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Sustainable Living Survey

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Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 64 total)
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  • #513803
    DB346
    Member

    Survey Done

    #513804
    helenm
    Member

    Thanks! I really appreciate all the responses – a few have come in today – I guess after seeing Dan’s message.

    helen 🙂

    #513805
    Lady Bee
    Keymaster

    I saw the thread when you started it, Helen, but I didn’t read it as I thought it was another from the guys who ran such a thing before – can’t remember their names now.

    I’ve completed it now.

    B

    #513806
    helenm
    Member

    Thanks Lady B – that was the simple living survey, from the guys at the simplicity institute. they were specifically looking at the voluntary simplicity movement and whether people felt they were part of it.

    I have trouble thinking of voluntary simplicity as a ‘movement’ as such especially here in australia, and think that the australian history of living simply, alternative lifestyles, sustainable living – whatever you want to call it! – is a bit different from the US trend. There are similarities, sure but the I think the australian version was impacted more by the organic gardening movement, and the growth of permaculture, and that there is more of a continuity between our ‘back to the land’ 70s movement and today through mags like Earth Garden and Grass Roots.

    ahem – sorry to go on! Too much reading, not enough writing happening 🙂

    #513807
    Bel
    Member

    I’ve just done the survey too. Like Lady B, I thought it was the same survey as before :blush:

    I agree with your comments, Helen.

    #513808
    helenm
    Member

    thanks Bel! If i had thought a bit more, I might have put this question in (although the survey was already getting long enough as it was!)

    I have been absolutely buried in reading all the voluntary simplicity material that i can – it has grown hugely in the last couple of years. But it just doesn’t seem to ‘gel’ with our australian experiences. And there has been very little written about the australian history of this ‘movement’ or whatever you call it, so I’m thinking that might have to become a longer term project. i just find it fascinating (and at times a little depressing) how much of hte material in the early Earth Garden and Grass roots matches what we are talking about now. I’ve gotten hold of quite a few early issues of both, and some of the early collations. the hair-dos and clothes are fantastic! But what most stands out is the theme – growing food, keeping livestock, building houses, alternative energy supply, environmental concerns, peak oil, you name it. The one I just finished reading even had plans for how to make your own methane-digester using pig manure 😛

    #513809
    Bel
    Member

    I think it’s really hard to capture how/why people live simply/sustainably etc. For me, it started with growing a few veggies because of my Italian background and Dad being a market gardener. But it got really addictive. There is something so satisfying about growing and providing healthy food for your family. Once you get started, it seems only logical to get a couple of chooks, then a few more. Eventually you buy different chickens with a view to breeding, add a few ducks (why not?) and then some rain water tanks because you might as well have free clean water to water the veggies with. For me, your survey didn’t capture things I once did, but do no longer. I was once a subscriber to Grass Roots, Warm Earth and Organic Gardener. We have sooo many saved magazines. But it got a bit repetative, so we stopped buying them. Now I devour this site for more info and companionship. It’s really hard to find other people like me in the middle of suburbia!!

    I think it’s great that you’re doing the survey Helen. I find it really interesting too. People at work who once had no interest in ‘living simply’ now grow veggies and even have aquaponics systems because they heard about it through chatting with me. It really is addictive and catchy – in a good way!

    #513810
    helenm
    Member

    Thank you so much for this feedback Bel – I agree it is really hard to try and pinpoint what motivates people to live sustainably. It would really talk an enormous project with hundreds of interviews and focus groups – that might have to be my big three-year project! (So can I quote you on the above? 🙂 will be anonymous, unless you don’t want to be!)

    And I knew I the survey was limited in that it didn’t ask about past behaviour. (blast! I really should have asked how long people had been members of the site!)

    Anyhoo this is very much preliminary work in which I wanted to try and confirm a couple of assumptions: first that for many people on this site, and readers of EG GR etc, the motivation for simple living is strongly motivated by environmental, rather than just individual economic concerns;

    second that these sort of sites, or organically ‘grown’ communities are probably much better at informing, motivating and encouraging sustainable living practices than official programs or initiatives put in place by local government or councils.

    Having said that, there are of course exceptions. I think PDCs are immensely influential for many people, and some programs like Living Smart – which i think is doing so well as they put the material into the hands of the community. The big limitation with even these is that they are limited geographically. That’s where sites like this work so well, as that information, support and community is right there, no matter where you live, how far from sources of support or like minded people. And of course, it helps you to FIND those like-minded people who might be in the next suburb or town.

    Another thing I find fascinating is how important family background is – like you i grew up in a family where dad was always growing veggies and we always had chickens. After a few years in the wilderness (and after the breakup of my marriage) it seemed natural that i would start growing veggies of my own. I’ve just read Permaculutre Pioneers – a really interesting collection of stories from some of the best known teachers and writers in permaculture – and so many of them learnt their love of gardening from their parents or grandparents.

    Sorry for going on! But I am just loving getting this feedback.

    happy gardening weekend everyone. (think of me looking longingly out at the garden while I sit chained to my computer 🙁 )

    #513811
    helenm
    Member

    Thanks to everyone who has done the survey in the last few days – the numbers are getting better – almost up to 100 responses just from ALS, and 140 all together.

    I’ve got to finalise my articles this week so will probably freeze the survey this coming Friday, so would really appreciate any more takers in the next few days!

    I’ll be sure to post some of my findings here, and happy to send full drafts to anyone that is interested.

    cheers

    Helen

    #513812
    Bel
    Member

    You’re more than welcome to quote me Helen 🙂 You’ve done a great job with the survey – I can imagine it would take hours if you wanted to encompass everything! Just spent the day making tomato passata with Dad and my sister and brother-in-law. 180kg of tomatoes put down for the winter. Very satisfying, and very Italian!!

    #513813
    helenm
    Member

    Thanks Bel!

    Ahh – I wish i could have been making tomato passata instead of sitting at the computer all day! I love that tradition – its one more of us should follow, for sure.

    And I have been thinking – along with all the various influences from the 60s on that fed into the trend for ‘alternative’ simpler lifestyles, I would have thought the practices of European migrants would be an important one, but not one I’ve seen mentioned much. It seems to me that well after many Australians had stopped routinely making their own preserves, bread, having veggies and chicken in the backyard, that many of the Italian, Greek and other migrants routinely carried on these sorts of things as part of a way of holding on to tradition.

    #513814
    Bel
    Member

    helenm post=338027 wrote: Thanks Bel!

    Ahh – I wish i could have been making tomato passata instead of sitting at the computer all day! I love that tradition – its one more of us should follow, for sure.

    And I have been thinking – along with all the various influences from the 60s on that fed into the trend for ‘alternative’ simpler lifestyles, I would have thought the practices of European migrants would be an important one, but not one I’ve seen mentioned much. It seems to me that well after many Australians had stopped routinely making their own preserves, bread, having veggies and chicken in the backyard, that many of the Italian, Greek and other migrants routinely carried on these sorts of things as part of a way of holding on to tradition.

    I would have to agree with you. Dad tells stories about taking his lunches to school and because they were so unusual (and yummy), the other kids would tease him. Sad to say though, the tradition that was so strong back then is really waning now in many cases. Of 7 kids, very few of Dad’s siblings actually carry on Italian traditions. At least Dad is trying to revive some, grows his own veggies etc. Another uncle has his own veggies, but that’s about it. Dad is going to teach me how to make sausage (fresh and preserved), wine and a few other traditional Italian ‘preserves’. I want to talk more to my Nonna before she dies to see what else she can share with me…

    Just remembered another of Dad’s childhood stories…. He remembers his Dad used to tether their family goat/s down at the local creek (aka River Torrens!). It was his job to move it regularly and assist with milking. His younger brother also remembers the goats – one day they got into the onion patch and the milk tasted terrible after that! Said uncle won’t go near goats milk or goats milk cheese now!!

    My Nonna has also taught me a lot about raising chickens. She helped me save some of my last hatchlings when their mummas were acidentally killing/suffocating them…

    #513815
    helenm
    Member

    well, at least you are keeping up the traditions and finding out more, so you can pass it on… :clap:

    #513816
    helenm
    Member

    Just thought I would bump this (last time, promise!) as tomorrow I am going to close the survey (for now at least).

    Have almost doubled the responses since Dan put the message up, which is great! I’m now up to 160 responses altogether, which feels pretty respectable, but of course the more the better!

    I’ll let people know here when I’ve put some results up on my blog (and will check with Dan if he’s ok with me putting up any interesting factlets on the site somewhere)

    thanks to everyone who has helped out!

    helen

    #513817
    penny
    Member

    Be good if those who are learning old traditional cooking and preserving methods could share these skills or better still have close ALSs join you and help. Win win situation, others learn and you have help for the boring bits like chopping and stirring!!!!!!!

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 64 total)
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