The green journey

The green journey is really about entering a new part of the inner-self; a voyage of discovery of distant lands and cultures, so to speak.

There are strange tongues and new words that hitherto you may have only heard, but now start to explore; what are eco-friendly homes?

An underground rainwater reservoir is an important part of our green journey.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 7th March, 2023.

It is like a tram doing a large-circuit of a strange city; you can get on and off at various stations, each inviting but you cannot visit every district and suburb in a week. In fact, it takes a lifetime and you are still not done exploring.

Quite possibly you are still at Grand Central Station, watching the trams flashing past, and quite bewildered.

One tram has a flashing sign, and is on the way to Solar City. Another is inviting you to global warming, and the first stop you see simply screams out about the melting ice-pack.

And yet another is beckoning to greater well-being.

One is inviting you to what is really a very old square simply known as Prayer and yet another is just called The Garden. Perhaps the first stop beckoning is sign-boarded Permaculture and the second Sustainability; and yet a third Nitrogen Fixation. 

Endless trams continue to intrigue and frighten you; where will it lead you, if you dare step on one of them? Yet another of life's cul de sacs, or will one of these bring meaning and fulfillment?

One thing is certain; please, would someone please stop the world. I do want to get off; I am so tired. Is less really more?

The green journey

The green journey is a voyage within, and many, even most never make it. It all sounds so difficult, like climbing Everest, or sailing the North-West passage. Yet, to your surprise, you see hundreds of people stepping onto this tram or that; they are obviously familiar with the scene at Grand Central Station, and quite unphased by the throngs.

They have already started the green journey, yet some still look very hesitant but with a push and a shove, they are on board; and off the tram speeds.

Where shall I start, you think? Which tram shall I take? Do not rush but also do not wait too long, or you may find yourself left behind. But you do want to get on the right journey to begin with; look until you see a sign that resonates with you.

For me there were two beacons that beckoned. The first was, if I did not look after my body, where was I planning to live? That resonated; in fact it shocked me out of my reverie. And the second was, you do want to sit one day under the trees you once planted and watch your grandchildren grow up, not so?

There will be other beacons beckoning you, so you just step on the tram that has got your name on it. For me, it was the one called "Life without Medication."

A life without medication and leaving behind a habitable world for our grandchildren rank high on our list of priorities; they were the first and second stops on our green journey.

Perhaps you are just sick and tired of taking so many pills. This one to do that and another to counteract its side-effects; yet a different drug to deal with the nagging pain in the tum, or that terrible virus. Your body aches all over, and you are only forty.

Life without medication

Our green journey has meant there is no pills box on our dining room table.

Or perhaps you are deathly afraid because two of your friends have just been diagnosed with a breast tumour, and your mother seems to have the early signs of senile dementia, and she is not even sixty-five.

Or your spouse has already had one coronary ablation, and now he is going in for open-heart surgery and you are afraid. You know that takeaways are all too often on the cards, and you cannot stop smoking yourself, so how can you nag at him?

Mysterious and elusive wellness, and being free from the illness and pain that lurk, seemingly on the horizon, and then, bingo, a tram rumbles into the station, and it has got your name on it; it is called the green journey, and the driver is hooting at you, waiting for you to climb on.

In short, caring for our bodies is a spiritual duty; in the words of St Francis of Assisi, treat Brother Ass kindly.

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A personal ailment

Perhaps your green journey may begin with a personal ailment. My own was a concerning tremor in my right hand; I could no longer easily bring a spoonful of soup to my lips without spilling. That led me to a station aptly named "Broad Beans for L-dopa."

Growing, reaping and freezing broad beans so that I would have a daily supply of dopamine from my food instead of taking medication became central to my journey.

Drying blanched broad beans

Solar city

Solar city is a stop you will find at our green home; there is oodles of free sunshine just waiting to be collected, stored and used.

Solar lens effect advertises the potential benefits offered by Mr Golden Sun.

Suddenly inexplicably a smoke stack pouring carbon-dioxide and other noxious smelling gases into the atmosphere has invaded your mind's eye. You cannot escape it; we are poisoning our world by burning fossil fuels.

You have been carefully looking the other way, desperately, but still that smoke stack offends; and then someone posts you an email showing the melting ice-pack, and you realise it is for real. Then you look at your grandchildren, and guilt smites; what legacy are you leaving them?

No longer can you evade it, and you start to make inquiries. Could your second vehicle be battery-operated? Is it safe? Do they break down? How far can they go? And could I stomach those ugly panels on my roof to energise my home, and charge my E-car? Instead of going on that cruise to Alaska this year, should we instead visit Solar City?

You choose your own personalised voyage; make the green journey your private mission.

E-car charging port.

Choice foods

Choice foods are half the trip to a quality, long life. They are a top destination at Bernard Preston's travel bureau to the green journey.

Mature spinach growing in the garden is an obvious sign that a greenie lives here.

There is one place that is really nagging; granny and gramps were such serene people and you have memories of walking with them down into their secret garden. There she grew beautiful flowering shrubs and a host of choice nutritious foods, and he was always busy with his compost piles and fruit trees; and his bee-hives.

There is a new debate now on just how nutritious and ethical minimally-processed plant protein is; what's your opinion?

They both lived to their upper eighties, and you have a fear that neither of you are going to make it to seventy; perhaps not even sixty if that bypass does not go well.

But it is the little sampler that granny had stitched and framed next to her bedside that really gets under your skin.

When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there's always the garden.

Oh how wearisome the world is, and how the superficiality of friends and family so often seems. Can I really give up watching so much TV, and just play bridge once a week, and get stuck into the garden? Would it bring me Granny's serenity? She sometimes called it forest bathing.

Would that organic food really cure me of all that ails?

Do I really want to start the green journey? Maybe I'll create my own one that is just right for me.

What would it do to my back? Perhaps it would mean umpteen more visits to the DC. On the other hand it might actually make me stronger.

Could I really do those exercises he is been nagging me to do all these years, but I really could not be bothered? He keeps saying that they only take two minutes every morning before getting out of bed.

Even so it is bad enough making time to brush and floss your teeth. I'll just find another two minutes. But I am so busy, so rushed, I just need thirty-hours in a day.

"Actually, you do," chimes Jiminy Cricket. "You just have to change your priorities."

Shall I take The Garden tram? The first station is Growing Swiss Chard. Yes, I think I will. Maybe tomorrow I will buy some seeds.

The greening of the self

In far more profound terms, Joanna Macy's version of the journey is about opening our hearts and very selves to the natural world; she calls it the greening of the self. It is only now beginning to filter through how homeless we would feel and, in fact, are beginning to experience, as we ruin our Mother Earth.

The fact that there will soon be more plastic in the sea than fish and those crossing the Pacific describe it as dead, seems remote. But when ten dead sperm whales are washed up on our shores, their bellies filled with polyethylene, we begin to grasp the severity of it all. What kind of an inheritance are we leaving to our grandchildren, or is that a topic far too painful to consider?

If each of us began with just one tiny thing it would make a tremendous difference; a first step. Recycle a beer-can, not drop a battery in the garbage or plant a bee-friendly legume. Deciding never again to purchase an incandescent light bulb and to recycle some plastic; all would contribute.

Greening of the self is a great concept[5]. We are beginning to realize that the whole world is our body; the Amazon jungle and the oceans are my lungs.

Capturing and storing rainwater

Abundant clean water is worldwide increasingly becoming a problem. Building a new dam that destroy a wetland is coming under the spotlight on a planet losing its biodiversity daily.

Capturing and storing the rain is our water innovation project, a central feature of our green journey; it has proved inexpensive and reasonably simple.

Capetonians have discovered the meaning of the phrase "water-shedding," as it has been forced up their noses with great discomfort. Yet a 30,000 litre underground reservoir would solve the problems faced by every family; it was a major step forwards at our eco friendly home.

Only for one month in seven years have we needed water from the municipal reticulation; it is pristine, and very cold stored underground. We drink it without filtration.

This is our rainwater harvesting model.

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Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston's green journey through the polders of Holland might interest you; it is only available as an ebook on your tablet or Kindle.

The green journey is just waiting for you; like Pilgrim's Progress there are pitfalls along the way. That is what makes it fun.

Cover of Stones in my Clog by Bernard Preston.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa