Another major influence to the way I live my life (other than my Polish Nana), was a sustainability course Mum and I did together in 2011 – Living Smart – facilitated by Lani and Tim Darby of Ecoburbia. Lani and Tim (who were a married couple) live and breathe the holistic and sustainable lifestyle they preach. On the final day of the course – we were even invited on a tour of their amazing street and tight knit community – Hulbert Street, Fremantle.
Lani and Tim’s street is a shining example of how a community can work together and support one another to reduce carbon footprints. The street residents pool their resources (ie. share wheelbarrows, bicycles, tools, recipes, etc.), contribute to community by running their own outdoor movie nights, have a communal wood fired pizza oven, get together for outdoor performance events and even have a street festival – annual Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta. The street-scape also features communal vegetable and herb gardens on their front verges that they maintain. All residents are welcome to share the produce to use in daily cooking.
Mum and I were already sensitive to ways in which we could live more sustainably (mostly thanks to Nana’s influence) but the course re-programmed our minds to think holistically (ie. a sustainable approach to the areas of health, well-being, community and the environment). The thought of living life in this way – initially felt unattainable, expensive and exclusive (to those willing to do thorough research/buy expensive equipment), yet Lani and Tim showed us how easy and inexpensive sustainable living can be i.e.: that by remaining mindful to the three R’s – Reduce, Recycle and Re-use and making small adjustments to our lives – we can all make a difference.
A few simple and useful tips I learned from the Living Smart course that stuck with me:
- Carrying a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water
- Carry your own cutlery to use with take-away food
- Reducing the use of plastic bags by carrying re-usable bags in my car and handbag
- Storage of leftover food and home-made lunches in re-usable containers (instead of using disposable plastic wrap)
- Buying fresh fruit and vegetables and ingredients in bulk (avoiding food with excessive packaging/refilling containers)
- Wrapping scraps in newspaper or using bagless rubbish bins (reducing the need for plastic bags)
- Composting of food scraps
- Providing your own mug or re-usable coffee cup when buying take-away coffee
- Buying and donating recycled clothing and second hand items
- Repairing broken items and clothes
- Make your own food wrap with beeswax and paper (check out the tutorial at the link)
- Share/borrow items such as ladders, bicycles, tools and wheelbarrows with neighbours and friends
- Read documents on screen rather than printing
- Ask banks and other organisations to send invoices and statements electronically
- Print hard copy documents with double sided printing
- Make your own cleaning products at home (ie. bi-carbonate soda and vinegar)
- Re-use empty jars to store food purchased in bulk or to use for home-made jams/fermented food etc.
- Buy rechargeable batteries
- Recycle wrapping paper and cards (and make your own cards)
- Re-use scrap paper to make note-pads
- Recycle wisely – check out your local council website for the types of items you can and cannot recycle