Sustainability

On Sunday of this weekend, PCEI is putting on the first in a series of sustainable building practices workshops related to the Jim LaFortune Memorial Groover. For a nominal fee, or $100 donation to the fund, you can join the workshop and learn how to build with Rastra block. We poured the foundation last Fall, drainage was installed before all the heavy precipitation, Tom is back from Spain, and he says the show will go on rain or shine. See my old posts on this project https://wackywidow.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/pennies-for-poop/ or check out the PCEI website http://www.pcei.org/ to register. I’ll be there….I’ll be the one wearing the contractor garbage bag for protection against the rain and mud. PCEI is a local environmental organization that got its start in community and sustainable agriculture. I’ve supported them financially and with volunteer hours since I knew they existed. They have a positive, direct and local effect on my community.

On our Yurtski trip, there was an interesting combination of people. One a young woman who, after getting a degree in wildland restoration from the U of MT, is now working her family farm in the northern reaches of the Palouse. Another youngster who is co-president of 1000 New Gardens, an organization that aims to increase local food production and consumption in Missoula by assisting families to put in back yard gardens. A young man who is back in school after spending 5 years working in the mining industry in the remote reaches of Nevada. Add in 3 children of the 60’s….from the era where we were taught that we could save the world rather than just protect that which is most precious to us. There were some interesting discussions surrounding sustainability, population overload of the planet (one of Jim’s first classroom lessons every year), generational farming practices, and the very real human element of resisting change. I love hearing people’s stories, and with each one that I hear, it tweaks my world view just a bit. I’m still processing everything that was said. Got me thinking about sustainability, and our own privilege in this world of being able to make choices that can impact our environment in a positive way.

I’ve been thinking about a more personal sustainability as well. The month of March was hectic. 7 days in CA with a large amount of airline travel and an even huger number of hours spent behind the wheel of a car as Jasper and I toured colleges. 6 more days travelling back and forth to MT to access snowmobiles that then pulled us and our gear into the mountains and back. My carbon foot print was big, but it was my own personal energy that took the largest hit. Cramming a week’s worth of work into 2 days for 3 weeks running meant for long and exhausting work days. Prepping meals for a trip and making sure there were edibles left at home for the teenage boy meant for late nights. Things that keep me sane, swimming and running in the early mornings, talking to John before I go to bed, meant for very short nights of sleep. I also have had minimal solo time when not in my car lately….and that….feeds my soul. I’ve learned through my years that I need a balance of time alone to time spent in the company of others. Without solo time, I feel crowded and crabby, and I withdraw. Without the people I love, I feel adrift and lonely. It is a fine balance, but I know I need both to sustain my energy…which, as much as I might wish otherwise…is a finite resource.

I will be at the rastra build on Sunday, and working/swimming in our local swim meet on Saturday. I will ride my bike and not drive my car. John will be working at his shop this weekend, and skiing or biking depending on the weather. I will miss seeing him, but I have 5 days to spread my work into, and a refrigerator full of food to cook for the teenaged boy and myself. I’ve been in bed before 10pm for the last 3 nights running and slept long enough to dream. There was time for a movie…and once I found out that I can buy Evening in Missoula tea at our co-op….it helped a bit with the prospect of a lonely night or 2. I’ll take some solo time. I don’t like feeling crowded or crabby, but most importantly, I don’t want to withdraw from the people I love. I love life, this life, and the very precious people in it. I will do what I need to do to maintain the sustainability of my energy. Hope to see some of you at the build on Sunday.

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