While the Victorian Era is hardly a bastion of environmentalism, there are a few gems in the coal ash that can help you enhance your commitment to green living. The basis for these tips is thrift. In a world where you had to make your own way, conservation took on many facets.
Before electricity, wood fires and candles supplied the bulk of your energy needs. There were taxes associated with candles, so resource conservation was imperative. In a Victorian household, you could find many examples of saving on energy costs.
One way involved the deployment of energy. If you didn’t use a room during the day, it might be closed off until use in the afternoon or evening. The fire was lit in the morning room where you might do your correspondence, making it warm and comfortable.
The curtains would be drawn to take advantage of the sunlight and add a bit more warmth. The rooms often had thick curtains to keep out the summer heat and keep in the winter warmth. It was all about making the best use of your resources.
Conservation applied to your own resources as well. A high-backed settle or wing chair could prevent the cold drafts from finding you. Drawn up next to a roaring fire, and you were sure to stay nice and warm. However, wait until the time that the fire in the room is normally lit.
Recycling in the Victorian Era
Necessity drove many practices that in a modern context could be seen as recycling in action. Take, for example, water for washing up. Many homes might have rain barrels to collect water from their roofs. It would then be pumped into the house where you could wash up.
Good clothes were also a precious commodity. There was no shame in take hand-me-downs from the lady or gentleman of the house. In fact, it was considered something of a privilege to get her hand-offs for they were of high quality, albeit, used.
Just about anything that could be used to its finish or again was recycled. It could be the cigar butts in the street or the tea from breakfast. In a time when money may be hard to come by, anything goes. Perhaps that is the best lesson the time teaches us—not to waste anything of value.