It’s that time of yeara again when we celebrate sustainable living in Australia.
Sustainable House Day 2014 will be held on Sunday the 7th and 14th of September to showcase some of the country’s most environmentally progressive homes.
Did you know that the average Australian household contributes 13 tonnes of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere every year? That’s enough to fill more than 700 balloons every day …scary.
The event gives you the chance to tour every day Australian homes with a lowered ecological footprint and you can visit some sustainable houses in our region. Residences in Mount Duneed, Belmont and Queenscliff will be opening their doors for anyone seeking inspiration, tips and ideas about renewable energy, recycling, and other sustainable practices.
Take a look at the gallery of sustainable homes below. Each residence integrates various sustainable features such as rain water harvesting, recycled building materials, photovoltaic solar panels, sustainable food production and much more!
For more information on Sustainable House Day 2014 or to find a sustainable house in your local area, click here.
Today is the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) World Environment Day and this year the theme is awareness around the environmental impact of your food choices.
The UNEP website states this year’s theme for World Environment Day celebrations is ‘Think.Eat.Save’, an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your food-print.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted, which is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.
The theme, ‘Think.Eat.Save’, encourages you to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make and empowers you to make informed decisions.
Surf Coast residents are being encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint by embracing sustainable eating opportunities.
Local groups and initiatives such as the Danawa Community Garden, Greenmums 3228 and the Torquay Farmers’ Market are encouraging people to think about the environmental impact of food production, packaging and transportation.
Greenmums 3228 member Leanne Reinke said people need to be aware of what they are eating and the effect it has on the environment.
“People need to ask where their produce comes from, think about the distance it’s travelled and how it’s packaged,” she said.
According to the University of Queensland, choices regarding food packaging and place of origin are the single biggest contributor to most people’s carbon footprint.
People can easily reduce their carbon footprint by simply switching their thinking and considering sustainable alternatives.
Those wishing to eat more sustainably can include more fruit and vegetables into their diet and consider having a meat-free day once a week.
A 1kg portion of beef, according to EPA Victoria, requires 16,000 litres of water in order to get it from paddock to plate, making meat one of the most resource-intensive foods.
Danawa Community Garden Secretary Perry Mills said people are becoming more interested in sustainable eating as vegetable gardens and organic produce increase in popularity.
“There’s a growing interest in eating a plant-based diet and an increased understanding of the importance of growing chemical-free food,” he said.
Eating sustainably is not just good for the environment, it has economic and health benefits too.
“Many of our members have changed their diet to include sustainable eating and this has helped them to control some pretty serious health issues, such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems,” Mr.Mills said.
Torquay Farmers’ Market coordinator David Bell said the increasingly popular market encourages people to change their habits and attitudes to food and support the local community.
“Initiatives such as this help to stimulate the local economy, support small producers and businesses, and increase resilience and connectedness in the community.
“It’s an opportunity to create niche businesses in food production and supply customers with fresh, health and sustainable produce,” Mr Bell said.
Are you or someone you know unsure of what career path to take? Or are you just looking for a new way to increase your employability in the workforce? It seems that careers with a sustainable focus are the next big thing.
Higher education institutions are offering an increasing number of sustainability focused courses to meet the growing demand in the job market.
The Gordon Tafe is just one of the higher education institutions taking advantage of the trend, offering courses with an environmental emphasis such as a Diploma of Sustainability, Sustainable Tourism Management, and Carbon Accounting and Management.
All of these courses will prepare students for a greener future by incorporating valuable sustainability knowledge.
Skill centre manager for sustainable innovation Darren Gray is delighted with the Gordon’s cently accredited and certified Carbon Accounting and Management course.
“We are very proud of this course and it involves the critical skills needed in order to achieve a low-carbon economy,” he said.
The Gordon Culinary School
In 2010 and 2011, the Gordon worked in partnership with Sustainability Victoria in an Australian TAFE first to encourage environmental sustainability in their culinary school’s operations through the case study- A Life Cycle Approach to Sustainable Service.
Check out their case study here for more information.
This initiative was established to decrease the culinary school’s environmental footprint in several areas including reduction of waste, energy, packaging and water usage.
Program manager Wayne Chrimes said the Life Cycle Approach is at the fore front of sustainability design, becoming a strong focus within many industries.
“Whilst we are minimising environmental impacts across our training facilities, the culinary school is also educating students and industry on how to employ sustainable practices for both short and long-term benefit,” he said.
“By embedding sustainability across the Gordon’s culinary school, we are creating behaviour change with today’s students who are the up and coming industry leaders of tomorrow.”
Gordon TAFE Redevelopments
The Gordon also planning to undertake a $26 million redevelopment of its East Geelong Campus and is now seeking funding to support the project.
The redevelopment will house the Gordon’s Centre for Sustainability along with other new facilities that include a new training patisserie kitchen, which will integrate key ideas from the Life Cycle Approach.
If you are thinking of a career with a sustainable focus, some hands on experience might be just the ticket to boost your resume.
There are a number of environmental volunteer groups on the coast who would love to hear from you and you become a regular participant, or just help out when or where you can.
Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to build your skills and knowledge, as well as a hands on way to make a real difference to our precious coastal environment.
It’s a great addition to your resume, and for those interested in a career in environmental management or conservation, it’s the perfect way to gain experience and make valuable contacts.
When you are filling your trolley with your favourite fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, do you ever wonder exactly how fresh they are and where they come from?
Well, there are a number of Surf Coast women asking these same questions.
Green Mums, a network of environmentally-orientated women are working to establish a “farm gate” fresh food cooperative to encourage healthier and more sustainable living in the Surf Coast region.
How will the initiative work?
The Green Mums initiative will develop a weekly collection of food from producers in the Surf Coast region which will then be sorted, packed and delivered to designated community pick up points by rostered cooperative members.
They have also applied for a grant from the Surf Coast Shire for additional support of this initiative.
How will the cooperative benefit our community?
This cooperative would allow regional farmers to distribute their produce fairly and provide opportunities for the community to buy locally sourced groceries.
Leanne Reinke, a member of the Green Mums group, said this initiative will be beneficial to both our health and the environment.
“This initiative will result in carbon emissions being reduced by people buying food that is not sourced interstate or overseas, families eating healthy, fresh food and community friendships being fostered,” she said.
Ms. Reinke also said the initiative would build a more locally-based and self-reliant food economy within the community.
“We want to pay a fair price for good food and local farmers need support and a fair and consistent return, so this initiative will deliver a sustainable and secure food future.”
Are there other regions which support similar initiatives?