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The Selfish Idealist


Freedom is a word that has been on everybody’s lips for decades, actually a century and more, and changes in the way of life have been going on for the better. 

But we are not completely peaceful beings, and increased freedom calls for responsible behaviour. There is violence and violent reactions to it, and increasing oppression is going on and is on its way, I believe in all countries, and right now it ought to be a time for thinking and talking rather than for rash action.

Winter morning, Oslo

Sustainable laziness

Sustainable household Posted on 11 Aug, 2014 22:24

Does the bio-garbage stink? If you’re lazy and feel like postponing the emptying a little, keep a bag with some cheap coffee in the kitchen and sprinkle a little in the bin. It takes away the worst odour and replaces it with (not fresh, but still) a smell of coffee.

You can then be lazy and feel good at the same time, even using fewer garbage bags.

Practical toilet philosophy

Sustainable household Posted on 25 May, 2013 14:07

A small thing again:

If you buy a black toilet brush, not a white one, it will last longer, for obvious reasons. And if you throw a little salt in the little container for the brush, it won’t smell, because the bacteria are freshwater bacteria, they die when they are exposed to salt. At least this much salt.

A little money saved, one annoyance less, fewer products bought, less pollution in China.

Wet newspapers

Sustainable household Posted on 15 May, 2013 23:09

If you believe that something is happening with the climate, that maybe it’s a good idea to reduce carbon emissions, and that again, maybe it‘s another good idea to reduce or change your consumption of goods, here is a small thing you can do:

Put newspapers in your wet shoes to dry them. This was standard procedure in our house when I grew up, and the method has certain advantages: You don’t have to pay for the little machine that heats air and blows it into your shoes, neither will you pay for electricity for the same, no emissions from the factory (most likely in China), no emissions from production of the electricity we buy from abroad in the winter (mostly electricity in Norway comes from waterfalls), perhaps even not that many Norwegian rivers…well, a little destroyed.

If you are clever, you may even work less, because you don’t need quite so much money to buy things. The paper is already paid for, either in the newsstand or through the marketing budget of some producer of your household goods, if you use some of the paper that keeps filling your mailbox. You have already paid for that too, through the price of the goods.

Maybe you can even note a really tiny deposit into your workout account. Even if it is not much, you will probably use twice or more calories to do this, compared to switching on the little electrical fan.

If you don’t believe that the climate is changing, or that anything is happening to nature that is uncomfortable for it or yourself, or if you believe that we have nothing much to do with whatever happening – go on doing what you do. This is actually a major issue here, and I think you are wrong if you subscribe 100% to any of these views, but I haven’t had time to find out what’s what.

Is it important to keep everything going? Maybe this is not 100% true either, maybe it’s not only about giving people jobs, but also what they actually do when they are at work.

No soap or less soap

Sustainable household Posted on 09 Mar, 2013 00:21

Soap and detergents are annoying items on the household budget. They are often not cheap and don’t go a long way. I don’t know whether they cause big, small or no problems at all as part of the sewage, but there can be nothing wrong in spending less on these things.

One simple way of saving is to use the supercloths, which are to be used only with water, no soap. There is still no reason to be a totalitarian – if you feel things won’t get quite clean using them, use some soap too, once in a while.

Another household tip I picked up a while ago – baking powder is apparently used for other things than baking. The Russians, so I was told by a Kazakh friend, utilise it for “all sorts of things”, maybe like opening a blocked sink or getting rid of foul smell at the loo. I can’t quite remember quite what she said, and I am not suggesting any use, really, until I have tried it myself. But according to her, you can buy fairly big packages in “Russian” shops around Europe. I don’t know whether there are any such shops in Oslo – the usual Freia box is not so big.

Talking about frigid obsessions, I bought a piece of honey soap a few years ago, which lasted for ages. Didn’t get yucky or dry up like soap bars often do. Italian produce, Perlier, I found it on the Internet, but not in shops here, except Hadeland Glassverk, where they had it in the “honey shop”.

I won’t turn into unca Scrooge, but sometimes luxury is actually cheaper.

Edited after publishing.

Durable steel

Sustainable household Posted on 21 Feb, 2013 05:39

A new pan for the kitchen! A little detour to Gulbrandsens glasmagasin in Torggata in Oslo, at least that used to be the name of the shop. They sell professional kitchenware, not too fancy design, only almost half the price on something like this. A little inbetween a pot and a pan, maybe, works fine as both, although a little small as a pan.

Another small way of saving the environment, to buy things that you don’t have to throw away, right away. Cheaper, too.

The shop has been renamed, its name is now Culina, still at the same place, in Torggata, very close to Hausmanns gate.