Wednesday, July 22, 2009

7 kgs saved!

Just thought I'd quickly mention the One Million Women website/project. It's a project that aims to get one million Australian women to each save one tonne (1,000kgs) of carbon emissions through changes to their lifestyle over the next year. Obviously, the aim is to cut Australia's total carbon emissions by one million tonnes this year and this group decided to take matters into their own hands.

So far nearly 5,000 women have signed up and it probably won't reach one million, but it's still an inspiring idea that I encourage all women to get involved in. (I do think it's crap that it's just targeted at women, but so be it.) I've been signed up for about a week and have already saved 7 kilos of carbon emissions, although that's just the tip of the iceberg as more changes are coming. I was unsure about signing up because not a lot of info is provided upfront about what lifestyle changes you would actually have to make. I already lead a pretty green-conscious life and am a renter so can't change my home much, but I was definitely able to make enough changes to save a tonne and then some.

Of course it's disheartening to think that all it takes is one business person or politician flying Melbourne to Sydney or Canberra regularly to wipe out all my savings, but it's also important to look at an action like this as a political statement. The more people who sign up to something like this or who make lifestyle choices like installing solar power or buying wind power, the less governments can argue that people aren't willing to make sacrifices to help the environment and the more likely they are to take the big picture action that is really needed.

Just a couple of the ways you can save, and how much carbon this would save annually:
Washing clothes on cold cycle and sun/air-drying - 400kg
Installing water-saving shower heads and having 4 minute showers - 875kg
Switching off appliances on standby at the powerpoint - 150kg
Walk or cycle 5km more a week instead of driving solo - 52kg

Sorry if this is a little earnest for some, posts on all the things we've been building in our back yard to follow soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Something to keep in mind

Sums it up well doesn't it?
Painted on a garden bench down at Veg Out.
I think I might need this on a plaque in my garden for those moments when I wonder why I bother.

Veg Out and a week that was far from a vegging out week

Wow, what a whirlwind of a week. Last week was the Students of Sustainability conference and it was an incredible experience. So many passionate speakers and interesting ideas (along with a depressing reality-check about climate change and the world's responses to it). I had intended to post daily with something that blew my socks off each day (and there always was something) but unfortunately we spent the week rushing home to interview for new housemates in a desperate rush, which was pretty exhausting and time-consuming. So I think I will try to do a few posts about it, starting with my favourite activity: an excursion to Veg Out community garden down in St Kilda.

I so enjoyed seeing what people were growing (all far more successfully than me), but it was also such an interesting story about how the garden had come about and then become an indispensable part of the St Kilda community. Some community gardens I've visited are really just a patch of personal backyard for a large number of people but they aren't a truly community-oriented garden. This garden is open to the public, numerous groups (like the war veterans who live in a hostel closeby) have a plot, and what I found most striking was that it had no high fences within the garden - it all felt open and welcoming.

The garden used to be a bowling green, so it has some quirks like the original lights and bunkers.

It's positioned in the shadow of Luna Park which makes for an odd juxtaposition as the sound of rollercoasters and screaming children is quite loud, but the garden still feels peaceful.

It was great to see flowers, succulents and vegies all planted together.

We spent the day digging up vegies that had been grown to help feed the conference-goers and I had fun chatting to others about their vegie patches or plans for one. One of the best personal things to come out of the week was a reinvigoration of my gardening enthusiasm. My friends suggested I get a t-shirt printed with my most succint explanation of why my enthusiasm had been dropping: 'Aphids ate my mojo'. But hopefully I'll have some new garden projects to show you soon as well as some more environmental posts about the conference.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Down Shakespeare St

Yesterday I wandered down

I made an effort to look up, as I recently learnt, and was duly rewarded

But what was below was even more important

The entrance to

And inside? Well, inside there were plenty of lovely people spinning and chatting and doing other wool-related activities. And I got to choose from this wall

for more wool for the scarves I've been knitting. It's all gloriously lush handwoven wool which is so soft and has such lovely colours.

If you're ever around go check them out:
Handweavers and Spinner Guild of Victoria
12-20 Shakespeare St
Carlton North