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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ How difficult is it to go green? ]

How difficult is it to go green?

Eleni Antoniou

There are many ways you can live an eco-friendly existence; by using energy efficient A class kitchen appliances or decorating the house and garage with environmentally-friendly paints. You could even have photovoltaic panels installed on your roof or erect a wind turbine in your garden to power your fridge but you’d probably have to make an awful mess in the process not to mention making a huge dent in your bank account.

Effective and admirable as these measures may be, they make the rest of us worry about the unfathomable costs of caring. However, we spoke to three families, who have all incorporated eco-friendly activities into their lives without pinching their pockets. From buying only certain organic necessities to reducing waste, there are lessons we could all learn.

Erini Loucaides is an expectant mother to a toddler and does whatever she can to ensure she isn’t harming the planet or her children. “I have been doing certain things since 1997 when eco activities required some effort,” she says. “Recycling stations weren’t as prominent as they are now so even though I lived in Larnaca, I would lug my bags of glass, plastic and batteries to a school in Ayios Dometios, the only place in Nicosia that had recycling bins. I still do this and find my son thinks it’s fun learning which item goes in which bin at home.”

Buying eco cleaning products is perhaps one of the most important factors in Erini’s eco-living as she considers conventional ones deadly. “When you stop using these toxic cleaning products and you walk into a space that does you sense the difference as you may feel dizzy and get irritated nostrils.” She adds that while most eco cleaning products do a great job, she prefers a combination of vinegar, lemon, baking soda and a favourite aromatherapy oil like rosemary or lavender for the oven, sink and toilets. “It’s an absolute joy working with Mother Nature’s products.”

Erini is also a raw foodist, which means she has gone for months without using her oven. “Eating less cooked food means less packaging, less time spent over a hot oven and an unparalleled abundance of energy to carry out more eco activities,” she says.

While she understands that not many are willing to give up on pasta and meat, she believes people should prioritise. “I realise organic stuff can be expensive, so, for instance, when it came to eco nappies, I would only use them at night. However, I don’t spend money on designer handbags or weekly hairdresser and nail sessions, so I choose to spend it on clean, hygienic and light products that respect the body and the environment.”

Barbara Karafokas is a single mother dedicated to the well-being of her ten-year-old daughter and the planet. She focuses more on products with less impact on the environment. All personal care products and wholefood supplements are organic and so are most of the vegetables and foods she eats. “I buy organic leafy green vegetables from the Utopia Healthfood Store in Nicosia (Tel: 99-184191) as they have very good prices at 50 cents for a bunch,” she says.

“The reason I buy organic leafy greens is that they have thick leaves and absorb and contain more pesticides and herbicides than thick-skinned vegetables or fruits which can be peeled.” Pulses, brown rice, grains, seaweed, soy sauce and miso paste are also ‘must-have’ organic buys for Barbara who recycles and uses cleaning products at a minimum, preferring, like Erini, to make her own mixture of white vinegar and favourite essential oils.

She believes that all of us can transition to a greener life, even if it is gradually. “One way of minimising your footprint is by buying locally and in large quantities,” she says. “I buy large quantities of fruit and veg, which are essential for juicing, from the local market and nuts, seeds and dried fruit from Athienitis and Sons (Tel: 22-345099).”

She adds: “I realise that going green can have some financial constraints but it’s all about prioritising and keeping the cost down by eating as wholesome as possible. Also try every week to buy one green product such as washing powder or washing up liquid. It makes a difference.”

Nicos Anastasiou is perhaps the most exemplary of the three cases as he lives with his wife and three children and still manages to fill just one garbage bag... a week! “It all comes down to waste management,” he explains. From recycled wood and old venetian blinds he and his son have constructed a panel made of four casings where plastic bags for glass, paper, aluminium and plastic are hooked on and filled.

“As a family we’ve always been weary of throwing things away before deciding if we can find a better use for them,” he says explaining that a shoe rack was made from an old bed. In fact the only waste that ends up in the rubbish is metal and toilet paper. “Everything else falls under one of the recycling categories.”

Nicos and Siew, his wife, are proud owners of two hens that give them two eggs a day and an olive tree, which has grown in 20 years by being watered with water left from washing the vegetables. “So much water is wasted from the kettle and the washing of fruit and vegetables so we just collect it and water the olive tree, which was planted on the day our first daughter was born.”

The family enjoys a relaxing garden that surprisingly does not boast grass as Nicos insists it is clearly not suitable for Cyprus weather. Their house, which also has a large number of photovoltaic panels on the roof, is surrounded by trees and plantation, which helps keep the sun out and the home and surroundings cool.

Perhaps the best part about Nicos and Siew’s eco-friendly life is their compost bin. Again constructed from recycled wood, Nicos and his entire family tip any fruit and vegetable leftovers into the bin (anything from watermelon leaves to tomatoes and eggshells) and a bit of the neighbour’s grass and some other weeds to help the compost. This layering then produces compost twice a year and until now has been used to grow passion fruit which has climbed up a pole and across a wire rack in just six months. “It costs us nothing,” Nicos says. “But even if it did what does that matter when we are talking about delivering a messed up planet to our kids and theirs?”

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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