Written by guest contributor, Elijah Hall.

I grew up in a sustainable home in South Africa. My parents dreamed of living sustainably with myself and my brother, 4 and 6 years of age at the time, and moved to a plot of land in the KwaZulu-Natal countryside. Few were supportive of my parents in their endeavour, but driven by the dream of achieving their goal, they continued.

 

Side View of the main house showing the 'wattle and daub' style.

Side View of the main house showing the ‘wattle and daub’ style.

The land was mostly covered by indigenous forest, with a small clearing at the very heart of it. This clearing is where our sustainable homestead now stands, and where I called home. The beauty of this natural wonderland is truly a sight to behold, and I count myself lucky to have been granted the opportunity to grow up in such an incredible place. The land sparked a fire deep within the hearts of my parents, a passion so great that they knew they must preserve it, and so the idea of living in harmony with the land emerged. Our first home construction began, in an environmentally friendly style of building known as ‘wattle and daub’, using only renewable materials from sustainable sources. This building technique is conveniently inexpensive which made it an even more attractive option.

As the years progressed, so did our home, with four more buildings constructed, all of which incorporated a form of sustainable architecture. My father is a sculptor, and managed to bring forth beauty in each building, two of which he uses as art studios. A key part of these buildings is that they are all powered by solar panels, and are fully equipped with crystal clear running water pumped by a hydram (hydraulic ram pump) which is an environmentally friendly pump, as it uses gravity in place of fuel to produce energy. Aside from these options being eco-friendly, they also pay for themselves in a matter of years. It truly is a wonderful feeling to have clean energy and water, which after installation, pays for itself.

The Hydram that supplies our home with water, and the Solar Panels which power our home

The Hydram that supplies our home with water, and the Solar Panels which power our home.

Another environmentally friendly step that my family took was to be vegetarians, this was partly based on the fact that the making of meat products uses up copious amounts of natural resources like clean, drinkable water, and also due to the cruelty that animals are subject to.  I didn’t eat a single piece of meat until I was 15 years old, and had the most delicious, healthy vegetarian meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which burst with flavours and the mere smell of them during preparation would leave anyone’s mouth watering.

Alternative living is becoming increasingly popular, and more accessible with each year that passes, as people throughout the world become more aware and conscious of their lifestyle. Everyone should try to take advantage of this as best as they can, and although it is a large sum of money up front for solar/other forms of renewable energy, it pays for itself in the end and is far healthier for our planet.

Similarly, Earth Heir advocates the love and respect of people and the natural environment. The goal is to build a community of like-minded people who all share the same vision as my parents, the vision of a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, not only for oneself, but for the Earth. Our choices have consequences, let’s make the right ones.