Category Archives: What you can do

What you can do to help the environment

Lessons from Aboriginal people about connecting with nature

Aboriginal people have a profound connection to nature – the land as they often call it.

In Aboriginal cultures around the world it’s an affinity, an understanding and a wisdom that’s been passed from generation to generation. In Australia, it’s something that helped Aboriginal people survive 50,000 years.

These videos begin with Bob Randall, a Yankunytjatjara elder and traditional owner of Uluru (Ayre’s Rock). He explains the idea of living with the land rather than off it. That we don’t own the land. It owns us.

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Why we need to get kids into nature (quotable quotes from Richard Louv)

In his book ‘Last Child in the Woods’, Richard Louv coined the term ‘nature deficit disorder’ to highlight the growing disconnection between kids and nature. In his follow up book ‘The Nature Principle’ he says “the more high tech we become, the more nature we need.”

We interviewed Richard Louv as part of our series on environmental leaders. In researching his story, we found lots of great quotes from Richard Рwhich articulate why we need to get kids into nature.

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Why we need a “fundamental shift” to a sustainable economy (and the role of creativity to get there)

Professor Jeff Sachs: "We need to re-think economic development."

Last year I heard a speech by Professor Jeff Sachs which crystalised a lot of things for me. (Sachs is a Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.)

I’m giving a speech myself soon at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. It’s for Design Week and it’s about ‘the importance of creativity for sustainability’. In preparing I’ve found myself coming back to Sachs’s talk at Sydney Uni.

Reason being Sachs puts the whole damn thing in context. He describes how we got to where we are now, how special our time is, and how we are at a watershed moment in human history where we’re going to have to make a fundamental shift to a sustainable economy.

In this post I’ve included a synopsis of the Sach’s speech and links to a podcast of it. I’ve also posted some notes from my proposition that creativity is going to be key in re-thinking and changing how we live.

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Dig baby dig! (And grow baby grow!)

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.

Guerilla gardening vegies - after‘After (a month)’

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Earth Hour: is it a waste of time?

Earth Hour is on tonight 28 March 2009

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?

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Walk against warming (and for a green economy)

Walk against global warming (and for a clean, green economy)

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.

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James Woodford’s grid-life crisis: one man’s journey to leave the city and live sustainably

James Woodford

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’.

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Bicycles v cars: Adam Spencer on city commuting

Adam Spencer cycling advocate and ABC presenter

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.

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Why Germany has 1000% more solar power, with half the sunshine

Electricity feed-in tariff will feed solar power growth

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.

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Interest in sustainable housing goes through the roof!

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.

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