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Our programme of once monthly evening events on  Identity and Consumerism, continues  with a session  on 

Seeing Past the Lies?

Here we look at  the information presented  and the social contexts  in which it is framed, so as  to  help us expand our own understanding of truth. We ask  how our emotions feed into consumerism, and whether this buying and selling process can ever be sustainable.

We recognize  that the extremes of consumerism are much harder to deal with in the face of cut backs and the compelling need for a more sustainable life style.

The session will take place at   St Mary Arches Church, Mary Arches St, Exeter, Devon EX4 3.

From  6.30 for teas and coffees for a 7.00pm start. Everyone welcome!.

For more info contact lukeappleton@homeblend.eu or call 07806729083

11-5-24-see-past-the-lies (1)

What role can community play in reducing the power of consumerism?

Event May 25th 6.45pm Palace Gate Rooms, Exeter

All welcome

Click on link below for poster

Community-consumerism[1] (1)

Well three quarters of the way through, and how are all our happy band getting on with  ‘Buy Nothing for Lent’?

As a common theme, it is making everyone more aware of their spending  and encouraging us to question each purchase – in  a positive way – before proceeding. And that’s the main point, careful and sustainable spending.

Its important not to tie ourselves up in knots about what is OK and celebrate all our successes, reviewing future spending as we go.

If you have been taking part, or watching with interest, please feel free to comment.

First from G:-

Managed to have a fall ( not recommended) but it means a 'go slow' re travel and time out so that's saving some dosh.
Did an outgoings count and found my bills for Broad band and phone were going through the roof, so made a joint deal for both and made a 
saving of £30.00 per month-wow!
Also driving slower (60mph) I know should have been driving like this for years but hey better late than never.
Am also doing more free social stuff poetry/arts sharings,walks,laughs, meditations and meals in with friends.
Drawing on the sustainable consumerism 'cook in' and making more soups, quiche and crumble and reducing my shopping bills a bit.
Weakened and bought one £3.95 t-shirt, but other wise no gear...
Lost my glasses (oh sugar!) but claiming on insurance.
So far a bit in credit at the bank. ( First time for months)

Final comment
If we all manage to resist buying stuff that we don't really 
need ,we''ll change the world. But for me this also means resisting 
Cuts to our humane State benefits and services especially the NHS

From R:-

* going fairly good
* its the interactions with others and the expectations they have for conforming to social norms (eg, meeting at cafe) that are the hardest challenge
* the interpretation of what is as obvious exception leads to walking a  tightrope between bogging yourself down in self imposed rules, or not thinking too much and acting as normal.
*I have times when I feel the “buying any food is ok” is a cop out (packets of crisps in non recyclable packet are clearly not essential to my well being) – I may look at my food buying seperately in future
*the biggest challenge to my smug lifestyle (my choice of description!) has come from an inspiring friend, who with the help of ecocel (http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/n88.htm) is trying to cut her carbon foot print to a sustainable level over a 5 year time table.  Currently this is about 15% of the UK average (she’s at about 45%). The question is, do you think this is an obvious necessaty for us all or a ridulously hard self imposed challenge? (my answer veers towards both, I’m currently trying to work out if I dare try and put my money where my mouth is.  If not, I may have a lot of explaining to do to any grandchildren).

From K:-

I’ve not done v.well at all I’ve got to say Embarrased smile these are the things I have managed however…

– Went to Crediton clothes Fair and swapped 17 old pieces of junk for 17 new bits!  Haha no got a nice bag, some smart ballet pumps, a pretty scarf and lots of great fabric for other projects.  It was great fun and got some really good ideas from the up-styling workshops they were running.

– Took part in a Cook-In at Pennys, a wonderful afternoon session dreaming up ideas for a three course meal out of old bits and pieces we all have lying around in our cupboards.  Out of a random table of oddments we made two tasty soups, a quiche with couscous and roast veg salad and then chocolate cake with fruits to top.

– The biggest development though is I’ve really got into using the Freecycle group here in Exeter, over the last two weeks have got two jackets, two lamps, some seeds, a singer sewing machine with table and a huge stack of magazines for my de-coding workshop ..absolutely thrilled!  A great resource, recommend it to everyone!  Oh also I did go to a Re-use event organised by the University where I picked up a load of v.useful files and folders for free!

While I’ve had great fun trying out new things, I’m not sure how much money I’ve saved or whether I’ve actually spent less …got a bit of a nasty shock the other day when checking my account balance.  I find the main difficulty is finding the time to actually do things, they’re often great ideas but time-costly …it’s just too easy to spend money when rushing around trying to get everything done. The bizzare thing is that spending money doesn’t require so much thinking ..whereas not spending does..  People are so often lacking in time and the head-space to get their heads around all of these new ideas, finding things which can be slotted into hectic lives quickly, easily and simply is the only way any changes will catch-on.  Freecycle is probably the best example of that, it’s very quick and easy to use, with updates sent straight into your inbox will all the relevant details, ticks all the boxes!

My intention was also to do some movie nights in and a have a clothes swap with friends ..but these haven’t happened, we’ve still tended to opt for oh so boring, traditional and costly (but fun, easy to organize and inclusive of everyone) pub and club nights out …this is something I might have more of a think about for the rest of ‘buy less month’..

So all in all I must say I am a little disappointed with how little I’ve achieved, but it has really shown me how those ‘nice ideas’ don’t always translate into reality…   sure onwards and upwards from here! Smile

The sustainable consumerism group decided to have a ‘cook-in’ to practice putting together random ingredients into a meal.

The Great big Cook-In

With all the cooking programmes on television and numerous cookery books available in the shops, people often feel they must follow a recipe to the letter to produce good food. Learning to have the courage to use the ingredients you have available and to trust your instincts, is a valuable asset. With experience and experimentation, we all hope to learn to make meals out of whatever is at hand – just like our Grandmothers could!

We all brought along items from our kitchen that would need eating up in the next few days.

We then quickly pooled our ideas of what we could do and came up with the following menu

Lentil soup

Root vegetable soup

Cheese and leek quiche

Roast vegetable cous cous

Fluffy chocolate orange cake

Ingredients for Soup

After much peeling and chopping of vegetables the onions, potatoes, and carrots were split between both soups. The lentils were added to one and the swede, and parsnip was added to the other. The vegetables were covered in stock and the simmering began. Spices were also added  – paprika, cumin and mixed herbs.

Peppers, chilli, courgette and tomatoes were roasted in the oven. The cous cous was prepared (just cover with boiling water and allow to stand for five minutes). The two were put together and this was the result!

Roast vegetable cous cous

For the quiche, wholemeal pastry was made, leeks and onions fried, eggs beaten and cheese grated.  We decided on individual quiches so we could each take one home and we had some individual flan tins.

The pastry was rolled and placed in each one. the onions and leek placed in each along with some cheese. An egg and milk mixture was poured over each and some mozerella cheese added to the top. They were then baked in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Preparing Quiches

Finally the chocolate cake was made from these ingredients!

Ingredients for pudding

And we all went home with two soups, one quiche and vegetable cous cous.

Dinner for Two

And the chocolate cake?

Chocolate Cake

Was never seen again!!

This March green walks will be heading out for a stroll north of the city, exploring Hoopern Valley, Streatham Campus and Duryard Valley Nature Reserve! Also an added extra for this months walk we’ll have Hannah Gibbons from the Devon Wildlife Trust coming along to share some interesting info on the habitats we amble through and the wildlife we see!
This months route… 

• As ever there are two options for the walk. We’ll start off together from the Cathedral, ambling up alongside the Hoopern Valley on the Green circle route, then up through some of the gorgeous green areas on Streatham Campus. At the top of the campus the group will divide depending on what you feel up to..

– OPTION 1: (The main route) From the top of Streatham Campus we’ll go on up Belvidere Road continuing along the green circle route. We’ll then turn off and head down into and around Duryard Nature Reserve in a loop before coming back through the old part of Streatham Campus, past Reed Hall and the gardens there. We’ll continue back into town along New North Road, past the clock tower and finishing back at the Cathedral. (See the map below for more details of the exact route we’ll be taking). Highlights of this walk include biodiversity info from Hannah Gibbons but also some fantastic views of the city and into the rolling green hills beyond. Do note this route is a bit steep at times and we will be walking along some slightly muddy and grassy terrain, (and briefly through some less exciting residential areas) …however don’t let this put you off though as it really is worth it!
– OPTION 2: This route is for those of you who really aren’t so fond of hills, particularly families with prams and young children. From the top of Streatham campus, Gill Baker from the Transition Exeter Families team will be leading you on a shorter, gentler route along the top of the campus then joining up with the end of the main route (option 1 above). There’ll be a stop-off at a playground along to way for kiddies before landing back at the Cathedral. 

General bits and bobs to bring/throw in the bag…

• An extra knitted jumper, scarf or pair of gloves to keep you cosy
• Bottle of water/juice/whatever it is you like to drink
• An energy/snack bar in case you get peckish or need that burst of energy
• A camera ..there are some gorgeous views to be had..so if you like taking a few photos do bring your camera.
• …and most importantly bring your chat! This group is really about meeting people you might not normally get a chance to, having a natter and sharing ideas ..so get ready to enjoy a chin-wag.

Last couple of things…

• Wear sensible footwear ..walking boots are recommended, but wellies or if not old trainers would do the job too.
• Temperatures can dip a little towards 4pm so wrap up warm ..it’s better to over-do the layers than to have too few!
• Walks should take roughly around 2 – 2 ½ hours.
• Walks are weather dependant. Wind and rain is best seen from indoors and that’s where we’ll stay if mother nature decides to throw up a storm. Fingers crossed for nice weather but keep an eye on this page for the latest updates..
• Everyone welcome, so do bring along friends, family, neighbours, dogs, determined cats ..the more the merrier!

In the meantime if you want any more info at all, or have a question ..just give us a shout via: exetergreenwalks@gmail.com

Hope to see you on the 27th!! 🙂
This informative and interactive workshop will look behind all the gloss, glamour and empty promises and often absurd and hilarious advertising techniques that are used to get us buying!   You will come away equipped with some of the tools and knowledge to critically examine and question the bombardment of ads we are all faced with and more immune to their effects!

This event is free! ..however, a voluntary contribution of £2 would be much appreciated to help cover room hire and costs of refreshments.  Everyone welcome!!

When is this? 7-9pm Wednesday 30th March (arrive 6.45pm for a cuppa and cookie!)

Where? Palace Gate Rooms, Palace Gate, Exeter

Want more info? kloe.wood@hotmail.com

Well we are a week in now – so let’s have a brief review.

R has been doing a daily update – doing rather well on the whole and prepared to accept that one cannot be perfect all of the time! You can read her daily thoughts here.

P has been working on cooking everything from scratch and this has happened, bar a pasta and commercially produced sauce, on returning from a trip to a friends house. Some guilt about the spending on petrol, but a once in three months visit to a friend of 20+ years was justified. It is the friendships that are stronger than ever after the ups and downs of life that can produce our most profound and joyful moments. A hugely enjoyable time was had, with laughter that nearly prevented breathing, as well as serious discussions on the world today.

P needs to start planning next craft activity, and a recent swishing event was inspirational.

So far no impulse buys and bravely resisted a purchase in a craft shop of an entirely useless, but pretty item.

L’s rejection of alcohol has so far been both successful and liberating.

K has done a yoga class at home instead of going out and had friends for a meal.

G has reviewed monthly spending and is more aware of monthly outgoings. Now the challenge of reducing is to be tackled

We would love to hear from anyone who is joining us through the Facebook page and welcome comments on low cost and sustainable living.

Tips and ideas on low cost living can be found on the Zerocredit website

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