At Emeritus Vineyards, we do everything we can to work lightly upon the earth. The world is what we make it, and this is especially true of sustainability; we want our vineyards (and our world) to last! That’s why we dry farm, leave corridors so local wildlife can continue their natural migration patterns without too much interference, and recently planted Manzanita trees to help naturally absorb and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
We do these things and more, and we do them all the time—because each of these efforts is only as sustainable as the willingness to stick with them long term. We do this because, as a company, we want to be responsible for any impact we have on the environment.
If you’re wondering what it might look like should humanity succeed in solving major contemporary challenges, with a particular emphasis on sustainability problems such as climate change and pollution, there’s a name for that! It’s called Solarpunk, and it’s an aesthetic that focuses on renewable energies such as solar and wind power. It also embraces low-tech ways of sustainable living, from communal to individual efforts and from gardening to DIY culture.
Here are some ecologically sustainable resources to consider if you’re exploring creating, joining, or doing within your local community.
There are so many ways to take “Reduce Recycle Reuse” even further than making sure recyclables go in the right bin. In fact, an alternate way to recycle is to find the nearest Precious Plastic Collection Point. These are spaces run by people in your community or neighborhood that accept plastic waste to be recycled—and if there isn’t one near you, the Precious Plastic network will supply you with a starter kit full of business plans, marketing materials, etc., to start your own recycling business! Through an open source combination of people, machines, platforms, and knowledge, these raw materials are then transformed into artwork, building supplies, furniture, jewelry, and more.
The nice thing about Precious Plastic networks is that they stay local, reducing shipping and pollution as well as maintaining a personal connection with plastic. Even if there isn’t a Collection Point near you, you can still use their locator map to find nearby workshops where you can use shared resources to begin repurposing your own plastics you bring from home!
Workshops like these are also called makerspaces. A makerspace is a place in which people with shared interests can gather for communal access to equipment, ideas, knowledge, and generally help each other out with cool projects, so it’s a great resource. You can also look for more makerspaces here.
A fun project you can do at home is recycling your own paper from junk mail, used printer paper, old newspaper, broken down cardboard boxes, etc. It works great for handmade cards and gifts, and all you need to get started is a blender or food processor, an old picture frame or wood to make your own frame, a piece of mesh or screen for the frame, and a rectangular bin or pan that’s bigger than your frame and can hold water.
California has had its share of droughts in the last while, so we understand the need to sometimes watch your water bill. In our vineyards we usually manage to avoid the problem simply by dry farming, and letting the vines grow their roots deep to reach the groundwater stored beneath the land in our sandy-clay loam underlain with clay subsoils
You can do something similarly sustainable via DIY rainwater harvesters! It’s a great way to water plants or use for homemade paper project. For the technically minded with an interest in plumbing who want to go above and beyond, modify your toilet to flush with rainwater or greywater.
(Two quick caveats about rainwater harvesting. First, definitely check with your local ordinances to make sure your plan to do so is within regulations. Some areas can be a little particular about that. Second, before you drink the water you collect, be sure to thoroughly research how to purify it.)
A huge part of Solarpunk is community. If any of these projects above caught your fancy, try them out! Show off your creations to your neighbors, and if they’re interested help them do the same. The more you work together and depend on each other, the closer your community will grow to be.
Watch this space, because we’ll share more sustainability E-Spiration with you next week!