Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book - Living the Good Life

My latest purchase in my ever expanding 'green' library is 'Living the Good Life' by Linda Cockburn (photographed here with Henry the Green Camel. Henry lived with my Dad for many years until finally after many admiring glances on my part he was allowed to grace Bumble Bee Cottage with this camelly smirkiness. Thanks Dad).

Linda, her partner, Trev and their six year old son, Caleb, document their six month experiment on living sustainably. In doing this they live mainly off the food they grow on their own block of land, bartering for items they were unable to grow themselves.They have water tanks, solar panels, a friendly but noisy goat and trade their car for the pedal power of bicycles.

Linda says, 'We didn't want to turn our back on the world, just reduce our environmental impact as far as possible without making our lifestyle unlivable.'

By the end of this book I was in awe of what they had achieved, the fact they had stuck it out to the bitter end (with only a few minor slip ups along the way) and had managed to save a whooping 44% of their income.

Throughout the book Linda gives definitions, and explanations about various environmental and lifestyle practices. Linda's expansion on 'The last day in the life of a hapless soon-to-be-headless battery chicken' made me cry (unashamedly) as it was so truly horrible. I buy free range eggs and this horrific tale made me very, very glad I do, although I suppose this may well happen to free range chickens as well. It also made me long to keep our own chickens for eggs once again.

I do not know if I have the level of commitment they showed to their chosen lifestyle but I have certainly taken inspiration from the wonderful story.At the end of the six months Linda says while they will not be sticking to such a restricted diet and lifestyle in their 'normal' lives they have changed the way they live both in terms of money and the environment.

Reading this book made me want to leap out into the garden and start planting out our vegetable garden, unfortunately I will have to wait a little while until the 4*C Guernsey Winter days warm up :)

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