Inspirational Agents of Sustainable Living
These days there is much talk surrounding sustainability and lifestyle changes. At times it seems these alternate ways of living are meant only for the small few. The truth is, many families and individuals around the globe are taking substantial strides to live a more earth friendly lifestyle. Though the path ahead may seem unclear, it is important that we learn from those who have taken this potentially vague concept of sustainability and successfully implemented it into their lives. Little by little, we can learn that each action is a choice and each choice truly does make a difference.
Suzie and Alistar Osmond of Cambridge, New Zealand are amazing examples who have made sustainability their life’s work. Part of this life work is sharing with others what they know, what they do, and what they believe.
Though originally from Australia, Suzie has joined native kiwi Alistair for 30 years on a plot of land just outside the town of Cambridge New Zealand. Together they have dedicated the last several years to developing their land, building various earth houses, and educating the global community all in a tedious effort to live a guilt free sustainable life. Speaking with Alistair, one can quickly perceive his deep love for the earth and appreciation for the beauty New Zealand has to offer anyone willing to discover it. The “homeland” pride that flows from him speaks volumes as to the motive behind Suzie and Alistair's way of living.
Dedicated to Sustainable processes, Suzie and Alistair are committed to these innovative values;
Organic, fresh and
Locally grown food: -Roughly 80% of the food supplies served are either grown or baked on the property.
Compost: - They are committed to compost all organic waste ( including guest waste) on the property and turn into nutrient rich soil.
Fossil Fuels: - They have reduced their reliance on fossil fuels for heating by using solar heating for water and household.
Encouraging sustainability: - Their villas have been hand built with earth from nearby, untreated timber and an emphasis on sustainable design.
Their hard work has not been void of success. “Earthstead Villas” is their lifelong project that has just recently taken on a thriving energy of it's own. Earthstead villas comprises of two villas and one studio, all built in a unique sustainable earth house method, available for short stays and weekend retreats. Due to Alistair's engineering background, not only are these villas supportive of the environment, but structurally charming as well; complete with all the conveniences of vacation living without the harmful effects of toxic waste. Each house is self-sustainable, hand built using ecological principles, natural materials and the use of solar hot water, and effective insulation.
To hear the exact process from start to finish, check out Earthstead Villas for yourself. As Suzie excitedly explains, “you have to believe about what you are doing, you can’t pretend.” She explains that Earthstead Villas was built upon their combined passion for hospitality and communal living, as well as their conviction to build upon something that will last for hundreds of years to come. Alistair and Suzie both recognize the negative impact current building structures have on the environment, stating that the way we build today isn't meant to last but only framed for immediacy and convenience.
Together they are the perfect inn-keepers, dedicated to their guests comfort as well as conscience. Almost 80% of the food provided to guests is grown, baked, or prepared on the premise therefore cutting out harmful chemicals and costs of importing food to location. As well as providing innovative luxury accommodation, the couple is dedicated to educating the global community via WWOOF. For those who have never heard of WWOOFing (short for willing workers on organic farms), it is a community of curious travelers from all walks of life who are willing to immerse themselves into the lives of families all over the world. Each WWOOFer can choose an organic homestead depending on their location, ranging from organic farms to sustainable bed and breakfasts. In exchange for food and accommodation the workers help out with the daily work for 4-5 hours a day, usually excluding weekends. Numerous WWOOFer’s flood through Suzie and Alistair's homestead each year, their labor assisting in building the villas and their eager minds stretching to the limitless manifestations sustainable living.
Suzie and Alistair are a perfect living illustration of developing what you love in order to fight what you hate. Their love of the land, as well as, their passion for hospitality has lead them in a lifelong adventure, full of hard work and creativity. It is a grand reminder to all of us that sustainable living has no single method or equation, but is a malleable concept ready to be interpreted by each specific person and family. The Osmond's legacy will last for years to come, and may it stand as a testimony to the creative possibilities and rich benefits of sustainability.