When i found out about Permaculture i was living an itinerant campaigning lifestyle, protesting against the arms trade, third world debt, road building, genetic engineering etc. I was very taken by life in nature and in community, living responsibly and connected, close to your resources and living simply, reducing my impact on the earth rather than/as well as trying to change what corporations and governments were up to.
I helped Eco Affinity (later Steward Community Woodland) vision and create a community where we could live, sharing our essential resources, living close to the land, eschewing fossil fuels (except candles and paraffin and later chainsaws) whilst on the land, using the resources of the wood for building, heating, cooking, water, electricity and some food, and when we did need to purchase from outside the woods, we tried to get things second hand. My eco footprint was slashed as i moved out of a van/house and shared this resourcefull woodland life with my fellow communards.
I also gave up flying some time after 1999, deciding to travel more slowly by bus, bike, hitching, boat and train, without the huge impact of air travel. I have holidayed/travelled to Romania, Italy, Scotland, England, France and Spain rather than Australia and South America. I have written a song about this too... I cycle a lot, even in hilly Devon, and use the communal car about once a fortnight. The community also tries to reduce vehicle usage, (less and less successfully...), and we sometimes use biodiesel in the communal car.
I have been working for 5 years at a community business called Proper Job, which recycles, reuses, composts, resells, grows food and restores all sorts of things, from hedge clippings to CDs and bathtubs. It is my longest job anywhere, and it is a fantastic place to work, so totally in line with my principles, and i get to have the best stuff first as it comes in! It is a very useful source of building materials and all sorts for me. I was paid in local currency for the first year of working there.
I have increasingly been drawn to sustainable living and promoting it to other people, rather than fighting against unsustainable behaviour, and my activism became a positive creative force, trying to inspire by doing, rather than block by getting in the way of - by sorting out my own backyard rather than complaining about someone else's. I do very occasionally still go on actions, but my organisational energy is now going into eco building, community interpersonal skills, food growing, teaching, sourcing recycled materials and learning about and experimenting with woodland life and living.
I promote sustainable living by giving talks in schools, doing tours of the community for university students, updating our website, writing songs about my experiences and performing them, doing inspiration/information stalls at festivals, green gatherings, green fayres, wood fairs and local events. Recently i started teaching and convening permaculture courses as well, to further this and create an income for myself from it.
I find it hard to think of all the changes i have made in my life, because it has become almost unconscious to me to amke 'green' choices, to use small local shops, reused windows, vegan food, bicycles, solar energy, woodstoves, second hand tools, roof water collection, hitch-hiking, charity shops, home grown perennial leaves, recycling centres, spring water, urine and poo recycling and the blank sheets on the back of pieces of paper. But these and many more choices are the result of me putting my ethics and principles in action as i explore connected, sustainable living with the help of permaculture.
This website was written on a 5 years old to me, also second hand laptop, using a mixture of solar power, hydro power, green tariff electricity and electricity at a friends house (the sun hasn't shone enough to cope with the large hours i want to spend preparing for my accreditation event, so i am swapping electricity usage for allotment digging...).