Surfrider community clean up for Jan Juc

The Surfrider Foundation, and Plastic Bay Free Torquay recently worked together to conduct a Jan Juc litter blitz, uncovering some interesting items of rubbish along the way.

Volunteers from and members from the local community helped collect 25 large bags of litter – litter that would otherwise be left to impact our oceans.

Volunteers display the 25 bags of rubbish collected on the day. Photo: Surfrider (Surf Coast)

Items collected included old carpet, a broken fishing rod, a body-board, a tent and lots of plastic and glass tumblers.

The Surfrider Foundation has been holding regular beach clean ups along the Surf Coast since 1996 to reduce the presence of litter on beaches and promote community participation.

Volunteers gearing up to clean up the coast. Photo: Surfrider (Surf Coast)

Hot refreshments were provided by Mark Clatworthy from Ocean Gind who donated the day’s profits to the Surfrider Foundation.

The Ocean Grind caravan at Jan Juc carpark to provide support the Surf Coast Surfriders Foundation volunteers.

The Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast partners with Plastic Bag Free Torquay and the Take 3 initiative, working in collaboration to reduce plastic pollution along the Surf Coast.

How can I help?

  • Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags when you go grocery shopping.
  • Keep reusable bags handy in the boot, glove box, backpack or handbag to use when shopping.
  • Reuse plastic bags you have accumulated at home as garbage bin liners, freezing food or while walking your dog.
  • Collect rubbish you see when walking along the coast and put it in the bin.
  • Help spread the word! Education is so important in reducing plastic pollution, so please help educate and inspire others to look after the environment.
  • Volunteer with a local environmental group and start making a difference in your area

And remember ….

Refuse disposable plastic, Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle and Respond by picking up rubbish.

Photo courtesy of

Interested in volunteering and making a difference?  Visit our website here for more information on local coastal volunteer groups.

Have you found any strange items of rubbish on the beach? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate Sustainable Living!

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.

World Environment Day encourages you to make better food choices!

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.

Today is World Environment Day 2013. Photograph courtesy of UNEP (
Today is World Environment Day 2013. Photo: UNEP (

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.

You can learn more about World Environment Day and what you can do on the UNEP website.

What are you doing to reduce your food-print or environmental impact? Let us know!

Related Blog Posts:

danawa-community-garden-groupThink before you eat
71551_159130807443335_159130697443346_351415_1823038_nGreen mums want greener groceries 

Think before you eat

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.

Members of the Danawa Community Garden with their fresh and sustainable produce.
Members of the Danawa Community Garden with their recently harvested fresh and sustainable produce.

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.


Happy shoppers buying produce which helps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Happy shoppers buying produce which helps to reduce their carbon footprint at the Torquay Farmers’ Market.


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.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Perry Mills from the Danawa Community Garden on 0428848646, email Greenmums 3228 at , or for the Torquay Farmers’ Market contact David Bell 0418315026.  This article featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

What are you doing to eat sustainably? …..

Sustainable careers in focus

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 offers a number of courses that have an environmentally sustainable emphasis.

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.

The Gordon’s ‘Life Cycle’ approach strives to create behaviour change with their culinary school students.

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.

Where can I find more information?

For more information of the Gordon’s courses, check out their website at

If you are interested in environmental volunteering on the coast, check out all the groups operating in our region here.

Or, to learn more, watch the video below on environmental volunteering on the coast.

Green Mums want ‘greener’ groceries

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.

Green Mums are striving to create a healthier and more eco-friendly community. (Picture courtesy of Green Mums)

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?

Green Mums is drawing on the thriving Melbourne food network Ceres Fair Food, for inspiration.

Ceres Fair Food is a popular organic food delivery service which sources produce from local growers who are paid a fair price for their produce and also practice eco-friendly farming.

For more information, click here to see the Ceres Fair Food website.

Leanne Reinke from Green Mums seeks advice from Jesse Hull at Ceres Fair Food.

On a global scale, trends suggest that consumers are increasingly looking to understand where their food comes from and exactly what goes into it.

“There is a growing international desire to be more sustainable and to live a healthier life, and a realisation that these two objectives complement each other.

“It is possible to have a much more tangible relationship with who is growing our food and changes inevitably ripple outward to our local community and ultimately impact globally,” said Ms. Reinke

How can I help?

Ms Reinke said anyone wanting to make a healthier change now has the ability.

“My advice when shopping would be to think when you shop- where it comes from, how it got here, how much packaging does it have, what was used to produce it, and say ‘no’ to plastic bags”

Those wishing to get involved or learn more about the cooperative can email Green Mums at , visit their blog or Facebook page