One of our various annual pilgrimages is coming up soon: Rocking the Daisies, our eco-friendly music and lifestyle festival, on 3-6 October. The line-up on the main stage includes artists such as Goodluck, Spoek Mthambo, Gangs of Ballet and Desmond & the Tutus. I would have liked to have seen TheCity have their own gig … but maybe next year.
Part of Rocking the Daisies is the Pick & Pay Walking the Daisies – a soul-lifting, inspiring two-day 50 km environmental hike from Cape Town to Darling.
I walked with them two years ago, and it was amazing. I applied last year, and didn’t make the cut. I found out later that some people who did make it, didn’t turn up, thereby denying others the opportunity to take part. This year, the Walking the Daisies organisers have wisened up: they’re separating the men from the boys, the women from the girls, the dinkums from the chancers.
They want to make sure that people who take part are concerned about the environment, and do something to promote taking care of the environment. They also want to be sure that those who take part are able to walk 50 km without weeping (much). Well, the last bit is sorted. No problem there. As for my concern for the environment, and what I do about it? Well, that’s what this blog is about. So, here goes:
After watching Tim Silverwood’s video that hammered home the effect of plastic on the environment, I follow the narrator’s suggestion: always take three things. Wherever you are, on the beach, in a park, anywhere, pick up three bits of waste and take it home. Bin it or recycle it. If every person picks up three bits of rubbish, whether it’s a bottle top or a plastic bag, we can all work towards minimising the huge impact that plastic waste has on the planet. Plastic lasts forever. It never really biodegrades. It breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces but it never goes away. Animals mistake the plastic for food, and die of plastic poisoning or blockage in their digestive systems. We must minimise our use of plastic, recycle plastic, and pick up plastic litter whenever we can.
In addition, in our household, caring for the environment is not so much an initiative, but a way of life.
We always use re-usable shopping bags instead of plastic, and avoid, as far as possible, buying fruit and vegetables packaged in plastic and Styrofoam. I also buy honey, preserves, and so on, in glass jars, instead of in plastic, and grow my own herbs and chillies, as well as lettuce and beans and, sometimes, if they survive, tomatoes. In this way, I minimise the amount of plastic waste that I generate.
Glass jars are reused to store beads, mosaic tiles and spices. Glass bottles are collected to create a border along the edge of the garden. Tins, plastic and paper are recycled, as is any e-cycling. Used CDs and DVDs are transformed into flowers and dotted around the garden. They also formed part of an installation at our AfrikaBurn campsite. Plastic bottletops are collected and stored. They will form the branches of a giant tree, when enough bottletops have been collected.
Apart from reducing, reusing and recycling, I use no pesticides or fertilisers in my garden. Instead, eggshells are scattered amongst the plants to keep the snails away, sparkly things hang from the plants to stop the birds from eating the fruit, and praying mantises, ladybirds and white-eyes eat the insects that eat the plants. Fruit and vegetable peels are put in the worm factory, and the compost is used to feed the garden. The basil is left to flower, so that the bees have food, and the nasturtiums grow wild to encourage the ladybirds to move in.