We lived a simple life in a converted farm worker’s cottage on a fynbos hill on the edge of a valley of natural forest near Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, South Africa. We harvested all our rain water and were solely dependent on it for the home and the vegetable garden, recycled our grey water back into the garden and were very conscious of our resource and waste footprint. That all changed on 28 February 2017 when a smouldering bushfire was whipped into a firestorm by strong, hot winds and we were only just able to evacuate our children, our animals and a few precious memories before our entire homestead and all its infrastructure was consumed by the fire.
The irony was not lost on us as I am a climate change speaker and environmental activist managing the Eco Atlas platform for better choices for people and planet and my husband runs environmental and social theatre programmes at schools with his Lunchbox Theatre. And so after the necessary mourning for the history and family stories we lost and the gratitude for all the loved ones we saved we looked at how we could rise from the ashes stronger, greener and better by building a homestead that is climate resilient, resource efficient, off grid and regenerative. Just like the natural fynbos plants which need to burn to germinate, this is our story of growing a new way of being.
You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have green building or regenerative living ideas you would like to share.