The Best way To Do Is To Be

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Be The Change You Want to See In The World

Gandhi once said you should “Be the change you want to see in the World“. He may have pinched or reworded the quote though from Henry Salt, a man who is perhaps England’s greatest least known writer. Salt argued that The best way to do is to be and it’s a bit of life advice that I have, (at least tried), to take to heart. Henry Salt is similarly the person whom Gandhi referred to in his memoir as “the man who made him a vegetarian by choice“. As with Gandhi, after reading Henry Salts argument in 2004, I too became a vegetarian by choice . There are more reason though than cultivating ones humanity, which is what Salt essential argued, there are our climate woes. For eating meat just adds to them.

Waste not Want Not

If only that adage was true. However the less you waste the less you need and waste reduction, with a view to reaching a net zero waste is one of my, and the global community’s aims. Thus with that in mind all my waste is segregated.

My green waste is both minimized through eating everything and boiling up all the veg peelings to make stock. It is then put in a green waste bin and then taken to ADAOS to be composted (see the Nepal Agricultural and Environmental projects site). I further try to reduce my plastic waste by reusing all the single use bags, which are given out liberally by all the shops here, and all my paper and cardboard, by making furniture. Whats left over after one month is a 1.5kg bag containing all the small packets, sweet wrappers and cigarette butts that as yet I have not found a way to recycle.

Cardboard Comforts

So far I have turned the box the fridge came in into a cabinet to stand the fridge on. With the two boxes the shoe racks I use as draws came in I have created a shelf in the fridge stand with the upper part for veg and the lower a cold box for drinks (I just have to finish the door). The idea is I can make ice in the ice compartment of the fridge and then place this in the plastic tray with any beers or soft drinks that need cooling (although I don’t drink either so for now I’m using it for veg). The insulation provided by the air trapped in the empty shoe rack boxes used to make the shelf, the empty cigarette packets on the sides and the polystyrene, that protected the fridge in the box, as a base. This hopefully being sufficient to keep the contents cool for six hours of more.

Smoking Table

As the waste was annoying me I have tried to be very creative with my empty cigarette packets. Some have been used to provide the insulation on the cold box above whilst others have been turned into a spill protector for my PC’s but I began with turning them into a table. It’s actually just paper mache with the cigarette packets acting like little cardboard bricks. The project began in the guest house I was in as a means to extend the small coffee table and has continued since moving into the apartment. I’ve also made a fruit bowl from the newspapers I used to make the above three items and the silver foil from the cigarette packets is saved for making shopping lists. The only thing I actually needed to buy was the PVA glue. I’ve used 3kg at a cost of 1000NPR ($9 / £7.50) with the PVA first being watered down with 3-5 parts water to one part glue.

Domestic Carpentry

I have also made my own bed, not from cigarette packets (although it is likely possible) but with plywood and pine. With the wood left over I made the desk so the spill protector has a use. The wood cost me 2700NPR ($25 £18.00) plus the glue and the panel pins (about $5 / £3.50). The mattress which is as hard as a rock was 1400NPR ($12 / £10.00) and the sheets and pillow covers another 700NPR ($6.50 / £5.00). I used just about every scrap of wood so both items were made with just one 8ft x 4ft 10mm ply and 5 x 8ft lenghts of 40 x 40mm rough sawn pine. Should my plans to make this place a hub for sustainable agricultural and environmental development in Nepal (and globally) materialize then I shall be making another six computer stations and four more (bigger and better) beds.

So after one month in the New apartment I have generated 1.5Kg of waste and made a table, a spill protector for the PC’s and a fruit bowl from my empty cigarette packets and newspaper I obtained from my favorite coffee shop (M & S Coffee house). Plus a bed and a desk from one sheet of ply and 40ft of rough sawn 40 x 40mm pine. I will make more but was hoping (big hope) to give up smoking before my next birthday (end of June) so I may need to make the bricks from empty butter boxes.

The Garden Planters

Furniture for the house is not all I’ve been making over the last month. I have also been busy in the garden building planters, raising seeds and planting a ton of veg and salad; but that is for the next post.

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