Rubbish Interview – Debra Rawling: Case Study in The Book of Rubbish Ideas

The inspirational family Rawling
The inspirational family Rawling - Debra, Emily and Jeremy

It all started when we became friends with Tracey & Ray some years back. It was great to have found other people like us who had had enough of the “more-better-best” rat race and who wanted something else out of life. We met up and realised how much we had in common. Tracey & Ray were so much further along the path and we were just taking our first steps.

Realising that we wanted a happier, more sustainable and stress free life, we would bounce ideas around and eventually we started to move along one step at a time (Tracey’s advice which is so true).

Tracey came to stay with us during her first National Downshifting Week tour. We had a wonderful time and spent ages chatting over a home cooked meal well into the night. Before she left to continue her journey I had a soup making lesson from her in my kitchen. It was a revelation for me…those veggies that sat in my cupboard could be turned into a wonderful nourishing meal and it was so easy. I was a convert from that moment to having an organic veg box delivered and determined to take some more steps along the downshifting path.

Tracey’s website for the campaign, www.downshiftingweek.com became a source of much happiness for us as we embraced a lot of personal challenges. The whole ethos of Tracey’s mission rang true in our hearts.

Now, when we look back we realise how far we have come. In 2005, the offer of redundancy for my husband gave us the ideal opportunity to take a long hard look at where we were and where we wanted to be. We upped sticks and moved to a new town for a new dream job which paid a lot less than the current stressful one and therefore to a much smaller house. This has allowed us more time together as a family. We are growing vegetables and are embarking on getting our heads around the greener aspects of life. This is where Tracey’s new website and The Book of Rubbish Ideas comes in.

As a case study in the book we received our signed copy a few weeks ago, I couldn’t put it down and was so inspired by all the information I had never quite got to grips with before. It was like another light bulb moment…I already knew it wasn’t mean to make do and re-use but common sense and only stupidity to let perfectly good stuff go to landfill when it can be given a second chance.

A few days later we noticed that a neighbour was having some landscaping done. In a big heap of soil ready for the skip were concrete flags, just perfect for our garden. I asked if we could save the flags from landfill and recycle them in our garden. The next morning we were out in the pouring rain collecting them. We were reflecting on how much we helped our planet, from rescuing them and not buying new ones (production, energy, cost) and no fuel emissions from new ones being delivered. The only cost incurred was from the gift we happily bought for them to say thanks.

This is a journey of no going back, only forward. It is addictive. We owe it to ourselves, our children and their children to look after our beautiful planet and also ourselves. Invest time and effort into improving your lot, money is not everything and you can do as much with a little as you can with a lot. It’s the choices you make. Don’t be a sheep following the consuming ‘must have it and then throw it away’ herd (or should that be a rat in the rat race). We must look after our wonderful home and help it continue to sustain life for many generations to come.

My motto is “A penny saved is one you don’t have to earn!”

Rubbishly yours,

Debra Rawling (and family) x