Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ever since Nigella insisted that ground semolina was the secret weapon for crispy roast potatoes, it's been impossible to find any of the stuff in my neck of the woods. Several times in Waitrose I've been nearly mown down by desperate women seeking out other celebrity chef "must haves" such as goose fat and organic ground mace. I thought ground mace was something one sprayed at rapists, but not so.

Celebrity chefs are the gods of our time and their utterances are seized upon with the awe and respect we used to accord to statesmen, the Queen and religious leaders. But I remain optimistic that the reign of celebrity chefs will soon be over and replaced by... ecologists. If ecologists had as much influence, we'd see an unprecedented run on eco-friendly light bulbs and happily live on kale for months. We'd be rushing out to buy straw bales, which would be available in supermarkets throughout the country.

Let me explain. After perusing my recycled glass ball, I predict straw bales will be the latest must-have for the hard-core Green this year. I'll soon be attending a permaculture course and have been reading up on this fascinating science that teaches us how to live sustainably. Apparently, we should have a bale of straw in our gardens. Sensitive readers turn away now. If you pee on a bale of straw over a month, it will naturally rot down in the soil and it won't smell. It's a hassle-free composting toilet. Men's pee is preferable to women's, which is more acidic, but this may be one of those sexist permaculture myths I hear about.

I haven't tried it yet. I was born in Surrey and consequently have no clue where to find a bale. I hope to stumble across one soon and report back once I've dragged it home.

We desperately need to conserve our water. The WWF says the combination of climate change and poor resource management is leading to water shortages in even the most developed countries.

Astonishingly, less than 1 per cent of our high-quality drinking water is used for cooking and drinking. Waterwise, an NGO that specialises in saving water, says there are around 45 million toilets in UK homes, using an estimated two billion litres of fresh water every day. More than seven million of the toilets use 13 litres of water. This extravagant waste of quality drinking water is partly responsible for the tragic draining of water from our streams and rivers, which is having a devastating effect on wildlife.

The bale would also make my guest bathroom redundant, which means I can create a home office there and I won't need a loft conversion. Or perhaps I should just bale out and blow the money on a new hat and a cruise instead.

www.permaculture.org; www.naturewise.org.uk (offers details of permaculture courses); www.naturalcollection.com (sells many ingenious water-saving gadgets)

Comments