I’ve written previously about my desire to lead a greener life. Before I had kids, life was less hectic and I had money to spare. I could spend time ripping the plastic windows out of envelopes before putting them in the recycling and finding the money to purcahse more expensive eco-friendly products was easy. It’s sad, but I’ve long recognised that my life has changed, standards have slipped and I could do better.
Help for me has come from the most unlikely of places; Ikea. I’m delighted to have been selected from 9,000 applicants to take part in a three-year long project the furniture home furnishings giant has just launched.
The project is called Live LAGOM and is supported by sustainability charity Hubub. Live LAGOM is derived from a Swedish phrase Lagom är bäst. Roughly translated this means “the right amount is best”. The aim of the project is to create discussion and debate about living a more sustainable life and the small steps we can all take to make this a reality.
So what shall I do as part of this project? Over the coming months I will be using some products from the Ikea range to help my family lead a more sustainable lifestyle, and hopefully a lifestyle that is easier on our family finances. As time goes on I will blog about my experiences.
With a new kitchen being installed in the near future, I have decided to focus on feeding the family and doing it in a more sustainable manner. I’m going to use items that will help me grow food that I know the children will eat, such as strawberries. The kids can help me in the garden and this will improve their knowledge of where food comes from.
I will also use steamers and other items in the kitchen that will cut down energy use (see below). I also plan to use recycling bins to increase the amount of food packaging we recycle as a family.
The timing is superb as Helen, my six-year old daughter, is really beginning to get the environmental and sustainability message. Having read about the fate of coral reefs in a magazine, she is very concerned about their future and understands that we can all take action to make a difference.
This point was made crystal clear to me when I attended a workshop at a local Ikea branch with a group of other Live LAGOM participants. We were shown some steamers for cooking vegetables. The very obvious point was made that while cooking pasta or potatoes, you can use a steamer to simultaneously cook vegetables, cutting down the amount of gas required.
I know it’s blindingly obvious, but this was a Eureka moment for me. Many a time I’ve been cooking food for my family and found myself running out of gas rings while preparing the meal because I’ve used a different ring for each saucepan.
Ever since that session I have improvised while cooking vegetables. I have combined an old steamer with a saucepan that will just fit on top of it. The results have been superb and it’s reduced the amount of gas we’re using. That said, I do look forward to getting a proper Ikea steamer. My improvised creation isn’t the most efficient!
Tell me, what small steps do you take to lead a more sustainable life? Do you talk to your children about sustainability? Did you, like me, use to lead a sustainable life but find children and a hectic lifestyle get in the way? Please leave a comment, I’d love to know.
I’ll write about my adventures again in the New Year. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this video created when a Live LAGOM pilot was run last year.