Monday, June 10, 2013

A Day in the Life of an Eco Advocate

Across the Nation and around the world, 'a day in the life' is recorded. Published in photo-journalism style, a series of books capture cultural diverse lifestyles of people, places and events. Intrigued by this concept, I decide to record 'a day in my life'.

Choosing a Monday, I began the day with leisurely consuming a second cup of coffee. Having deliberately delay activities, I  assume commuter traffic presently to be minimal; so,I pack my gardening golf cart with supplies and head out to begin landscape maintenance chores. As a present-day caretaker for generational family property located in central Virginia, chores start in an area that connects to a public road. After removing weeds from a landscaped area, I pick up trash and using a mower, next cut grassy areas. Then, I step outside of our private property area and focus on clean up of the County right-of-way area. Why do I make this choice? If I don't make an additional effort, it could be weeks if not months before public funded clean up occurs.

After taking a brief break, supplies are packed and slowly I travel back into the family complex. Passing individually maintained properties, I inspect for 'needed clean up' but there is no need to stop. In fact, it is not until I reach an intersection that I chose to stop. After pulling a few weeds, I cut grass; still, there is little or no clean up necessary. A final stop is an area  which  provides access to the property's original house site. After trimming over grown shrubs, I cut grass and opt to spray for invasive weeds.

While most properties are associated with publically funded 'common areas', we because the area is a family complex maintain an one-half mile private road and its surrounding landscape. Because this space is shared with others, I exchange ideas with a neighbor related to improvement of the area's eco maintenance. And, when grandchildren arrive home from school, they are included in this process. Changing my 'gardening cart' to the Nana mobile, we ride around and inspect installed cool and warm season veggie gardens. We also inspect the progress of what is refer to as the 'Noah  Ark' - one or two plants as necessary - orchard.

As a result, this 'day in my life' experience is a blend of private and public space chores with input from multiple generations of community residents; so, what life lessons are identified? In this case, it definitely 'takes a village perspective' to make maintenance of a generational property work. Why? The area hosts open green spaces which are farm, wetland habitats occupied by critters, home site areas occupied by people; and, receives runoff from over 500 acres of surrounding suburban urban development which makes eco conservation a 21st century priority. In other words, it takes a perspective of CARE - conservation, accountability, recovery and eco efficient - to sustainably land manage this area.

If you were to record a 'day in your life', what would you identify? Would you discover that you 'walk your talk'? Would you be seen as an eco advocate? During the year of 2013, I've issued a challenge to all to 'get real' in their communication. So, if someone observed your 'day in a life', what message would you communicate? Would you be seen as a person who has a perspective of CARE?

Whether interested in effective communication and/or eco efficiency tips and strategies, visit web site Together, let's get real - walk our talk, be seen as people who have positive eco impact during a 'day in our life'.   

Sylvia Wright
Move from eco-weak to eco-chic – ‘green’ life’s garden, one scoop at a time! Link to column, or Sylvia's book store,
Member of

And allow me to share this excerpt of my upcoming book: "I once had a Farm in Ireland"

Here is what our typical day looked like: Get up at 6 a.m. Make breakfast. Let out the geese and broilers as soon as the sun is out. Wake children. Grind wheat grains into flower in the pantry. 1kg takes about 45 minutes. Have breakfast. Start baking bread or cake while children get dressed and pack their bags. Prepare lunch boxes. Let bread rise and put in the hot Aga for an hour. (Mac would take it out when finished; usually on his coffee break). Mac would go out and check on animals if there were any in the stables. Together with our children, he would feed horses and muck out. Children feed dogs and cats. Shower and get dressed. Pack my books and get ready, equipped with shopping list. Get kids in the car. In the first years, drive kids to local school, later to the one in Limerick (45 min). Go to work: teach a few hours at the University while Mac ran the farm, collected eggs and let the hens out. In the afternoon, I’d pick up children, grab some groceries with our tired offspring in the car. Time for coffee and cake break while kids do their homework. Mac would go to do his errands, as soon as the car was back or all go horse riding. I had to prepare classes for next day or do some gardening-- or harvesting, depending on the time of year. Once a week in the second and third year I would give German classes to local kids around the kitchen table an hour or two. Then the stables have to be mucked out again, animals fed and put to bed: Geese & chickens rounded up and locked in. Cook dinner. Tidy up kitchen. Time for a book or paper. Then crash exhausted, usually by 9 p.m.
The Ex Farmer's Wife's page on FB who is also an Eco advocate since 1980.


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