Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Sustainable houses talk @ Surry Hills Festival

So I went to the Surry Hills Festival on the weekend. One of the talks I went to was about building a sustainable community.

Michael Mobbs – author of Sustainable House, lives in a self converted sustainable house in Chippendale. This was converted 16 years ago, and has been off the grid ever since.

Michael Mobbs

Everyone talks about reducing carbon footprint of their house, reducing energy consumption. But the measurement that never gets mentioned is the energy footprint of food.

It takes 10 thousand kilolitres of water to feed 1 person for 10 days. If you have 10 people, that’s 1 million kilio litres or 1 swimming pool worth of water.

There is a plan to make Chippendale sustainable over the next 10 years. The comments on this plan closed on 26 October 2012, but they extended the comments period to the 27th to incorporate those from the Surry Hills Festival.

Luke bacon – a web designer, has been involved in the sustainability plan for the past six months.

The mass media is on the bandwagon of ‘sustainability is too expensive, too hard to achieve’. But the media itself is sustained by big business and advertising – not by the number of papers sold.

What can we do?

Document the sustainability initiatives you see. Tag it – use metadata.

Take photos. Discuss it online. The more information that is online that describes “sustainability” is possible and is happening, the harder it will be for the mainstream media to ignore. Use Flickr, and use the creative commons licence. Upload to the Internet archive – the one based in San Francisco which plans to archive electronic data as a permanent record. Note: 20 years ago, the word “eco” didn’t exist. Now it is everywhere. Let’s do the same thing – with a shorter timeframe to the word sustainability.


Within Chippendale, 9 compost bins have been installed. This has the potential to turn 3 tonne food waste into compost. (I presume on an annual basis).

Luke has completed some analysis of website visits to the plan.

Deepest engagement around the world (longest visits on theplan website)
* Hanoi, Vietnam
* Lindbergh, Belgium
* Grosse point, Detroit USA
* Beirut, Lebanon
* Philadelphia, USA
* Coffs Harbour, Australia
* Phenom penh, Cambodia

Then it was question time.

How to minimise the amount of organic waste generated from your house?

Use the Michael Mobbs lazy method of composting. Get a big storm water pipe and cut slots in it. What about the base? Bury the pipe in the ground, and drop food into it. This has no smell, and the rats can’t get into it. The worms will turn up through the slots. Don’t blend up veg matter, leave it whole. Intermittently Add paper/cardboard/napkins to increase the carbon level. You’ll have trouble filling it up, and your plants will love it.

What one thing can I do which has the biggest reduction of my impact on the planet?

Biggest impact is how you buy your food, and disposing of your organic waste. Buy local – then 40c in the dollar will go towards the producer. If you buy at one of the major supermarkets, perhaps only 10c. Buying local means that the food is fresher and it contains more nutrients.

Second biggest impact you can have is to cut back on red meat. Have one day a week where you don’t eat meat.

Third biggest impact you can have is by walking everywhere.

What are you doing to make your community sustainable? Do you talk to your neighbours?

Buy Nothing New Month – Day 31 Hail All Hallows

I wanted to wear something a little special, because it was All Hallows Eve.

But then I needed to go to work, so you got this:

BNNM Day 31

You got me midway.

The top is a bike riding top by N-Zo dirtwear. I was about to go for a summer series orienteering run before I remembered I had to take a photo.

Wrap Skirt. – something silky synthetic from a million years ago. It’s long. It’s got flowers on it. It’s really flattering. I’ve had it for at least 10 years, but I think I got it from a wardrobe raid.

Accessories this time are super white.

I wore a set of white and “gold” clip on earrings that I showed you two days ago. I have a big triangular shaped ring with a white stone insert which you can see. This is a set size ring, with an elastic band connecting the top and bottom halves of the ring.

Thank goodness that’s over.

And I did alright at the summer series run.

Buy Nothing New Month – Day 30 A little orange to brighten the day

I’m glad I only did this for 12 days. It’s exhausting! It also shows that I am probably *not* the target market for this kind of campaign, since I wear the same thing all the time.

I remember when I first took the girls to a Salvos store. They were stepping gingerly around as if they would catch some disease just from being in the same air pocket as second hand stuff. Now they quite happily visit the Savers store in Brunswick VIC and browse for hours.

BNNM Day 30

Yet another shirt from the Thai tailor.

Aasymmetrical woollen skirt from M-one-eleven.

Orange coloured wooden bead necklace, made by Rare Rabbit, purchased at Maiocchi Brisbane. I really like the orange colour.

Since my outfit is much the same as it has been on previous days, I’ll show you the button detail on the tan coloured cardigan:

Button detail

Get it?

It’s a horseshoe, a set of stirrups and a whip. The cardigan comes from the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Buy Nothing New Month Day 28: Emergency Intervention

We had planned to go to the Fresh from the West festival together. But then it turned out an overseas friend was turning up on her doorstep. Tomorrow. With 24 hours notice.

So I dressed, took a photo, and then changed into cleaning clothes. After I assisted in some of the house cleaning, I headed out for festival frivolities, and changed back again.

In the background you can see one of my preferred cleaning products when it’s an emergency and you just have to use a spray: Murchison-Hume. Plant based cleaning products, food and people friendly, free from ammonia and bleach. I originally spotted their product in Accoutrement shop Mosman, but I have also seen it stocked in Victoria’s Basement. There is something about citrus smells that just screams *clean*, No?

BNNM2012 Day28

Grey knitted top from Cotton On.

Black/Green skirt from Lush, Melbourne.

Firucchi fuchsia coloured belt with interlocking “leaf” belt buckle. Purchased yesterday at the Surry Hills Festival. But I made sure it was second-hand first. And I had to have it. My search engine also tells me that they are an Australian company. Yay!

Buy Nothing New Month Day 27 – festival time

Getting all dolled up for the Surry Hills Festival. The weather was warm in the sun, but with a bit of a cold edge in the shade. I hadn’t planned to go, but I wanted to meet up with my friend M and rescue my cake carrier from her before any more lemon meringue pie ended up on my car’s back seat.

BNNM2012 Day27

Grey long sleeve knitted top from Cotton On. My mate had a job to clear out a house when some parents kicked their adult kids out, and he came away
with a bag of clothes. This was one of them. I like it because of the extra
body length. I don’t have bare my midriff.

Blue cotton spotty skirt – rescued from my mum’s wardrobe during a recent cull.

Red cummerbund from Ammo, Melbourne.

New black cardy from China.

Green pashmina from HangZhou, China.

Black and pink Dunlop volley shoes. I got these when my walking boots were giving me blisters.

Buy Nothing New Month 2012, Day 26 run run

Oh hai, you caught me running out the door.

BNNM2012 Day26

Ojay striped shirt.

M-one-eleven asymmetrical skirt.

Mizuno trail runners. I have yet to run on a trail with these.

Global Corporate Challenge backpack (in the background). Have you heard about this? It’s a scheme devised to try and improve the health of sedentary office workers by getting them to increasing their level of incidental exercise.

My goal this year was to get a team average of over 10000 steps per day. We achieved about 12500 per day, and my average was about 13000. You gotta be happy with that!

Buy Nothing New Month 2012 – Day 25

I was going to wear almost the same thing as I wore for Days 23 & 24, but then I thought that would be *boring*.

That’s the problem with themed things like this; it almost encourages you to amass a stash of stuff so you can parade it during November. Catch-22, much?

BNNM2012 Day 25

Fake flower, worn in hair.
This was purchased during the 1950s fair at Rose Seidler house. Now that was a huge excuse to overcharge. I saw earrings for sale there for $50; later on I saw a really similar set at my local vinnies for $2.50.

Shirt, Thailand tailor.

A-line striped skirt with button detail from Lush clothing, Melbourne.

Tan coloured cardigan – saved during a recent cull of clothing from my mum’s wardrobe. There’s some lovely detail on the buttons.

Granny boots from shappere. I’m pretty sure they were purchased a year after the cowboy boots.

Buy Nothing New Month, Day 23 Tapestry cushion

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, ’tis off to work we go.

BNNM2012 Day 23

“It comes and Goes” skirt from Alannah Hill via the ClearIt! Shop in Melbourne. Their range is always so much better than the Sydney store. This skirt is like wearing a pink and green tapestry cushion.

Striped shirt, from a Thai tailor in 2011.

Pashmina, received as a gift. I think it came from HangZhou, China.

Red handbag, Vinnies, $2.50 in 2011.

Cowboy boots, Shappere.

Camera – bought three years ago. BUT, I have to tell you that I just got the light sensing array cleaned to remove an artefact rather than buy a new camera. I hope this makes up for the next bit.

My slight confession. That cardigan you see there I just bought. But it was a replacement for my nine-year-old indestructable cardigan with the shiny elbow patches. And I left that one on a statue in China so someone else could have it (Second hand shops just don’t exist there).

Have I broken the pledge?

Buy Nothing New Month, Day 22

I dressed for summer. I got a cold southerly with torrential “elephants and lions” type rain, and really cold ankles.

BNNM2012 Day 22

Dress from Maiocchi, a Brisbane-based designer. I got the dress at half price earlier this year. I love the colour and the cut.

Petit Bateau top from Slovenia.

Red Butterfly shoes as from last year. I have been wearing them less, but my substitute red glittery shoes have really been no substitute. They might need to go to Vinnies.

String of pearls from a trip to Hainan in 2011.

Buy Nothing New Month 2012, Days 1-21

Wow. Is it that time of the year already? It’s time to buy nothing new

Buy Nothing New Month Pledge

I have been traveling in China, so this has been my wardrobe for days 1-21:

Buy Nothing New Month, Days 1 - 21

Three t-shirts.
Two pairs of pants, one convertible into shorts.
Black skirt, bought in Thailand last year.
Old faithful cardigan, about 9 years old.
One wet weather jacket.

Initial check-in baggage weight? 4.4kg. WIN.