Tag Archives: advocacy

Sorry I’ve fell off radar…

So sorry to my readers that it has been essentially six months since my last post.  Life has been a little crazy and I think in hindsight that perhaps I should have made time to write.  Writing for me has always been a good form of therapy and it’s free.

So a quick update on everything.  Firstly I was successful in rallying the troops and getting Riverland Fresh to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to Morgan.  With that they also deliver to Cadell and Taylorville.  The best bit is they have recently announced they will soon be delivering meat, seafood and dairy.

I have become involved with the community through the Morgan Primary School Governing Council and the Morgan Community Development and Tourism Committee.  Two reasons I have put my hand up for these committees, firstly it gives me a chance to get to know some of the locals and secondly I believe my skills can be of benefit to the community.

With my skills I have also set up a page on Facebook called Sustainable Morgan.  This page has been established to promote activities, business and groups in the township of Morgan, while creating a sense of community and belonging.  It has been set up for just over a month now.  One of the local teachers has joined on as an admin of the page, which helps with a little time management on my part.

This town we have come to call home has so much potential and I would really love to have a role in getting the town and its community to realise that potential.  Hopefully my enthusiasm is contagious.

Signing off for now but I will be back shortly with some great articles, links and general updates xx

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Blog of The Day…

The Dumpster Project

What does home look like in a world of 10 billion people?    How do we equip current and future generations with the tools they need for sustainable living practices? We believe promoting awareness and education in an engaging manner are critical to answering this question – and that’s why we got a used dumpster.  With the help of Professor Dumpster and the Dumpster Team, the dumpster will transform from a barely habitable garbage container to a sustainable house and interactive teaching lab. From design to implementation, the lab will challenge students to apply their science, technology, engineering and math skills to every part of the renovation process.  Professor Dumpster will need all the help he can get because he’s about to make the dumpster his new home address!” – The Dumpster Project

Putting your money where your mouth is style teaching.  Love the concept and will certainly enjoy reading the trials and tribulations of this project.

 

The Lemon Tree Project

Came across this exciting project. Would love to see more of this in our urban landscape. Not only does this have a positive effect on food security, it has positive implications socially. Great way to get people to talk with their neighbours and other community members.

I strongly encourage my readers to check this blog out and start utilising their front gardens.

The Story of Stuff

I’m about to share a video that I can’t believe I have never seen up until yesterday.  I’ll admit I have heard of it but I have never made the time to watch it.

This is a great resource for those who educate and are passionate about sustainability, consumerism and social issues related to the production and consumption of stuff.  Please take the time to watch. I’m glad I did!

Related Links…

The Story of Stuff Project

Waste not want not…

I came across this article yesterday Do Australians waste $8 billion worth of edible food each year?

The title of the artcle was enough to disturb me little lone the content of the article.  So how many of us are guilty of wasting food?  I’ll be honest I’ve done it myself.  So why do we do it?  Quite often people don’t check the pantry or fridge before they go shopping,  we have lost the art of using leftovers, we cook too much food, we buy a take-away instead of using what we have at home or we mistakenly throw out food before the use-by/best-before date.

A couple of months ago, along with other waste management/sustainability officers, I met Jon Dee.

Jon Dee

Jon Dee (black suit) is located in the centre and I’m  on the side (in red)

Jon Dee known in my profession for being one of the co-founders of Planet Ark and has now put his energies into Do Something!. This is an organisation that empowers people to make social and environmental changes.  Jon Dee spoke of a new campaign ‘FoodWise‘.

‘FoodWise’ is DoSomething’s national campaign to reduce the environmental impact of Australia’s food consumption. The main ethos behind it is for Australians to become more educated and informed about the food that they eat.

Did you know?…

  • Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase.
  • Up to 40% of the average household bin is food.
  • For the average Australian household $1036 of food is thrown away per year.

The website that has been created for this website is great and is very informative.  One of my favourite aspects of the site is the Recipe Finder.  This is where you enter the ingerdients that you have in your fridge or pantry and it will give recipes that will use some or all of the ingredients that you have entered.

Food Security and Food Waste is certainly  a hot topic of discussion within my professional circle at the moment.  I do believe the more we educate the more aware people will become.  For some it is just a matter of changing bad habits for others it might be learning about using leftovers.  However we need to keep this topic out there.   Dealing with food scraps left on a plate I believe is a total different conversation.  We need to stop the waste before that stage!

iPhone App of the Day: Shop Ethical!

ShopEthical-icon

Now I will be straight up and this app is not a free one and will set you back $4.49.  In saying that I do believe I have certainly got my money worth from it and it has opened my eyes into how the corporate world works and is even linked.

This app is not really practical to take shopping with you as (depending what product or company you are researching) there can be a lot of information to read.  It is probably better to write a shopping list out and then research from there (otherwise it could be a long shopping trip).

There are several things I like about this app.  Firstly it is quite easy to navigate.  It will tell you if the product is Australian made.  It will also tell you who the parent company is eg. Uncle Tobys is owned by Nestle.

The information provided by the app is quite extensive.  There are different levels products are ranked.  The best ranked products have a bold green circle with a bold green tick.  If the products are Australian made they have a picture of Australia next to the ranking.

photo1

The worse ranking products receive a bold red circle with a bold red line through it.

photo2

Once you press the information icon detailed information becomes available.  For the following example of the detailed informtion I will use Nestle.

shop ethical

Nestle Australia is in fact owned by the parent company Nestle.  While Nestle Australia claim to be a GE-Free brand and are a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant.  However Shop Ethical! are calling for a boycott of Nestle primarily due to the activities of the parent company.  These reasons include:

  • The irresponsible marketing of infant formula in developing countries leading to infant deaths.  The boycott was reinstated due to a perceived non-compliance to World Health Organisation Code regulations.
  • Control of water in North America.
  • Irresponsible marketing (especially in relation to baby formula).
  • Promotion of bottled water.
  • Child labour: for continuing to buy cocoa from the Ivory Coast, despite the use of forced child labour in that country.
  • Workers rights.
  • Water pollution in China.
  • Poor wages for coffee farmers.

While that may be enough to convince you to boycott the company, it is clear that educating people on these types of issues does place pressure on companies.  It was about 2010 when the pressure was applied to companies regarding the use of palm oil.  Since then and it has been noted that Nestle have made some changes.  In 2011, Nestle received a score of 8 out of a possible 9 in the WWF Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard.

As you may be able to tell the information is quite detailed.  It is an  interesting exercise to go through your pantry.  I was in fact quite horrified the first time around.  However the app can be quite empowering as it allows you to make an informed choice and it is relatively easy to find an alternative.  It also allows you to take your research  on a particular product further, as there are hyperlinks to other organisations for more information.

Shop Ethical! also has its own website that gives you further information about the community based, not-for-profit organisation and network, plus reinforcing product information.

For those that want to be informed about the products they buy this app is worth the investment.

5 stars

Think Glocal!

Last Wednesday (31st June) I was very fortunate to be involved in a workshop with Professor Paul Clarke, the co-founder of the Pop-Up-Foundation.

“Pop-Up-Foundation addresses one of the central challenges of our time: decoupling human progress from resource use and environmental decline.  Bringing sustainable living to people in a simple, accessible form, focused on results, Pop-Up-Foundation encourages eveyone to participate in the changes and create and share solutions.  In this way, all these small changes can connect, consolidate and have a bigger compound effect.  This is how Pop-Up-Foundation uses its local perspective to address global ecological challenge – how to live our lives sustainably.”

During this workshop we did an interesting exercise.  At our tables we had a packet of Carmen’s Muesli Bars and another muesli/breakfast bar.  This exercise required us to examine the packaging and look for information on the following…

  • Packaging (recyclable?)
  • Evidence of certification/soil association etc?
  • What is it claiming/saying about itself?
  • Can we identify where it is from?
  • Fair Trade/ direct/ ethical trade?
  • Other?

It was quite eye opening from the perspective of what is not on the packaging.  In particular, where are the ingredients sourced from?  There is nothing on packaging that identifies who the farmers are (and yes I realise there is limited space on packaging but you will find the majority of companies do not even have that information available on their websites).  Another point that was made,  for something to be labelled “Fair Trade”, only 1% of the ingredients have to be sourced as fair trade.  Astounding!!!  Well actually it’s a joke to be honest.

Another point of discussion was on one of the many projects that have been undertaken by the Pop-Up-Foundation.  The “Happy Bean Coffee Company” is a fantastic project and really does embrace the concept of “Think Glocal” – Think globally and act locally.  I believe this concept is a more realistic way of understanding concepts of food security, food miles and buying or acting locally in a world that is more connected than ever.

Further Reading…

Education for Sustainability: Becoming Naturally Smart

Nothing Paranormal About These Ghost Nets…

A while ago I came across an article regarding Indigenous communities making the most beautiful sculptures out of ghost nets. Hidden behind these beautiful sculptures laid an awful truth that many people do not know about.

Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost or abandoned out at sea.  They continue to travel via the currents of the oceans indiscriminately trapping all types of sea life in them, including divers.  The following video explains a little further…

So you may ask why a land dweller like myself is writing a piece on ghost nets.  Well I came across another article today explaining that Ghost Nets Australia will shut down in June this year due to a lack of funding.  A sad state of affairs if you ask me.

Ghost Nets Australia is a project enabling Aboriginal communities to fulfil their aspirations of having stewardship of their customary lands and adjacent marine environment, known as “caring for country.”  It is an alliance of over 22 Indigenous communities from coastal northern Australia across the three states of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.  For further information regarding this organisation please check out the following link (even like them on Facebook and show your support)…

Ghost Nets Australia

Ghost nets are not just unique to Australia.  Here is another site with valuable information…

Ghost Fishing