Here’s a bunch of interesting things I’ve come across lately, about simplicity and sustainability, some of it here in California.

Individual carbon credits? Among the “10 ideas that might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil” proposed by U2 star Bono in the January 3 New York Times is the concept that individuals, not industries or countries, be allowed to trade carbon credits. “The average Ethiopian can sell her underpolluting ways (people in Ethiopia emit about 0.1 ton of carbon a year) to the average American (about 20 tons a year) and use the proceeds to deal with the effects of climate change (like drought), educate her kids, and send them to university,” he suggested.

Spending time, not money. A recent New York times/CBS News poll found that instead of spending money, Americans “are spending additional time with family and friends, gardening, cooking, reading, watching television and engaging in other hobbies.” See, we’re already taking steps away from consumerism towards communitarianism, which I got all excited about before Christmas in this post.   

Urban gardening  One of those backyard gardening places has begun in my town – a community-supported agriculture project that farms in its subscriber backyards and the farmers’ own yards. The farmers are still struggling financially because “it isn’t as income-producing as we’d like,” they say. Can you start one in your town – or maybe build community by creating a CSA on your block with your neighbors? Maybe add some chickens? 

Quit watering your lawn. Lawn watering uses more than half the water used by households in California. Sacramento has a campaign to turn off automatic sprinkler systems (especially in winter – for heaven’s sake, it’s raining!), and the Bay Area is looking at limiting lawns or landscapes to no more than 50 square feet per dwelling unit or no more than 25 percent of the landscaped area. The rest would have to be planted in native plants or plants requiring little or no water. Owners of upscale manors with millions in landscaping are not happy about this.   

Then mow your lawn with a goat.  Forget your push lawnmower. If you have more than an acre of land, you can rent goats to chomp your weeds and unwanted vegetation. You can hire 20 to 200, depending on the size of the project.

Save trees by changing toilet paper. Because we love ‘super soft’ toilet tissue, we consume 67.2 million trees annually.” How about saving a tree by using tissue made from post-consumer waste?

Talking about simple living in Oregon.  I’m honored to be speaking about simple living and global mission at the Oregon Synod Global Mission Event on February 6 in Milwaukie, Oregon. I hope to see you there!

Anne Basye, Sustaining Simplicity