As I ponder the debate of alternative energy solutions and the pros and cons of alternative energy, I keep coming back to the fact that it is not just about energy but lifestyle. Every lifestyle choice we make affects our energy usage.
Take for instance the choices we make concerning what we eat. Have you ever considered how much energy is consumed transporting fruit and vegetables? We take for granted that there will always be fresh produce available and if things are out of season we can still buy them because they are imported from overseas… but at what cost to the environment? It seems to me that this system is both inefficient (energy-wise) and wasteful due to the amount of spoilage at the end of the supply chain. The fact is, if the produce does not look good it never even gets to the shelf!
So what is the answer? Become more self sufficient and less choosy! This is a new area for me but I believe that we all have to start somewhere. I have a standard quarter acre suburban block but instead of just growing grass I have started to grow some of my own fruit and veges. I have had some success with a few basics like pumpkins (which require a bit of space) and tomatoes (both cherry tomatoes and standard ones). I am now trying to get a herb garden going and a few fruit trees established. I am hoping to harvest my first apples soon, and I have some figs coming on as well.
So, instead of using my limited water supply (and grey water) trying to keep the grass green, I am now producing at least some of my own food. OK, I still have a long way to go, but at least it is a start.
I also found that we have a local farmers produce market some weekends, which costs less than the supermarket, is fresher and though it may not always look as good, it sure reduces drastically the amount of energy used in the supply chain! Therefore in energy terms, growing your own fruit and vegetables is another excellent alternative energy solution in assisting in preserving our environment.
It is a worthwhile saving and better for all in the long term.