5. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
Many people devote their year off to voluntary work, to helping others in need and to helping the planet. It is possible to do voluntary work in all types of domains, however it is generally assumed that a year out should be more self centred. So we checked out some win-win situations where you can combine doing something that’s good for the planet with doing something that’s good for yourself. Why not take some time away from the city and take advantage of the benefits of an organic farm, something that’s good for both your health and the planet. If ecotourism isn’t your thing, it’s still possible to go organic and live in an urban environment. We show you how...
TEMPT YOURSELF AND IMPROVE THE WORLD
1. ORGANIC URBAN FARMING FOR A BETTER WORLD
Organic urban farming is a type of agriculture that breaks away from traditional farming practices that are unsafe for our bodies and the community in general. Even if we already know about organic farming and what it advocates, the key world here is “urban”. This means “rooted in the local”; instead of transporting agricultural produce from thousands of kilometres away, from the producers to the consumers, organic urban farming (zero distance) encourages and sustains local agriculture; the production of resources by citizens themselves. The idea is to learn how to restructure urban development according to the principles of sustainability, in order to create a healthy living environment, a thriving economy and local food production.
Video. URBAN FARMS
The creation of farms in the urban landscape brings people closer to the produce and reduces the amount of energy spent in transporting it to consumers. (Duration: 3 minutes and 40 seconds)
2. COUNTRY LIVING IN THE CITY
Is it possible to satisfy your family’s needs and help the planet at the same time? The answer is yes. Take for example the American entrepreneur who took time out from the management of his 13 agencies and listened to his wife’s wish to be closer to nature. Without leaving the city, he brought himself and his family into closer contact with nature. It may be difficult to adjust, but the results can be very positive given that you are caring for the environment and making sure that your family are leading healthier and happier lives. Using your year out to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle may be a rewarding experience in more ways than one.
Video. THE URBAN CONVERSION
This extract from The Urban Conversion shows an example of a typical city family trying to get the best of both worlds: city and country. (Duration: 3 minutes).
3. THE ORGANIC MANIFESTO
Maria Rodale was a typical mum looking to do the best she could for her kids and to give them the best food possible. Her research lead her to organic farming but she didn’t stop there; she wrote a book called “The Organic Manifesto”. In it, she explains how organic farming can stop climate change, heal our planet, feed the world and keep us safe. Here’s a review of the book when you feel ready to take it with you on your gap year: www.stilettochef.com/343/a-droolfest-good-read-organic-manifesto
Video. MARIA RODALE’S MANIFESTO
This video includes some quick suggestions on organic foods and their benefits to your health. (Duration: 4 minutes)
4. CUBA’S LATEST REVOLUTION: URBAN FARMING
One never thinks of Cuba as a place for sustainable development. Yet this island, with its fair share of difficulties, produces many of the products that we find in supermarkets all over the world, as well as trying to produce everything it needs on its own limited land.
This video from Kitchengardeners.org is a good explanation of how Havana has developed its agricultural policies to enjoy locally grown organic fruit and vegetables. (Duration: 6 minutes)
5. A FAMILIAR CURE TO SAVE THE WORLD
We wanted to finish off with something familiar to everyone. Inspiration came from the King of Pop: the request to act with good will and to do good deeds that will benefit the earth. And not just for the duration of that one year out...
Video. HEAL THE WORLD – MICHAEL JACKSON
The superb and melodic interpretation of a piece that will remain forever in the history of music. (Duration: 7 minutes).