‘Tomorrow’, the Film

Before the lockdown, a friend of mine lent me her copy of the film ‘Tomorrow’.

Written by Cyril Dion, and directed by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent, the film focuses on the powerlessness it’s easy to feel when dealing with the climate crisis, and what people all over the world are doing to combat this at both a grass-roots and political level.

Featuring segments about urban agriculture, local currency, Finnish schooling, and all manner of subjects in between, the film-makers manage to paint a really positive picture of how our world could look in the near future. And most importantly of all, it looks achievable. The interviews with people who have already made aspirational changes make it look easy, and rather than the feeling of doom that’s so prevalent in much of the media in regards to climate, I came away from watching this with a feeling of hope.

Hope that I could do more, hope that what I was doing mattered, hope that others would try too. The Los Angeles Times Review said it really well;

‘”Tomorrow” swaps the usual handwringing doomsday prophesizing in favor of a decidedly more proactive approach.’

I particularly loved the soundtrack to the film, which is possibly a bit of a superficial take-away from it, but I felt it was so perfect for setting the tone and keeping things positive, but not ‘jolly’. And from a personal stand-point, the division into ‘chapters’ really aided my watching this – it meant that I could sneak a segment in daily whilst the children were occupied with other things.

Have you seen the movie? Is it one you would recommend? I would love to hear your thoughts, and any other suggestions for things I could watch. Contact me here, or on Twitter.

‘Project Wild Thing’, the film

Project Wild Thing, by David Bond, is a really interesting little film. Released back in 2013, this one has slipped under my radar until now and I’m not entirely sure why… It appeared on my Twitter feed as something free to watch during lockdown and so, excited to see something new, I thought I would give it a go.

Project Wild Thing Screening - Upper Hutt - Eventfinda

I spoke before about how, in order to get children to care about the natural world, we needed to get them out in it, and invested in what was happening there. This film is about doing exactly that.

In the beginning, David appoints himself ‘marketing director for nature’ and from that point on, the narrative just sort of writes itself. He looks at the amount of time his own children spend outside and comes up with a pretty sad pie chart – only 4% of his daughter’s time is spent outside. This is the same proportion of time that she spends in the bathroom.

Speaking to marketing advisors and various creative people, David discovers that whilst parents want their children to go outside and enjoy the natural world, many are too conscious of risk. He touches on our societal fears of abduction and injury and I feel like these points are really important to acknowledge.

The scene in which David interviews a classroom of teenage girls really resonated with my own secondary school experience. In short, the pressure to look a certain way dictated their actions – in this case, they avoided the natural world. They didn’t want to go outside in bad weather because of the clothes they’d be made to wear by parents. It was a stark reminder of the culture amongst secondary children – peer approval really is everything, and unless we normalise the use of appropriate clothing amongst older children/young adults, this isn’t a problem that’s going to go away.

After watching the film, I had a better look at the website for The Wild Network. There are all sorts of things on there which I want to explore more of – specifically the various activity ideas.

At the time of writing, the film was available to watch for free, but even if that’s no longer the case, I would still recommend seeking it out. It’s a properly interesting little documentary.

Have you watched Project Wild Thing? What did you think? Do you have any ideas for other films I should see? As ever, contact me here or on Twitter to let me know.

Aqua faba

Recently,  I was asked to contribute an article to my local magazine. I made the decision to focus on the waste we create around our food.  You can read it here – I’m on pages 14 & 15.

In case you can’t view the PDF, here’s some pictures of the vegan meringue and chocolate mousse I made to go along with the article.


Aqua-faba meringue recipe

  • 1 can’s-worth of aqua-faba (I prefer the chick-pea kind but kidney bean works well too)
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the over to 100C.
Whisk the aqua-faba until it doubles in volume.
Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk until the
AF stands in stiff peaks.
Slowly add the icing sugar and fold in, gently.
Spoon dollops of the mixtrue, or pipe it, onto a lined baking sheet.
Place in the oven for two hours and don’t open the door during this time.
After the two hours, turn off the oven but do not remove the meringues for at least another hour, though ideally, they are best if left until the oven has reached room temperature.
Once completely cooled, store in a cool, dry place.

Chocolate mousse recipe

  • 1 can’s-worth of aqua-faba (I prefer the chick-pea kind but kidney bean works well too)
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 100g dark chocolate (use vegan-friendly chocolate if required)

Set your chocolate to melt in a bain marie or bowl over a pan of boiling water.

Meanwhile, whisk the aqua-faba until it doubles in volume. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk until the AF stands in stiff peaks.

Gently fold the melted chocolate into the AF mixture.
Spoon into appropriate recepticles (I use old china teacups, but glass ramekins from store-bought
puddings work really well too).

Refridgerate for a few hours until firm.

Enjoy with fresh berries and whipped cream/coconut milk, or eat plain as a desert

 

The reality of plastic-free shopping

This morning, armed with my shopping list, meal plan and a rare full tank of petrol, I decided to see how many things I could purchase without generating plastic waste.

As Husband didn’t have any work this morning, he opted to join me and our youngest child (4) on our mission. Given that no one was remaining in our home, the dog had to come too*, which added an extra dimension to our trip – an almost full car, a time limit in each shop, and little space to put the groceries.

Three supermarkets and one private dairy later, and this was the state of affairs:

The circled items contain plastic packagaing. Though the above picture isn’t that clear, I hope that it’s visible enough…

Anyway – the first place we called was Lidl. I like shopping here because they have a bakery section with loose items, a good selection of loose veg, and you can buy nuts by weight – ideal snacks for after school. It’s also cheap, so if I can get the majority of my shopping here, I’m onto a winner. I also made sure to buy something from the bakery section for us to snack on for when the 4 yr old announced ‘I’m Hungry’, lest we accidentally gave in to the inevitable incessent requests for something grab-sized and packaged.

Again, the picture quality isn’t amazing but items on the list which did come housed in plastic were those which I knew would be plastic-wrapped anywhere but which were cheaper at Lidl.

These were:

  • Muesli (one of our sensory safe foods which must come from Lidl anyway).
  • Double cream – I will use the pots for packed lunch deserts/freezing things in.
  • Greek Style Yogurt – for a recipe in which the yorgurt serves as marinate. Leftovers will be breakfast/decanted into smaller containers for packed lunch and the bucket will be used to store/freeze/transport items from the package free shop.
  • Spatzle/German Egg Pasta – Husband’s taste of home. I don’t begrudge him that and Lidl only sell it every few months so we stock up. I will use the bags to freeze things in as they come with metal ‘ties’.
  • Cod Fillets – I don’t know. Husband put them in.
  • Scottish Baby Potatoes – See ‘Cod fillets’.

After Lidl, it was on to Morrisons. There is maybe a mile between the two, through the town centre. On my own, with a shopping trolley, I would definitely have walked it in my pre-children days. Of course, in my pre-children days, you didn’t get fined for staying too long in one car park. This ‘parking eye’ nonsense means that unless you plan to ignore all the fines you get sent until they leave you alone**, you have to keep moving your car between supermarket car parks. In our case, we had to travel through the centre of an already concested town.

Anyway, that’s a rant for another day… Plastic purchased from Morrisons, bearing in mind we took our own jars for olives etc:

  • 4 Packs of salted Brittish Butter (this makes many things a safe-food – non-negotiable)
  • 6 packs of Stockan’s oatcakes (though I forgot to circle two cheese-flavour packs for the picture). These are wrapped in a thin layer of plastic and nothing else, unlike the likes of Nairns – for example – which are in cardboard and then further plastic inside. Both Stockan’s and Nairns use sustainably sourced palm oil for their oatcakes.***
  • 1 pack of fresh corriander – we can grow this in future, but I accidentally killed off the last plant and the new one hasn’t germinated yet. Buying cut herbs in a bag seemed less wasteful than buying living herbs in a pot when I already had a pot.

Finally, we made our way to Tesco, which I’d been hoping to avoid, but Morrisons had run out of fresh yeast (on the plus side, the yeast from Tesco is free so… bonus). Another store within a mile – again it was necessary to repark.

As you can see, the reciept does not say ‘fresh yeast’ on it… basically, you just walk up to the bakery section in large stores and ask the staff for some fresh yeast, please. They then go grab you some, give it to you, and you show it to the cashier as you leave. Then that’s it – you’re not charged (or shouldn’t be).

You might also be able to see that most of what’s on the Tesco reciept is plastic wrapped, but in this case, I’m glad of the individual plastic packaging. Only the tea, the asprin and two of the essentials toothpastes came home with me. The rest went into the foodbank collection box. I’m not sure how easy it would be to distribute a huge sack of salt, but little plastic shakers are easy enough to pass out. Obviously “poverty plus plastic” is too large a topic for a layman like me to tackle, but it’s instances like this which  raise a lot of questions for me. It’s easy to get judgy about plastic use, but our situations are all so difference and there are so many without a choice – it’s a nice reminder to be gentler with another.

But I digress, of the stuff that came back with me, the following contained plastic:

  • The toothpaste tubes – a ‘sensory safe’ item, this is non-negotiable.
  • Curry powder – not available in larger containers in any of the supermarkets we visited and not available at this time from our plastic-free shop.
  • Asprin tablets – the only thing which will touch my migraines. I live in the cope of finding these housed in glass bottles somewhere but have yet to be successful.
  • Leaf tea – the box is cardboard, there are no bags so no plastic there, but the film beneath the lid is ‘not currently recyclable’. Still, it’s a start.

And then we went to the dairy. I refilled my three 1-litre glass bottles, as well as a large plastic milk bottle originally from Tesco and a plastic 1 litre tonic-water bottle. The later two were sterilised using milton, so didn’t require heat. I’ve frozen both of the plastic containers so that we will have lower-waste milk for longer this week.

You might have noticed a large quantity of some of the goods – the muesli and the toothpaste, the tea and croissants, for example. These are either part of our ‘safe’ set of products, or are part of the ever-vital routine of our household (Sunday morning croissants – mmm). I’m trying to gather a little ‘backlog’ (I don’t want to call it a stock-pile yet), in case Brexit does disrupt food lines to the extent expected. At least this way, I have options.

If you’d like to read more about stockpiling, Jack Monroe – as ever – has you covered.

So yes, having been to 4 seperate businesses, 12 out of the 45 different items purchased were packaged with some kind of single-use plastic. That’s just over a quarter of all food.

__
*The dog happened to us, almost accidentally. He was originally purchased as a Jack Russel x Chihuahua by someone who, presumably, had never seen either breed (given that he’s undeniably a sight-hound x labrador). On his growing larger than the family had expected, they put him on Gumtree as ‘free to a good home’ and he was lucky enough to be picked up by a local greyhound charity. Placed with one home, it soon became evident that he couldn’t be left alone without destroying things so he was moved on. To us. Because 99% of the time there’s someone in our house, he’s usually the happiest, easiest dog ever. On that other 1% of occassions we toss a coin and either leave him here (in which case he destroys ALL THE THINGS) or we take him with us. Today we took him along.

That was a really long back-story for one sentence… oops.

**I don’t recommend it. It’s pretty stressful…. or so I hear. Ahem.

***I know you can make oatcakes fairly easily, and I do quite often, but these are just so great to have in the house – ready made – for if my packed-lunch plans fail, or if the bread doesn’t work for lunch and we don’t have time to wait for me to make an alternative.

Hello!

Welcome to Trail of Breadcrumbs.

My aim in making this site is to chronicle our efforts to live in a more environmentally friendly way. Let me tell you a little bit about us.

We are a family of four with a single, self-employed income. We live rurally in a part of the United Kingdom where there isn’t access to regular public transport or large, centralised communities. The nearest place you might call a large town is over an hour’s drive away. Our nearest supermarket is 30 minutes’ drive. There is no chance of glass-bottle doorstep milk delivery where we live (though I wish there was).

What we do have is an abundance of opportunities to forage wild foods, an amazing garden which we plan to work and a wonderful community.

I hope the things that I discover and chronicle here will help other people make changes which could potentially reduce their outgoings – both financially and environmentally.

xx

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