Féidhlim Harty is a writer and director of an environmental consultancy company specializing in reed bed and other eco-friendly sewage options. He is the author of various books such as Get Rid of Your Bin, Septic Tank Options and Alternatives as well as Toward Zero Waste: How to live a circular life. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two daughters, vegetable garden and lots of Willow trees.
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Back to the episode! Today, Feidhlim Harty starts by talking about his passion for ecological restoration and regeneration. Growing up in Ireland, he says that both his mother and grandmother were both enthusiastic environmentalists, so it’s likely in his blood.
In our conversation, Feidhlim talks about what it means to live “a circular life.” To explain this, he says that he’s always had a dream to live in a house that will melt away when he’s dead and gone. He says this circularity means “being part of the many cycles that exist in nature.”
Later, he talks about the essentials to move toward a zero-waste lifestyle. He says it’s not so much about what you throw out, but rather what you buy! In this way, the first step is to be mindful of what you buy and take into your life. Beyond that, another very important step is to compost anything that’s organic in nature.
He acknowledges the unique problem of plastics. He says once they are produced, they last for thousands of years. He explains that when natural substances like timber and fungi break down, they do so into something that is more digestible for nature. However, when plastics break down, they become micro-plastics in the oceans and even on land. Beyond that, plastics also displace other industries, like timber or even the willow weaving industry.
He says he’s hugely optimistic about the future because more and more people are recognizing that something must be done.
For him, recycling really isn’t the answer, it’s about cutting way back on what we consume. He says to buy high quality items infrequently rather than lots of cheap stuff that just gets dumped into landfills.
You can order Féidhlim’s book Towards Zero Waste at Chelsea Green Publishing: https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/towards-zero-waste/
Another great resource for learning about Féidhlim and his work is Permaculture Magazine: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/
And this is Féidhlim’s website: https://www.wetlandsystems.ie/