Caroline Roy's Blog

Hong Kong
I am a recycled travel writer/advertising executive and a long term yoga practitioner. Having to raise two children in Hong Kong has made me an even more passionate green householder. I began to deepen my daily inquiry about sustainable living in 2006, when I was looking for a family home in Germany. I built an eco house in an alpine ecological farming community, where we spend time every year and learn more every time. I feel that it is more important than ever to educate ourselves about our environment. It is a great joy to share ideas, observations and solutions.
A Matter of inheritance
June 7, 2013

In 1978, my great-grandmother Clara, then aged 95, decided that she wanted to move to her daughter’s house. She had been a widow for 6 years, and living by herself had become tedious. All the family got together to help pack up her apartment’s contents and move her to her daughter’s house.
I was responsible for the kitchen. When I opened the cabinet under the sink, I found about 20 stacks of used but cleaned plastic whipped cream cups. Each stack held at least 15 cups. “Grandma, what’s this?” I asked. “They are from my whipped cream“, she said. It turned out that instead of cooking a Sunday roast as she used to when she lived with my great-grandfather, she now did her favorite thing: whip 250 mls of cream and eat it with a little vanilla sugar. It would substitute for her lunch. She was a thin and happy woman, and I believe she enjoyed those lunches more that cooking for her husband. In the six years of being a widow,...

trendsetting or mindsetting?
May 20, 2013

I happened to overhear a conversation in a home ware store, in which the sales staff called eco furniture a trend. It made me think. Technically there is nothing wrong with that remark. Products that have been made from reclaimed materials are becoming more mainstream by the day. And yet, I found the notion of trend unsatisfactory when it comes to cleaning up our lives.
Trends are informed by external sources: what is fashionable? what does everybody else do? what is expected of me? I would like to think that buying furniture, food or anything else with a conscience is a result of the understanding that we need to consume with great care. See the difference as trendsetting on the one hand, mind-setting on the other hand.
I am making this point because living within our ecological means is more complicated than living within our financial means. It is harder to measure. True, there is a lot of information out there on how to calculate your eco-footprint when you drive...

An Inspiration
May 20, 2013

When I read Paul Gilding’s book The Great Disruption in 2011 it was as if someone had finally put into words what had been in the back of my mind for decades. His message: the world is full of our stuff. We are running out of natural resources, space and time. Expect a great disruption to life as you know it. Our future will…
consist of less stuff, less convenience and much more education about our environment… and that’s for the lucky ones. Get used to being shocked on a daily basis, as food shortages, local droughts, polluted oceans, volatile financial markets, higher prices for commodities and other uncomfortable facts will be the new normal.
Nothing about this is new. I grew up in Germany. Most Germans have been guided by a green sensibility since the 1970s. I never quite got used to the consumption patterns of the Anglo-Saxon world, and 15 years in London followed by almost a...

A Matter of inheritance
June 7, 2013

In 1978, my great-grandmother Clara, then aged 95, decided that she wanted to move to her daughter’s house. She had been a widow for 6 years, and living by herself had become tedious. All the family got together to help pack up her apartment’s contents and move her to her daughter’s house.
I was responsible for the kitchen. When I opened the cabinet under the sink, I found about 20 stacks of used but cleaned plastic whipped cream cups. Each stack held at least 15 cups. “Grandma, what’s this?” I asked. “They are from my whipped cream“, she said. It turned out that instead of cooking a Sunday roast as she used to when she lived with my great-grandfather, she now did her favorite thing: whip 250 mls of cream and eat it with a little vanilla sugar. It would substitute for her lunch. She was a thin and happy woman, and I believe she enjoyed those lunches more that cooking for her husband. In the six years of being a widow,...

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