While I was participating in the Living Smart SA course one of the things I was committed to was getting rid of the e-waste I had at home. It had just accumulated and needed to go. In October I managed to collect the e-waste into one spot in my garage. That was a big effort in itself. I had to find all the e-waste stashed around the house and then move it outside. I felt really pleased with that part of it. The course then finished, life went on, we had Christmas, then New Year and now it was May and I still had not moved it. I tried to get it all picked up. There was less an a ute load and less than 15 minutes work. For me, I cannot carry CRT monitors easily , nor microwaves, so my first effort of getting it all in one place had been significant. Once this lot is all gone, then it will not be a problem. It won’t build up as it did with all the changes in technology and it won’t weigh as much because new technology is much lighter and less cumbersome. The quotes for removing it were $100-$130 . That’s $400-$520 an hour. I had been in the wrong job! It means I have had to wait and do some more planning. Older people go away , are sick or cannot carry things easily. Younger people are working long shifts most days and need a break. I feel pretty proud of myself that that I completely filled the boot of my car up with the smaller stuff. I had a microwave which was heavy . The rest was straight forward. It’s gone. Advanced Recycling Technologies took all the stuff and unloaded it for me. They were helpful, nice and right near the ocean! Great views. I have to wait now for help with 3 CRT monitors and 2 heavy microwaves. I can then say I met that commitment and it was my one and only promise to myself at New Year – that I would do something about my e-waste. I feel so relieved now I have done the right thing and so happy. A.R.T is part of the Unplug’n’Drop programme where a number of sites across Australia will now take electronic waste and seek to repair and repurpose rather just sent to recycling or landfill.
One evening at the LivingsmartSA course at Mclaren Vale we made eco deodorant from corn flour, bicarb, rosemary, thyme and lemon grass oil. It smelled divine. Couldn’t bring myself to use it as an eco deodorant and said I would make savoury biscuits . Here they are. So light, crispy and delicious . I think the ingredients were 2 tbsp cornflour, 1 tbsp bicarb, rosemary and thyme about a teasp and a few drops of lemon grass oil . I told Dani, the lady who showed us how to make the dry eco deodorant, I was going to do this and the eco deodorant biscuits have taken my biscuit making to a whole new level and realm. The video shows you a different sort of eco deodorant. It was important that we had eco deodorant brought to our attention. We do need to be careful about what is going on our skin because those things are absorbed straight into our blood stream. There are some more recipes for ecodeodorant The Homemade experiment.
Eco deodorant biscuits
3/4 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup parmesan
1 quantity of ecodeodorant mix made up to 1 1/3 cups of flour with SR flour
teasp or dollop of mustard
1 large egg
pinch sea salt
tabsp poppy seeds
tabsp sesame seeds
Oven needs to be preheated to 180C and the biscuits take bout 15 mins to cook
Grease/spray two biscuit trays
Mix all the ingredients together until they make a dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board and roll dough out to about 4mm thick
Use a cutter to make biscuits and lay them on the tray. They don’t spread or rise much.
I completed the 7 week Living Smart SA Course run by the Onkaparinga Council. There are also Living Smart SA courses in Glenelg and Unley. It’s a successful idea which has come from Western Australia and I can see why. I was lucky enough to be at the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Information centre as the venue and our field trip was to the Aldinga Arts Eco Village which was really inspiring. I especially valued the discussions. The group was made up of people of different ages but the life experience in the room was such that it created a very dynamic atmosphere for discussion and growth. The course offers a lot of freebies so you know your local area better, can engage better with key providers and have little things like a shower timer and thermometer to help you on your way. Apart from all the thinking I have done around the course I have now:
1. Improved my veggie patch a lot
2. Have two things to work on with regard to energy use and one thing to investigate
3. Am recycling much better and have included red cycling and battery recycling properly
4. Have far less throw away waste
5. Am now very clear in the decisions about my home and my life with regard to sustainability
It was a course which was enjoyable to participate in and has had a positive impact on me and my life. Sometimes you just need to take up the opportunities. The energy audit of my home took me 15 minutes and has had a good outcome. These sorts of practical ideas have helped me to be more positive when it comes to sustainability.
As much as anything, I use my blogs to sort out my thinking and to store information so that I don’t lose it as I am trying to clarify my ideas. Saving energy at home is one thing I am determined to get better at. To do that I need to get the information and then think about it, sort out pricing and so on. This post is about where I am at and where I plan to go. We have had a number of long outages where I live in the last couple of years. I am thinking I need some back up power. I have managed and I have been okay but one of the outages was extended. I was lucky. I still had a mobile connection. I was thinking maybe I could use portable solar panels in my garden, as campers do, to back up my main supply in these sorts of events. I was thinking also it might contribute overall to my energy saving plan for my home. It is not worth my while getting permanent solar panels for my home but portable ones could be an option. I don’t go camping so I am not familiar with these devices. I need to get a level of understanding first, then prices and then decide on that one. Meanwhile I am revisiting all my appliances and looking at how I can save energy. I have replaced a computer monitor with a more efficient one. So efficient it even tells me how my energy and CO2 I am saving. Compared with what , who knows, but still. I have replaced items with more energy efficient ones as I have needed to change devices and equipment. That is something to be planned. Most people can’t just throw out what they have and replace it with greener equipment. There is plenty of help on the net to help thinking around energy use. There is an energy rating calculator so you can look at the brands you have. SA Govt has some good information for energy use at home so that you can do a home energy audit or you can get your energy supplier to do a free one on your home. There is also a downloadable pdf for energy usage on different appliances so you can better inform yourself as to which ones use the most energy. Some people are very good at getting their homes to be be very energy efficient. That is a whole big lot of thinking and planning but it can be done. Most of us need to think it out one step at a time. I am starting with the appliances , the usage and now seeing whether portable solar panels are an option for me.
Image : Sustainability for all
I am big on reusing, repurposing and repairing. In the end it’s a habit which you can develop and a way of thinking. I also have got my friends and family into that style of thinking too. We help each other repair things, or find a new use for things or a new home. I collect things to recycle and to hand on to charity organisations so I know that they will get good use. One of my friends said that was a good way of thinking because it gives you a sense of purpose. He is helping to rebuild things to be handed on to charity organisations and refugee camps. As a world we have improved our capacity to redistribute and that is because we have thought about it. Organisations like OzHarvest build the relationships so they can redistribute food to the needy. Adelaide has a number of artists who have created wonderful pieces from leftover and excess materials. Some are beautiful and intricate art works. Others are metallic sculptures which are as impressive as they are inspirational. Greenpeace has a good post about getting beyond reuse, recycle, reduce. We are doing that, but we need to keep thinking about it. We cannot live sustainably on a planet which keeps producing more and more and more. In the end you have enough and enough is plenty.
The Living Smart program started in Western Australia and has been well loved and well endorsed. It has made a difference to how people perceive sustainability and the environment. It has managed to allow people to see that working together as a community preserves an environment for the future as well as allowing an opportunity to live in a healthier more welcoming environment. There is a disconnect between the people who just want to make their money and run and those who want to be part of a growth mindset which enables us to live healthily and well on this planet for generations to come. The short term , quick reward approach is hard to counter since people find it very hard to resist riches and money. It is also really hard when working conditions make it so hard for you to relax and have free time. You just want to survive and follow the path of least resistance which largely means ignoring your footprint on the earth. Living Smart has allowed people to take a step back and get rid of the fear and procrastination and just do: find out that networking and being with others is how you manage some of it, if not all of it. We now have this course in South Australia at McLaren Vale, Unley and Glenelg. I have been lucky enough to be in the McLaren Vale course and already I can see I am in a room full of people with ideas, experience, a nice way of being and that invaluable attribute of enthusiasm. It’s that enthusiasm which forges a positive road forward in terms of sustainability and the environment. It’s not an alternative. It is. It is, because you can see and implement the options and find a way of doing that so that others can do it. I grew up in an Australia which cared about the land and knew so much about natural environments. We were then submerged in suburbs but that connection with the land is unstoppable. It is now burgeoning as ecoburbia.
It’s the Noarlunga Library’s fault I haven’t been to a library in 20 years! I used to be at the library every week and it was a great place for my daughter . They played their part in ensuring she loved books and reading.She even went back as a volunteer when she was older. It was a great library then with all the foreign language books, the wealth of health books, the craft and art books and the massive choice of fiction. They installed computers and allowed us access to this new Internet thing. I booked the two of us in for an hour at a time and we were lost in Netscape and just loved it, so much so I bought my IBM 486 computer and suddenly we could find everything online and were spending lot of time online .The library became superfluous to requirements. Last Wednesday was foul weather in Adelaide and I had the urge to go back to the library to see what had happened to it. It is an airy, well thought out space now. There are not so many books but there are more electronic media, magazines and computers. They even had some retro computers in their own special spot which were fully utilised as flat screens sat idle and unpopular. That was really interesting. There were more magazines and they were really well organised and covered a wide variety of interests. The staff set me up well and quickly and I was borrowing in no time. I also had an update and explanation of how it all works online now. Libraries are linked and so you can book resources you search and they will come to your nearest library. You can read books online or download them to a compatible reader. What interested me as I wandered was there was a map of the proposed changes to the Port Noarlunga foreshore to include and upgraded walking trail. It was clearly explained, there were photographs and it was information worth seeing. There was a lot of art work featured too. It wasn’t overly busy, probably because of the weather. Everyone there was engrossed in what they were doing. I came out with a number of books and some magazines which have already gone to work really hard in my life with the ideas they have brought me. A book or magazine brings you specific content which is curated in a careful way. It is focused learning and focused presentation of material. Books have things which are not necessarily on the internet. It’s another way to see the ideas and creativity of others. The library is now going to be a regular part of my life because it is a learning space which allows you to explore in your own way. I am still discovering the online part of it but I can see that will help broaden my searches and access to information. On a computer you are available to others. In a library you are available to yourself and that thought struck me clearly. Libraries are there for you and your own self development and that has been lost in the passion for technology . Originally, computing was just for me on my IBM 486 but now it has become a place where I am expected to be there. I am used to it and do well with technology but it was lovely to just have me time in the library where my learning needs are met uninterrupted and without any expectations other than my own and that is a library’s biggest asset in 2016.