10 Days

Leave a comment

Yes, it is 10 days since my last blog post.  There is no good reason – I just took a break.

I think the biggest news (in Australia) in the past couple of weeks has been the announcement by Woolworths that they will stop using single-use plastic bags.  This was closely followed by Coles announcing that they would do the same.  Here is a news report.  I have not commented on this announcement so now is probably as good a time as any.

2017-06-28 03

“What a great initiative” was my my immediate thought, especially in the midst of Plastic Free July.  Perhaps the movement was really starting to gain some traction with mainstream consumers?

My optimism was short-lived as I began to hear and read various responses.  In fact, despair would have been a more accurate description of my mood over the following days.

Here is a round-up of the sort of comments that came to my notice:

  • It is only so they (supermarkets) can sell more heavy-duty plastic carrier bags.
  • Green bags are made from a plastic-based fabric – you have to use them 347 times to make the impact less than the single-use plastic bags.
  • What will I use to collect dog poo when out walking?
  • Research shows that the sale of bin liner bags has increased in those states that have completely banned single-use plastic bags.
  • What will I use to line my bins?

Seriously??

It is evident that many, many people have long way to go before they understand the impact of the millions of plastic bags which are produced every year and used only once.  They also do not appear to be prepared to adjust their lifestyle even slightly.

So, how do you counter these and a million other ill-informed comments?

The first and simplest thing is to consider investing in some strong fabric bags that do not contain plastics.  I can assure you that these will last for many, many years and can be repaired as necessary.

2017-07-04 01

Work towards generating less waste so that you have a reduced need for bin liners.  Purchasing larger packs, from bulk bins, unwrapped, using your own produce bags will all assist in reducing the amount of packaging waste.

Take more care with grocery shopping and buy only what you will actually use.  Remember, first world countries such as Australia, the USA and UK discard around 25% of all food produced.  Make sure you are not part of this dreadful statistic.

Consider composting food scraps to reduce the amount which you currently send to landfill.  Even if you do not have access to a backyard there are numerous systems available which can be used by people living in apartments.  Additionally, there are opportunities to connect with people who may be happy to take your scraps for their compost system or search for a community garden in your area.  Online connections are invaluable in the 21st century for developing relationships which are mutually beneficial.  One such example is Spare Harvest which is building a sharing community for excess produce, plants and garden resources.

img_6057

Small bins that do not contain wet food scraps can be lined with newspaper.  So, the naysayers point out that not everyone gets the newspaper anymore!

The real point of this post is to encourage everyone to take a positive, solution-based approach to change.  We need to be looking for innovative ways to reduce our environmental footprint rather than railing against any change which may happen to impact our wasteful lifestyle.

I live in a semi-rural area and our local town has a Woolworths and IGA supermarkets as well as a selection of independent retailers.  Almost all of these businesses routinely provide plastic bags for purchases.  I believe that the impending phasing out of plastic bags by the retail giants can taken up by all retailers and set a precedent by making Maleny plastic bag free.

I intend to promote this idea and encourage others to become involved.  My first strategy will be to contact the IGA supermarket and ask them to match the Woolworths ban on plastic bags.  I am also looking into the Boomerang Bags project which would be a perfect way to introduce people to the options available to fill the void left by the removal of plastic bags.

 

Festival Time

Leave a comment

I could say that I have been out partying but that is not strictly the truth.  Thursday, 26th January is Australia Day and each year on the weekend closest to Australia Day the Maleny Film Society holds an Australian Film Festival.

img_6052

We bought our passes, donned our festival armbands and immersed ourselves in a selection of Australian movies.  They were ‘Girl Asleep’, ‘Pawno’, ‘Broke’ and ‘Goldstone’.  They were all somewhat edgy, challenging and thought-provoking.  The language in ‘Pawno’ and ‘Broke’ particularly was not for the faint-hearted.

A real highlight was the attendance of well-known movie reviewer, David Stratton.

2017-01-29-02

The other thing I have been working on is planning for our trip to the UK later in the year.  We now have our airfares and the majority of the accommodation organised.  I write about our travel plans and adventures on my other blog, Somewhere, Anywhere so please feel free to pop over and read all about it.

Today has been back to the everyday tasks – washing, ironing, menu planning, shopping and preparing meals.  I have also been moving along some excess items from the workshop from when we did a bit of a clean up a couple of weeks ago.  More about that in the next post.

Open Your Eyes

4 Comments

Today I was reminded of how often we really do not take notice of what is going on around us.  I read this post by Zoë Boccabella.  I had never heard of Little Free Libraries but worst of all this one is actually located in the closest small town to where I live.  Why is that bad?  I go to town usually once each week and I have seen the Little Free Library and know exactly where it is but I had never bothered to investigate what it was or its purpose.  Now I have found out, thanks to a blog by someone who does not even live here.

Little Free Library also has a Facebook page if you are interested.

Thanks, Zoë, for opening my eyes.

 

Other Stuff

Leave a comment

I have not totally forgotten you all but I have been busy with other stuff.  I travelled interstate for family reasons and then had a work conference to attend so I have not been hanging out in The Castle much lately.

However, I am back and will be putting the finishing touches to our property in preparation for Sustainable House Day on Sunday.

You may also have noticed that I have added a link ‘Accommodation at The Castle’ at the top of the blog.  This will take to links to our AirBnB entry for our guest room.

I hope to be back with a ‘real’ post before too long.

Thanks for your patience.

Why I Live Here

Leave a comment

I have mentioned in this blog that we live on a small acreage near Maleny in suth-east Queensland.

2012-08-05 01While I collect my thoughts to write a relevant blog post I thought you might like to see this blog post from another local resident.  I do not know the writer, although the article did appear in one of our local weekly publications (yes, we have 2) last week.  I do not necessarily agree with everything on her blog or even in the particular post that I have linked but she makes a number of very valid points.  It is the overwhelming sense of community which drew us here and makes us want to stay here long-term.

Now I had better go and reply to all the comments you have left over the past few days.  Thank you.

The Verdict

1 Comment

Off we went to the Maleny Community Centre with many others to vote on the fate of the Maleny Credit Union.

The hall was filled to capacity and the meeting became a little heated at times.  Some of the speakers were heavy on emotion and light on facts but that is what a democracy is all about.  Everyone who wished to, was given an opportunity to speak.

There were several television crews so I expect the issue will receive plenty of coverage.

Here is a view of some of the crowd.

And then it was time to vote.  The Chairman of the Board of Directors announced the proxies that he held and it was evident that the ‘NO’ campaign was sniffing success.

There was still the casting and counting of votes.

Then it was all over, the votes counted and results declared.  A ‘YES’ vote of 75% was required for the merger to proceed but this did not occur.  The ‘YES’ vote was only 42% which was well short of the required figure.

When summing up the Chairman of the Board of Directors announced that it would be business as usual on Monday at Maleny Credit Union.  Click here to read the media release from the website.

It was back out into the sunshine….

Time to celebrate, reflect and plan the next strategic move, perhaps?

At the Upfront Club, another Maleny co-operative.

I am pleased with the result but know that like many battles this is just the first round.  Whether Maleny Credit Union continues in its current form in the long-term is still a debateable point.

What I do know is that the chance of it disappearing completely with barely a whimper from the local community is not going to happen.  I feel that the Directors misread the strength of community sentiment about this institution and were not pro-active in engaging community participation and consultation if there is to be a significant change to the structure of Maleny Credit Union.

As a footnote:  Acknowledgement should be given to the legacy of Jill Jordan who was instrumental in setting up the Maleny Credit Union as well as many of the other co-operative ventures in this town.  Jill passed away in early 2010.  You can read more here and here.

Save It, Don’t Sell It!

Leave a comment

Tomorrow The Duke and I will be attending a Special General Meeting of the Maleny Credit Union.  This local financial institution is at risk of being swallowed up by a bigger credit union.

MCU was formed in 1984 in a town where co-operatives have a long and successful history.  With 5,000 members, MCU has a strong focus on ethical and sustainable investment along with a commitment to loans for environmental initiatives.

Maleny is a town where people have strong opinions and are not afraid to voice them so I expect it to be a very lively meeting.

This article on crikey.com tells the story so far.  Will this be another Woolworths battle?