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.
I am not going to use a bokashi bin because I am short of composting space. I want to make my composting more effective. I have decided to remodel what I do with kitchen scraps. I now have a small compost bucket with a lid to use for peelings etc as I go. That will be emptied into the bokashi bin.When necessary the bokashi bin will be emptied into my big compost bin out the back or be dug directly into my veggie patch. I am still investigating it all so this is by way of the first post .
My bokashi bin arrived yesterday and so I am set to go. Unfortunately, we have storms forecast for tomorrow so I guess that will be research day and I should be able to get my system in place over the weekend. The old indoor compost bin will be repurposed into an inground worm farm.Bit by bit I have got my garden to be better . I do it gradually and plan the things I want to do and as I talk about them I get other ideas so by the time I am doing something I feel ready and confident. I am excited to see how the bokashi bin works.
I was reading an article about a woman living in a Berlin apartment who is keeping bees. We do have a bee crisis and I know that Europe has different programmes to encourage back yard people to become beekeepers. Keeping them in an apartment block sounds very daring to me. I love bees and am concerned their numbers are dwindling but I understand it better now. Farms have basically become uni crop – just corn or just wheat or just lentils. Then farmers tend to use sprays which do not help the bees and are killing them. The farmers are dealing with difficult weather conditions and are doing what they can to stop their crops from being destroyed by pests or fungal diseases. If Europe can do it, we can do it. I loved watching that video. It is clever and inspiring and you can see that a back yard bee keeping exercise has turned into a business. It is well thought out and the level of care is obvious. There is also someone locally who provides honey from a back yard bee keeping establishment. I don’t know whether it’s good to keep back yard bees or not. I am going to find out. I wouldn’t want it to be a danger to myself, pets, children, people. Maybe I won’t be keeping bees. Maybe I can help someone? My plan for the new year to to find out what is offered locally by way of bee keeping courses. I then plan to find out where we have our local bee keeping people. It’s the sort of thing which could become a community project so that no one has the weight of carrying all those bees. I don’t know. I am creating a plan and then I am going to follow it through because it is not about me. It is all about the bees.
According to the information under the video clip: In 2009, oil wells around the world pumped an estimated 84 to 85 million barrels out of the Earth, and countries consumed just as much [source: EIA]. That is a lot of oil. We still have oil but it is difficult to access and is encouraging practices like fracking which come with all sorts of concerning problems. It also has meant difficulty negotiating with areas of the world where the oil is because we are so oil dependant. Not having oil would impact on industry, the military, transport, electricity, asphalt, production of plastics and polymers, agriculture. It would create job losses. We pollute the planet so much because of oil but we seem to be locked into a mindset which says we need it. We won’t necessarily go backwards without it. We have the capacity to think our way through and find other fuel options which are more planet and lifestyle friendly. We also have the capacity to rethink our lives so they are not so oil dependant. Do we need all that plastic? Do we need to fly everywhere? Do we need to transport our food huge distances? Can we get to places without our car? That can be a hard one if we are leading busy lives. Public transport can make the day so much longer and , in some places, it is not an option. If you start work at 4am in Adelaide there are no public transport options. Public transport times and efficiency would have a big impact of how many cars we have on the road. People ought not to have to have a car in order to work. There are also implications within all that for personal safety . These are difficult problems but not beyond our bounds for resolving if we think about it. I haven’t yet heard any defence of leaving the oil in the earth because maybe the planet actually needs that oil in the ground as part of its survival mechanism. There is always an assumption we can take things out of the ground in vast quantities and it means nothing to a living planet. We don’t just need to think about oil consumption, we also need to think about preserving the place we live. It always surprises me we do things just because we can and then don’t think the process through properly so we look at implications and effects. It’s not rational to behave like that. We can do better and we could come up with things which suit us and our environment. Why not?
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.
Living Smart is a sustainability initiative which started in Western Australia and is mushrooming now around the states. I am hoping we’ll get the courses this year in my local area. The idea is to give people proper and usable information to help them create a more sustainable lifestyle. It is quite clear from the video that people are clear about what they have achieved as facilitators and participants are very clear about what they have learned and put into use. You can get more information from the Living Smart website and on Twitter @LivingSmartAu. The good thing about this programme is that it relates to all age groups and all age groups can benefit from it and the natural sharing they do with each other.