Sustainability has become one of those words that gets used with little thought. But it is a really big deal. Climate change, deforestation, pollution and threatened species all serve to remind us that it is a finite world. We can’t take more than what the world can replenish or withstand. This applies to all things in our lives. At some point, we need to reflect deeply on how we live, what we use and how our time is spent and consider its sustainability.
As a farmer, there are abundant examples where sustainability is a constant consideration. Rotating grazing areas is essential or overgrazing will destroy the pasture. Plants fail to flourish if the nutrients in the soil aren’t replenished. If an area of the garden requires so much maintenance time that other areas suffer, things have to be changed.
As a weaver, the amount of loom waste that gets thrown out is alarming. I save all that waste yarn and use it. The photo accompanying this post is of a table runner I wove with the waste yarn from three projects. The fibre I use also has a sustainability consideration. Natural fibres are generally sustainable, with the exception of non-organic cotton, but some of the commercially produced yarns use an enormous amount of water in processing. I upcycle clothing and mend items to extend their usefullness.
As a mature adult, I must also consider the sustainability of my lifestyle. There are no medical facilities or public transit where I live. There are only two of us in a great big house. I love to travel, but the consumption of fossil fuels is a significant issue. We can all make small changes that help – not buying plastic, driving less, conserving water and recycling or reusing items – but the big thinking is just beginning.