Back in September we featured Hugh Sawyer, a.k.a. Ditch Monkey, on TreeHugger. He is the Sotherby's employee who challenged himself to live in the woods for one year whilst keeping up his normal everyday work and social life. The aim of this downshifting experiment for Sawyer was three fold: part personal challenge to see if he could go without mod cons for an extended period of time; part awareness raising campaign, "I want to make people think about how much they consume that is not necessary"; part fund raising project, the money he has raised through sponsorship goes to the Woodland Trust. Most people may have been impressed by this young man's eccentric activism, but how many really believed he would stick it out through the bitter winter months? Well last weekend Anushka Asthana of the Observer updated her original article on Sawyer reporting that he not only has he stuck at his challenge, but he has so far raised £2,500 for the Woodland Trust.Asthana tell us that 'he has endured rain, hail, mud and freezing temperatures. At times it has been miserable. In his blog, he described the worst winter nights as: 'Dark, cold, shivering. Waking up repeatedly during the night, pulling sleeping bag closer...curling up as small as possible to try to stay warm.' He admitted he 'questioned the wisdom of sleeping in woods' but has not given up "Each time I figure out how to survive comfortably in a season and I'm resting on my laurels thinking that things are getting dull, the season changes on me."'
Having had a look at his blog ourselves we can say that it is indeed a good read, though dissapointingly there are no entertaining photos. Sawyer as he says himself has started to take 'living in the woods a bit more seriously." This is probably to ensure that he stays alive in the freezing conditions he is contending with. He is really getting into Ray Mears' survival guide, he has roasted lamb in the earth oven he built, he has constructed a raised bed so that he can heat it with hot coals underneath, and he has even started carving a totem pole.
While we more lazy environmentalists might not want to endure such extremes to prove our green credentials we certainly can't deny that Sawyer's Ditch Monkey challenge is inspiring. We must apologise for not posting this before Wednesday to help him promote the Ditch fund raising party in London, but we hope some of you went along and of course you can still sponsor Sawyer through his blogor Just Giving. via The Observer ::Ditch Monkey