sustain that kind of change. At least, I can't.


Regina Clare Jane said...

This was a great post! Unfortunately, living in FL, there is very little mass transit offered so driving is a must for us. We do try and buy as much organic and locally produced food as possible and our one huge thing is to buy at local stores- I mean, those little mom and pop stores right in our town, instead of driving all the way down to the next biggest town and shopping in the big health food stores...
It doesn't take a lot ot do our own part in saving the world, but I think a lot of people get frustrated or have the impression that what little they can do won't make a differnce- but we all know it can!
I love your idea, too of the fast from media! We don't have any TV hook-up and haven't for about three years now- don't miss it one bit. I don't think I could do without my computer, though...

Cupcakes & Yoga said...

Great post! I have been working on being more environment friendly too. I sometimes worry that someone will slap an organic sticker on something even when it's not just to make a few extra bucks.

Mary said...

Yikes! No mobile, no internet, no email? Sounds like bliss :-)

What a great post. I am always looking for ways to be more green but still have some bad habits that I am slowly trying to change but like you, have had some nasty experiences.

You're right in saying you need to be able to sustain that kind of change in today's society and not feel depressed about it.

Our approach is the less is more mentality. If we have to use something that is not that environmentally friendly, we try to limit it's use as much as possible. We're not totally green but everyday we find ways to recycle or do something a little more.

Glen said...

Just stumbled across your blog and was interested to read of problems with Enchantrix, Wensleydale and Esse. Can't comment on Wensleydale and Esse as we don't use them, but as far as Enchantrix goes we've found some products better than others. Their shaving gel works for me, but I think the lemongrass in the shampoo also doesn't agree with my scalp. Hair gel works well for my wife, but the dishwashing liquid doesn't do the job. Also find that the laundery gel doesn't get some of the stubborn stains out so end up using OMO sometimes! I didn't know Mary-ann did cleaning products so will have to see if they are available in CT.