The Tyrconnell Heritage Society has chosen to explore a small number of ways that the lifestyle of a Talbot Settlement inhabitant would have worked well within the growing practice of resource conservation. Granted the activity of a settler was not “carbon free”. Comparatively speaking, the 1850’s individual had a much smaller carbon footprint then his contemporary counterpart.
For those who don’t know, a carbon footprint is really a measure of the effect we have on the climate in terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases we produce (measured in units of carbon dioxide). Your carbon footprint is calculated based on the amounts of electricity, heating oil and natural gas you use as a household.
The average Canadian household creates about 11 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. That’s about 3 Olympic sized swimming pools of carbon dioxide each and every year going out in to the environment.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased 30% since pre-industrial times. Obviously the low carbon levels of the 1850’s were the result of the level of societal and industrial development. What was mandatory behaviourally for a Talbot settler could make a great deal of sense as an option for contemporary individuals concerned about environment conservation and resources. So why not try ….
GREEN LIVING 1850’s STYLE
EAT LOCAL ~ EAT IN SEASON
Do you think about the cost of gas when you buy tomatoes in January? Many fruits and vegetables in supermarkets are shipped or flown in from far-off countries, even if it can easily be grown locally. This requires the burning of fossil fuels for transportation.
The 1850’s family in Upper Canada ate a diet consisting of very few imported items. The staples of the Talbot Settlement dining regiment consisted of the seasonal crops grown on local farms supplemented by native plants, local game and farm livestock.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by eating local and eating foods that are in season in the manner of the Talbot settlers.
WASTE NOT ~ WANT NOT
RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY
A settlement resident had several sources of energy available to bring comfort to both work and home. Households were heated by wood from nearby woodlots. Taking only what was needed allowed reforestation at a sustainable rate. Livestock based products like tallow were rendered from fat to make candles or soap ensuring that no part of an animal went to waste. Wind power played a part in the settlement as well with water being pumped up from deep wells by windmills.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your use of electricity. Dry your clothes on the line or enjoy a candlelit dinner. Take only what you can use and use all of what you take.
BUY SMART~ BUILD TO LAST
Craftsmanship flourished in the 19th century as can be attested to by the longevity of household and agricultural items from that time. Handmade cloth, furniture that is functional and attractive as well as innumerable household and farm accoutrements that still serve in contemporary households are a testament of a commitment to quality and the conservative nature of the Talbot Settlement homesteader. By creating or purchasing quality objects, built to last, the local residents limited their impact on the level of resources available to them.
You can do the same by making sure you purchase durable goods. Buying quality products and taking some care in the maintenance of your possessions will reduce demand on product resources as well as decrease the amount of fuel used to transport the multiple number of inferior items that would be required to take the place of one good quality item