With all this gloom and doom around, here’s something positive you can do. It’ll not only be good for your weekly budget, but all also make you happier. And surprise, in a very small way, also be good for the planet.
Grab a shovel, go out to the verge in front of your house, and dig it up. That’s right, turn that earth, plant some vegies in there, and watch food grow before your very eyes.
I did exactly that and you wouldn’t believe the results. Vegies are just some of them.
‘After (a month)’
Earth Hour is on again – tonight 28th March at 8.30pm. The event asks people and businesses to turn off lights and appliances for one hour. It ran for the first time in Sydney only a few years ago. Since then the idea has been picked up by many other major cities around the world.
But looking beyond all the hype, how useful is it really in helping to tackle the problem of climate change?
The ‘Walk Against Warming‘ is on again this Saturday the 15th of November. It’s organised by a coalition of green groups and it’s no small thing. Last year there were 80,000 people in Sydney and Melbourne alone and thousands more in other places around Australia.
Lots of people dream of making a ‘sea change’ to escape the rat race of the city. Some people even do it.
But how many leave with the intention of living sustainably? To live on the land, grow their own food, generate their own power and water, and even restore their new patch closer to its original, natural state. James Woodford and his family are working on just that.
Audio: Interview with James Woodford about his new book ‘Real Dirt’.
You may know Adam Spencer as a presenter of ABC Radio in Sydney and from ABC TV. But did you know he cycles everywhere and hardly ever drives?
In the lead up to ‘Ride to Work Day’, Adam goes into bat for the bike. In fact, in this interview he says what he really thinks of the constant hoo-haa about building more roads and tunnels in our cities. And doing the traffic report when you don’t drive a car.
Audio: Listen to our interview with Adam Spencer on why the bike is better.
Video: Adam Spencer also has a gentle word about the price of petrol.
A decade ago Germanys uptake of solar energy was on par with Australia. But thanks to an innovative financial incentive, Germany has surged ahead. So much so, its renewable energy is now a mainstream industry and a leading employer in that country.
Audio: Markus Lambert explains the effect the electricity feed-in tariff has had in Germany.
The number of ‘sustainable houses’ is growing worldwide. And if you’re interested in making your place more sustainable, the best way to get going is to see one in action.
But where are they? This weekend is Sustainable House Day (which in fact runs Saturday and Sunday) when some of Australia’s best sustainable houses will be open to the public.
Audio: Interview with Judy Celmins from Sustainable House Day.
Will Sydney get its own urban farm? In the first of our series on city farms, we look at the proposal to put an organic farm at Callan Park in the city’s inner west.
The proposal draws ideas from successful farms that have ready been established in places like Melbourne and London. And the site is a beautiful location right on the harbour and in the grounds of the now abandoned mental hospital.
It all sounds good, apart from the fact that the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority have not included the farm in their plans for the whole site and a final decision is going to be made on its future use soon.
In this interview I speak with Rod Simpson and Andrew Jackson from Sydney City Farm. Andrew is the head of this non-profit organisation and Rod is the architect and designer behind the plan. You can listen here to the Sydney City Farm interview. It starts with Rod Simpson.
How to support the Sydney City Farm
If you think the farm is a good idea, there’s a couple of things you can do. Join the mailing list at www.sydneycityfarm.org and write to the New South Wales Planning Minister and to the Vice Chancellor of Sydney Uni to ask them to include the farm in their plans.
More info on Sydney City Farm
More on the farm in this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Do your own thing
If you want to join or start a community garden where you live, check out the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network.
Josh Byrne is a presenter on the ABCs Garden Show. He’s also written a book called ‘The Green Gardener’.
Josh reckons people have seen the light and are now using their backyards to grow food. In this interview, he talks about how to go about grow your own, making your garden sustainable and the role of permaculture in his work. Listen to the Josh Byrne Green Gardener interview.
I caught up with Josh at the Australian Permaculture Convergence.
Above is a link to a great video on YouTube. It provides a good, simple explanation of how and why old-fashioned commerce is damaging the planet. (Part 1 is first up. Click on the ‘menu’ to bring up the other parts after that. Each is a few minutes long.)
What’s the answer? Bring on the second (smarter) industrial revolution where business works in a cyclical way like nature. More on this idea in Hawken’s book ‘The Ecology of Commerce’.