Image from Daily Mail
With all the best intentions, most of us don't have the nerve to really change our life style dramatically. We do as much as we can within the limitations of our busy lives, but haven't the true grit to go that extra mile. Here are 3 inspirational stories of young families that are taking things to the limit and loving it.
The first tale is about a family of 4 that decided to see if they could survive for a year without shopping at supermarkets. They grew their own vegetables in their back yard and bartered the extra food for essentials. Living in a smallish city, they were able to rent an acre of land to plant crops as well as keep animals. They bought a share in a pig and a cow at local farms to add to the chickens that they were keeping. Then they were offered a few more acres and they bought a flock of sheep. They plan to invest in a small herd of Aberdeen Angus soon. They do a lot of swapping, for example eggs for homemade jams. The family says that they have no intention of returning to the supermarket. As well as enjoying the ethical and tasty benefits, they are saving £110 ( US$ 177) a week.
Image from Mailonline
Inspired by a t.v. show about the danger to wildlife from plastic rubbish, a family of three made a resolution to recycle as much as possible. They bought only products with recyclable packaging, used their own containers, recycled, composted, returned packaging to manufacturers and cut their waste to less than 3.5 oz. a week.
In addition they installed a solar panel and use a wood burner to heat the house and their hot water, which is quite a feat, given the cold weather of the last two weeks. They have recycled their garbage can because they are planning a totally garbage free 2010. They have also started a website, myzerowaste.com, with their recycling tricks of the trade.
Image from the Guardian
The last story involved a woman, Katherine Hibbert, who set out to live for free for year. She did it, and wrote a book in the process. Squatters' rights are different in England; they have rights, advisory services and laws protecting them. If a building is empty, once it is squatted it counts as a home and the only way to evict them is through civil courts.
This woman lost her job and her rent was raised and she decided that she had had enough. She found a good squat, furnished it with furniture from skips and learned new skills such as plumbing, rewiring fuses and fixing windows. Over time she became accomplished at finding free food, particularly at wholesale food markets and ended up spending no money.
Needing a small source of income,she found things and sold them on-line; converting rubbish into money. She found that the longer she went without buying things, the fewer things she wanted.
Image from Amazon
She also became quite political and angry about a system that throws away food, boards up empty houses and rips up good clothing. Her book, Free: Adventures on the Margins of a Wasteful Society, will be an interesting look at her whole experience.