Please make your way over to our new, expanded blog: http://ecothriftylife.wordpress.com/
In the meantime, here is a Letter to the Editor I wrote about our Council's apparent lack of sense.
I know you are all probably tired of this, but I just find
it so frighteningly tragic/comic that I must share another chapter of our
ongoing Castlecliff beach saga. What follows is not opinion or conjecture, but
A month after Council resurfaced one parking area that no
one uses, heavy equipment working to remove wind-blown sand has damaged another
parking area that people do use. Next, the sand moved by the giant digger on a
windy day blew straight back and blocked the entrance to Duncan Pavilion. Now,
less than two days later, sand is filling the car park again. Meanwhile,
Council promotes us as a “Smart Community.”
Caption: The steel treads from an excavator have damaged the
parking area at Castlecliff beach, while sand blows back into place less than
48 hours later.
Kia ora koutou, and especially our registered followers.
As we transition into 2014 we have some updates to provide 'all-y'all'. We have combined and expanded our various blogs into one place with something for everyone: eco-thrifty renovation; eco-thrifty gardens and yard (permaculture); eco-thrifty baby; and, eco-thrifty wedding.
So please surf on over to: http://ecothriftylife.wordpress.com/
But for today, here is a cool look back over the last three years at changes to our home and our "front yard."
After one year.
Barren front 'yard.'
Community garden takes form.
Stone car park and wind netting.
Getting the bigger picture.
Trim below eaves has been painted. (Compare to previous pic)
I love our Whanganui coast. I take the short walk from our
home to the Tasman Sea nearly every day, sometimes two, three and four times.
It has gotten to the point where my wife has accused me of bringing half the
coast home with me in the form of sand in my jandals and driftwood over my
Driftwood board rack.
When I walk on the beach with my daughter, Verti, we make a
special effort to pick up all of the litter we can find. By 14 months, she
could spot a Cody’s can from 20 metres.
Way back before she was born, before I started writing this
column, and even before our first visit from the building inspector, Dani and I
embarked on our first and perhaps best beach clean-up effort. It was Christmas
2010, and a dead goat had washed up on Castlecliff Beach, where it lay
sunbathing for two days at the high tide line and three metres outside of the
swimming area flags.
After the first day I thought to myself, “That smells.”
After two days I thought to myself, “I can’t believe someone
hasn’t removed it.”
On the third morning, I thought out loud to my wife, “Get
the wheelbarrow and follow me.”
To make a long story short, we headed to the beach with the
wheelbarrow, a tarp, two shovels, and a video camera. We collected the carcass
and brought it home to our active compost heap. Within a week it was down to
bones, but the video has yet to make it to Youtube. The “goat story”, as it has
come to be known, is oft repeated when I am introduced by certain of our
friends to certain of their friends.
Driftwood hat rack.
That day over three years ago was the start of my ongoing
relationship with our beautiful coastal zone. Since then, the relationship has
developed with every walk along the sand, every wave surfed at the North Mole,
and every armful of driftwood.
In the latter stages of our renovation, driftwood has become
more of a design element in our attempt to meld a classic villa with a beach
bach in a way that honours both while spoiling neither. Sounds like a job for
Terry Lobb, but in my unprofessional hands I think things have turned out fine.
Despite what my wife says, there are still some rooms in our
home without driftwood, although that may not be the case much longer after my
recent venture into headboard making. Previous to the headboard, my indoor
driftwood projects had been limited to surfboard racks, coat/hat/key racks,
children’s toys, artwork, and our Christmas tree.
Verti's play scarves hanging in her room.
Outdoor projects are another thing entirely. I’ll get to
those another day.
It was a close competition, and the results have been
delayed, but it is finally confirmed that 2013 was the Year of Eco-Thrifty.
Runners-up include: The Year of Pete & Andy; The Year of
Obama’s embarrassments; The Year of Sonny Bill; and, The Year without defeat
Eco-Thrifty narrowly beat out Pete & Andy due a strong
cast that included Lorde, Macklemore, and Francis (aka, ‘da pope’).
Lorde (Auckland’s Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor) became
the first New Zealander to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with her
single, “Royals.” According to various sources (including Wikipedia), she wrote
the song in response to the opulence celebrated in much of hip-hop and rap
music, including big, expensive cars, expensive alcohol, and the obligatory
If the lyrics in “Royals” slipped your attention, then the
lyrics and beat of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop Song” surely didn’t. Although the
song experienced heavy rotation on Whanganui radio for only a month or two
before falling off the radar, its rotation was very heavy.
Macklemore, too, takes the piss out of consumer culture (and
R. Kelly) by ridiculing those who would purchase a t-shirt for $50 (US), when
one could outfit oneself from head to toe at an op shop for $20 and “look
They be like, "Oh, that
Gucci - that's hella tight."
I'm like, "Yo - that's
fifty dollars for a T-shirt."
Limited edition, let's do some
Fifty dollars for a
T-shirt - that's just some ignorant @#$%
This is, in my opinion, hands-down the best profanity-filled
song of the millennium.
Coppin' it, washin' it, 'bout
to go and get some compliments
Passin' up on those moccasins
someone else's been walkin' in
Bummy and grungy, @#$% it, man
I am stuntin' and flossin' and
Savin' my money and
I'm hella happy that's a bargain, @#$%
As would be suspected from a pope, Francis sends his
eco-thrifty message with less profanity, but his words have been called profane
by those who wish to maintain the status quo in the Catholic Church. Gone is
the opulence of previous popes, and in steps a man of humility unafraid to
challenge the devastating effects of wealth inequality around the world.
Conspicuous displays of wealth are in almost every case the
antithesis of eco-thrifty. Instead of the win-win-win situations I write about
that save money while being good for people and the planet, I would describe
them as lose-lose-lose. Specifically, opulent lifestyles often waste money
while having large environmental impacts. Additionally, research shows a strong
correlation between wealth inequality and social problems (The Spirit Level,
Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009).
While Francis’ courage undoubtedly upsets the wealthiest 1%,
it has surely boosted the morale of the poorest 50% of global citizens be they
Catholic or not. It appears he has taken seriously the teachings of an earlier
proponent of eco-thrifty lifestyle, Jesus, instead of embracing the power and
prestige of The Church. Good on you, Frank.
And finally, the Light Bulb Moment Award for 2013 goes to
the Wanganui District Council for finally recognizing that running eight light
bulbs outdoors on sunny days was neither eco nor thrifty. WDC is also the
recipient of the Kicking-and-Screaming Award for the same action (turning off
outdoor lighting during the day) because it took over three years and four
columns in the Chronicle to get Council to take action.
But as a wise person once said, “Better late than never.”
Let’s hope that 2014 finds WDC coming to the table on time.