Living Smart in Australia

The ‘Living Smart’ programme

Once again, Marianne (our Wilmslow Transitioner currently living in Australia) gives us news of the ‘Living Smart’ programme she is attending.  Here is Part 4

Water and Biodiversity

The focus was on water which is a big deal for the world, but a particularly acute problem here in Western Australia (WA).  The graph of rainfall for this part of the world was a worry (it is going down… a lot… decade on decade) whilst the population is increasing dramatically (it has doubled since I came to WA in 1999.)

We discussed what activities are most water intensive (watering gardens in WA!) and ways to save water from the very simple (showering standing in a bucket then using that to flush the loo etc.) to collecting rainwater from your roof in a tank and all the things you need to consider for that.  Ecoburbia (4 “apartments” sharing a house and utilities) can survive for most of the year in WA on only the rain water they collect!  Lots more interesting stuff about Ecoburbia at http://ecoburbia.com.au

We also discussed Biodiversity.  Perth’s population is set to double over the next 40 years.  Will wildlife manage to survive?  Perth straddles the Swan and Canning Rivers which wildlife need to access.  We discussed how to create habitats and corridors for native species.

‘Transport’ is the theme for Week 5

 

 

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The Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan

What do you want Wilmslow to look like?

Transition Wilmslow is taking a part in this initiative

Help to make a difference – have your say!

You are encouraged to ‘think big’ and make some creative and innovative suggestions

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Living Smart in Australia

The ‘Living Smart’ programme; Part 2

Marianne (our Wilmslow Transitioner currently living in Australia) gives us news of the second session of the ‘Living Smart’ programme she is attending.

Living Simply and Waste.

Australian research has shown that the greater our income the higher the level of our dissatisfaction.

Nearly two thirds of Australians say they cannot afford to buy everything they really need …….

……. and yet Australians are richer than ever and about three times better off than their parents in the 1950s!

Research also shows that people who focus on money and materialistic possessions are less happy and are more prone to negative mind states like depression.

In summary, material possessions are being used to communicate status and try to enhance our self-esteem. Our relationship with consumption is so complex we now buy things that we do not use!  Also high consumptive lifestyles have negative environmental consequences.  According to the Living Planet Report 2012 we are currently using 50% more resources than the earth can provide.

We discussed how to live more happily with less, the “buyerarchy” of needs and a (what I’ll call) “feel the fear” technique to counteract our reptilian brain that drives us to overconsume.  Think about the shop you find most irresistible, go to the shop, wander round and resist buying anything but be aware of what your “inner reptile” is saying.

buyerarchyStart from the bottom and take as few steps as possible up the ‘hierarchy’!!

Perth has some very big “waste and recycling” centres.  Our local one was explained to us.  Essentially we have all been doing it wrong!  The objective is “not to contaminate the compost/green waste bin with non-green waste” rather than “picking out the recyclables”.  The organic waste is turned into high quality compost for farmers, and the rest goes down a shoot that has a “magic eye” that can pick different kinds of plastic etc and send them off to different piles.  Apparently sometimes they can’t recycle e.g. glass depending on demand, so it becomes a “topper” for the landfill.  The crew are all set for “plastic free July” which is apparently an annual thing.  Much was discussed around this – too much to go into here but fascinating and useful (like how to cope in your bathroom – vinegar and bicarb make great shampoo)!

There is a website and you can enroll:  www.plasticfreejuly.org/

Next session is POWER!

Some books that were suggested reading:

Afluenza by Clive Hamilton,

Enough –  Breaking Free from the world of excess by John Naish

Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin.

 

Transitioners Down Under!

News from a Wilmslow Transitioner now living in Western Australia

Living smart

Transition is really taking off in Australia.  Of course they have very similar problems to those in the UK but there are some stark differences too:

  • the weather – it’s a lot hotter and good for generating solar power
  • there’s a lot less water – months of no rain and bush fire problems
  • the soils here, particularly here in Western Australia are very poor, in fact Perth is really one big sand dune
  • it’s BIG so things are very spread out and people drive a lot more

The Living Smart Programme

The whole idea started out in Fremantle 2002.

The Living Smart course is a 7 week affair (3 hours every Tuesday evening) consisting of ten key modules:  Water     Power    Waste    Simple Living    Gardening for Food     Transport   Healthy You    Gardening for Biodiversity   Healthy Homes    Community

It’s about training people to understand what can make the difference to living sustainably. Importantly, it includes behavioural change techniques that provide participants with the skills and knowledge to take action in their own homes to improve their quality of life and reduce their environmental impact – so critical to getting more of what people learn in the course implemented.  See more at the Living Smart Website

Here is Marianne’s account of one of the sessions.

Tonight we did a great ice breaker – called “Sustainability Bingo” where we had to find people who did something in each of the categories (these were things like “use your own shopping bags” “cycle to work or shops” “drive a small economical car” etc.).  Then we were asked in small groups to declare why we were there (and write it down) and then assess which things individuals in the group had in common.  This was followed by an interesting discussion about behavioural change and how important goal setting is (a way of talking to your subconscious as well as a way of recognising and breaking down barriers to change).  The course involved being very hands on with lots of activities, tonight mostly focused on what we wanted to know, why we were interested and the behavioural change stuff.

We hope to bring you more news from Marianne soon.

Earth Hour

Thanks to all those who came to our ‘Earth Hour’ celebration – and to the ‘Old Dancer’ for hosting our candle lit sing-song.

Our belated event was a great success.  Doug once again led us at the piano and John gave his now obligatory rendition of the ‘Manchester Rambler’.

'The Manchester Rambler'

See you next year, 25 March 2017?

Sign up to Earth Hour

Will you switch off your lights and switch on your social power for The Official Earth Hour 2016?

Saturday 19 March, 8.30-9.30pm


 

Will you also join Transition Wilmslow for a

‘Special Earth Hour’? Friday 1 April, 8.30-9.30pm

Still switching off the lights, and having a really good sing – song, by candlelight, with Doug MacDonald at the piano.

Please note the change of date!

Earth Hour 2016 flyer

 

 

Transition Network Newsletter

The latest edition of the Transition Network Newsletter – worth a read here

It includes details of:

  • their new publication -’21 Stories of Transition’
  • how a community responded when overwhelmed with refugees
  • news of Transitioners from around the world going to the Global Climate Conference which takes place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015 in Paris.