Back to basics – Make Do and Mend

Making do, sustainability and living a simpler life

July 12th is National Simplicity Day – a day to put technology away and get back to basics; reflect on the simpler things in life.  Claire reflects on how we can be more positive about sustainability and more aware of the benefits of living a more frugal life:

I may be looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses, but out of necessity, many of our grandparents lived a thrifty life, often making do with alternative ways to get a job done. From using natural and inexpensive cleaners and soaps to cooking from scratch and fixing the broken. Shoes and boots, bicycles and clothes, you name it – everything was repaired and made to last as long as possible.  It seems as though we have lost this in more recent years, but there are new kids on the block who are taking up the baton, like ‘Fast ‘n’ Fashion’ – a group of students from Heath Park School in Wolverhampton, who are running workshops to encourage their peers to ‘sew it – not throw it’.

Back then, most people grew their own vegetables in their backyards.  Buying local or growing food in your own garden was a staple of life for our grandparents and great-grandparents. Growing veggies and herbs is something we can easily do, no matter if you live in a rural or urban area, and it is friendly to the environment and your wallet.  This year we had a number of teams in the Big Ideas Competition that were looking at bringing the school garden concept back into secondary schools, such as ‘Grow Your Mind’ from Moseley Park School, Wolverhampton, and ‘Vegetables’ from Castle View Academy, Portsmouth – so perhaps all is not lost.

Shopping locally as our grandparents did also reduces the use of plastics as most local butchers and greengrocers or farm shops tend to stock loose produce. So, if we want to really learn about living more sustainably perhaps, we could ask the experts, our grandparents.  Rather than sustainability being seen as something for the green elite I, for one, would be happy to go back to my working-class roots and make do and mend.

Written by: Claire Fitton, S4TP Programme Coordinator, North England

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd