This is my latest newsletter piece for BodyMindLife. I thought it would be much easier, given that my brief was to write about Muppets. But as it happens oh so often, trying to adapt a passion into something like a list that has little to do with the passion can be difficult. It didn’t really turn out nearly as fun as I hoped, but, them’s the breaks. I tried to refrain from rehashing the standard tips and instead wanted to offer a few solid suggestions of places and websites to look at. I dislike lists that are airy with no leads as to what they’re talking about. Anyway, here it is!
WWKD?*: Seven Top Tips for Green Living
By Craig New, Jaspers Village Resort
If there’s one being that can inspire a change in lifestyle, it’s The Muppet Show‘s Kermit the Frog. But sometimes motivation rather than inspiration can be what’s needed; as Heather mentions above, it’s not always easy being green. William Goldman, acclaimed author of The Princess Bride, once said, “The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.” It’s often harder to do the thing we feel we must, and so we make excuses and let ourselves off the hook, even though we know deep down that maybe we could have done better. The trick is to commit to one thing at a time and start small. It’s time to get things started!
1. Thought for food
Not everyone can eat mosquitoes on the run like Kermit can, and it’s easy to forget how much travel goes into your food (for an interesting essay on this have a read of Alain de Botton’s The Pleasures And Sorrows Of Work). Wherever you can, buy locally and in bulk. Co-ops are great for this kind of thing (for example, Alfalfa House on Enmore Rd). You can get organic food at reasonable prices, and bring your own jars and bags which reduces packaging costs. It also helps to identify food that is grown close to home rather than interstate, which produces lots of pollution. In fact, one of the farmers who supplies much of the Alfalfa House produce lives not far from Jaspers and is a good friend of ours, we can vouch for his careful and loving farming ways!
2. Sharing is caring
If there’s one thing the Muppets believe in, it’s togetherness (have a listen to their broadway hit, Together Again
). There are lots of businesses springing up now that are on the same wave length, and you are able to share or swap things such as vehicles, holiday destinations, clothes, computer servers and many, many more. This cuts down on materials, pollution, time, money and effort, and can be a great way to make friends. The website (and book) What’s Mine Is Yours
is loaded with information on this movement.
3. Follow the sheep
In The Muppets Take Manhattan, Kermit’s broadway musical starred “Bears and pigs and chickens and things”. The Muppets love animals of every creed, and one animal that can help you live a little greener is the Merino sheep. Clothes made from Merino have an amazing ability to keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and they don’t need washing as often as other clothing. The New Zealand company Icebreaker also prides itself on running an environmentally sustainable business. Last winter when I was hiking the Camino in Europe, I was able to wear the same Merino undershirt and leggings for around three weeks at a time without smelling like Big Sweetums. Of course, you may not be quite as fashionable as others wearing the same thing each day,but Kermit doesn’t even wear pants, and he’s pretty cool.
4. Eschew the car
This is all about timing. The main reason city folks drive from place to place is not always necessity, but often a lack of time to do anything else. A recent study in Copenhagen, a city with over 35,000 cyclists passing through a main city street each day, found that most rode a bike not for exercise or to be green, but because it was the fastest way to get to where they needed to go. Have a think next time you need to get from one place to another. Would it really take longer to catch public transport, ride a bike or walk? Consider peak hour traffic, parking and the little bits of running around required each day, and you may find that with a little planning you can not only use less fuel but save time and money and get fit at the same time. Watch The Great Muppet Caper for some inspiring bike riding scenes.
5. Work from home
If you’re the boss, why not think about how many employees you could have working from home? There’s nothing like a calm working environment (imagine how much quieter it would be back stage of The Muppet Show if Animal wasn’t running riot, Lew Zealand wasn’t throwing his boomerang fish and Gonzo wasn’t practicing his cannonball act), and employees can often get more work done in the comforts of their own home, as well as eliminating a whole lot of transportation pollution and time wasting in getting to work.You can also organise your meeting times through internet tools such as video conferencing and skype as much as possible.
6. Think of the children
As Whitney Houston sang, “I believe the children are our future.” Kermit and his friends have been inspiring kids for decades, and you can too. Instead of spending lots of money on plastic toys that cost the earth (pun intended), spend some time instead on taking them out into the world and allowing them to explore in nature. We’ve seen first hand at Jaspers how a young child can be infinitely more entranced with rocks and sticks and open spaces as their playing environment than a gaming console and stuffed toys. Have a read of Richard Louv’s book Last Child In The Woods – aside from helping the environment you’ll be doing wonders for your child’s growth and wellbeing.
7. Love, love, love
It all comes back to love, doesn’t it? If you can be like Kermit and, even through the toughest of times, love your fellow pigs, bears and whatevers, showing love to your environment comes a little easier. If you’re present with yourself and your friends, it’s only one more step to being present with your surrounds. It may take a while to reduce your footprint to zero, but each step toward that goal puts you that little bit closer to it.
*What Would Kermit Do?