Kristi McMullan walks her talk as an Earth Mother. She recently completed the Walk Away from Uranium with her four children and blogged about the journey via her phone. Back in the ‘real world’ now, Kristi challenges us to question the habits and traps of a consumer culture most of us have resigned ourselves to. Kristi offers tips and insights to help us break free
Harvesting local resources
To recapitulate is to look back while still moving forward. Life’s rear vision mirror: I am using it all the time — on a highway with information coming in at all angles. The first and most obvious road sign is woman/mother as shopper, or as my daughter when three told me “it’s not shopping, Mummy, it’s swapping.”
Back to empty cupboards and an empty fridge with a new level of dietary understanding from our ten week vegetarian diet with minimal milk products means there is room for some new decisions. Armed with my sourdough culture from the Walk Away from Uranium, I made some bread. We then harvested potatoes and boiled up the home grown eggs we’d been given. Mayonnaise was easy to make and then, as if by magic, we had an organic potato salad!
Abundance came also from the sea when we were given a fish on our first day back. Shopping/swapping — the pantry was filling up on its own. I have always been silently dedicated to reducing our family’s eco-footprint. Being blessed with a wood-fired-stove, I fired it up with Karri sticks (by the way, wood sticks release the same amount of carbon being burnt as they do when left to break down) and cooked our sour dough bread then made a stock from Evie’s garden.
When lighting the stove two articles jumped out for reading; one was about the global economy and how women make up 70% of the spending market, with a global purse of 17.8 trillion dollars. Yet we are represented at government level by only 10% female economists. You can further reduce that percentage when talking about women in politics who are actually producing home made goods for their households. No doubt most working women at that level would not have the time.
Using the sisterhood of shopping for a purpose
So whilst we have this massive global purse, we are barely represented in global financial decision making processes and therefore we are shopping in the dark as a group; susceptible to advertisers who target us with essentially aesthetic products. The second article was titled
The Sisterhood of Shopping shows our love affair with shopping centres started with the beginning of the industrial revolution and the first shopping centres which were places of liberation for the women of the time. Well times have changed and while our men are still largely the ‘bread earners’ they statistically are not the main spenders. While we are also contributing to the ‘bread earning’ we continue to be the main spenders. Our collective decisions are leaving us all in chains and our Mother Earth stripped bare.
We need to be accessing our power as the main spenders and making decisions based on real needs. Real needs are directly linked with sustainability both environmentally and individually with reference to our time managed lifestyles. As a side line but very much worth considering, we live in nuclear families that cannot provide all the essential needs that for eons were met in communities and the fallout is represented by our collective need for more stuff. Ironically, this very need is what is fuelling the drive for nuclear power stations. The waste created by them has a half life of 1.3 billion years so obviously this path is unsustainable and immoral. So with these cards on the table it is a natural and commonsense conclusion to remind ourselves of the very powerful position we have at the sink and the kitchen counter where we decide for real what we can make verses what needs to be bought.
The movement for saving our world, our families, our health and our women’s business is through these small decisions we make at home. So fill yourselves up with this amazing power of womanhood; gather together as sisters and bake a cake for humanity, cook a stock for sustainability, walk to school for the power of making a difference to our planet. These small acts will connect us and nourish us . Remember we are the decision makers and our children are watching. Life is abundant and beautiful and so are we.
What Can We Do?
- Buy local produce and eat seasonal produce.
- Recycle and swap and buy from second hand stores.
- Refuse to buy products that are over packaged or poisonous to our waterways
- Teach our children how to shop sustainably
- Worm farms and compost for kitchen waste.
- Find ways of opening up your home to your wider community; billet families or individuals in need (Japanese families need billeting to get small children away from the radioactive fall out. If interested contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am finding out more about this at present for our family.)
- Go camping with other families, invite your mother in law to live with you. Knock down fences….have regular meals with people in your street….there are many ways of deepening our community and lessening the sometimes stale air of our nuclear families
- Walk or ride instead of driving.
- Challenge the princess in yourself and your daughters; we are physically capable of more and it benefits us to stretch ourselves in that direction.
- Get wet and immerse in the elements. Nature will reward you
- Support small business, buy from market stalls etc. Keep out of shopping centres.
- Stop throwing out things you haven’ t used in a year. The Zen housewife is refuelling the consumer cycle because removing clutter is removing potential.
Our children need chaos and order. Too much order means the energy of chaos goes underground leaving us attached to control and needing new things. Don’t get me wrong; I do subscribe to the idea of keeping belongings moving and not hanging on to things that are no longer useful but I think it all needs tempering. We have Zen homes and full tips and over flowing second hand stores.
This is a much broader conversation but essentially I am suggesting that we take a back seat while managing order in our homes. Bless our collective abundance and pause to consider our children and our men may not always see it how we do.
Kristi McMullan will present a talk on Earth Parenting at Living Well in WA and is providing Earth based Play and activities for children in the Kid’s Corner.