More lessons learned in lockdown

We may never get back to the way things used to be: the ‘new normal’ may well be here to stay, and in some ways, the year-long lockdown feels to me like a dress rehearsal for the real business of saving the planet, which means that we all have to urgently redesign our lives around low-impact living: using less, saving more of our stuff, repairing, mending and tidying, instead of taking the line of least resistance and first resort to high-gear newness.

The way things have been running is expensive – I don’t mean financially – careless and extravagant in ways we are finally beginning to appreciate. And too often, it is other people and creatures in distant places that are now paying the cost for our extravagance. So what more lessons have I learned during lockdown this year?

I’m now as much of a vegetarian as I can be, which is to say I avoid meat and fish, though when I feel the need to eat a portion of chicken curry that everyone else is having, I will do so, and I will eat sardines occasionally. I’m not a meat reducer and not a vegan, since although I avoid milk and cheese products, I do reserve the right to eat eggs. Vegetarianism feels like a release from the old tired expectations of ‘meat and two veg’ as I finally give myself permission to extend my usual range and eat the things I really do prefer: grapefruit and soya yogurt with breakfast, almond and cashew butter as well as peanut butter; more vegetables and greens, more home-made soup…It’s such a relief to enjoy my food more, and to enjoy cooking. Conversely, it is astonishing to see how quickly I turn away from meat. So there is, in me, no sense of hardship, nor any need to buy ‘fake’ bacon to fill some perceived longing or lack.  

I’m using bamboo products more, instead of traditional paper options so often sourced from wood-pulp and paper; and sustainable and natural fibre clothing wherever possible. There is of course a place for using recycled paper products, and those often made from rags and such like. But once I started looking at what can be made from bamboo – food to eat, clothes, cups, utensils – I had to ask myself what took me so long to clock on.

(To be continued.) Thanks for reading.

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