By Jane Paterson
In May 2017 I was roped into attending a Living Smart course with two of my best friends that I’d know for over 30 years. Little did I know it would change my thinking and life forever. It was during the course that I learnt about Plastic Free July (PFJ) which also coincided with the War on Waste on ABC TV.
I was so horrified at learning of the amount of plastic pollution globally – a million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, 500 billion to a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year, billions of straws and a billion coffee cups a year in Australia alone – that I knew I had to do something about it. I joined up to the Plastic Free July challenge in 2017 to say No to the Top 4 single use plastics; plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups and plastic straws.
Sustainable Communities has hosted two talks recently on the microbes found in our soil: the first, at the One Planet Market in May, focused on the diversity of fungi; and the second, a Grow Grow Grow workshop in Unley covered what makes soil so productive, and needing to be treated with care. They fit into a growing awareness of the importance of microbes and their role in biological interactions.
The sheer diversity and abundance of microbes on this planet is astounding. A gram of soil contains thousands of species of microbes. I’ve known that bacteria can exist in many harsh ecosystems around this planet, but I was surprised to find out that fungi too have been found in extreme places such as deep ocean beds, in thermal springs and high in mountain ranges.
A few of the different fungi that grows in the Adelaide Hills
by Pat Wundersitz and Anne Wharton
Friday 4 May 2018. Well, the force was certainly with us at Elder Hall in the dynamic duo of Lisa Lumsden of RePower Port Augusta and Peter Owens of The Wilderness Society. They preceded Bill McKibben of 350.org, who spoke of many matters affecting the world’s environment, including his absolute shock at seeing a part of the Barrier Reef, which he had previously visited when it was flourishing, now resembling a barren tennis court.
Following the 3 talks we were all asked to write a letter to the Prime Minister and leave it with the volunteers on the night. My letter in part reads:
… as a result we have committed to write and exhort you to embrace the way we do business in Australia. In Honolulu this week, the CO2 levels registered 412 ppm, which is a huge rise since the beginning of this century.
We need to keep encouraging renewable sources of energy, which will employ a number of our citizens in ongoing work. We need to keep divesting our savings into financial institutions which do not support the fossil fuel industry. We need to halt the expansion of fracking, e.g. new proposals in the NT and SE of South Australia.
We need to stop coal mining in the Galilee Basin which will carry disruption to the water of the Great Artesian Basin. This bothers me greatly, to think that coal producers may have this ancient water for free, but are likely to disrupt water sources for farmers, graziers and people of inland areas.
I worry for the people who follow us. I feel that the destruction of so much of our heritage will leave little joy and wonder in the natural environment that we have experienced.”
I was impressed with the slides of actions taken by 350.org groups around the world – actions have been taken in most countries and these were colourful and truly inspiring. Bill closed his talk with a reminder for 3 things to work on:
- 100% renewables
- No new fossil fuel projects
- No money for dirty energy…. He talked of the importance of removing the social license for projects that do such huge damage to our environment
Sustainable Communities is supporting the Unley Repair Cafe, run by Ruby Wake and funded by a Fund My Neighbourhood grant. The Repair Cafe’s mission is to repair household items; reduce landfill; share knowledge, skills and cups of tea; save money; make friends & create community. These were certainly fulfilled at the inaugural event in April. There was a range of expert repairers on hand to help fix broken household items and teach these skills to people bringing in their broken items. Items fixed included shoes, furniture, jewellery, clothes, bags, electronics and bikes. There were lots of happy customers with items fixed on the day, while others learnt the necessary skill and took their item away to fix themself.
The next Unley Repair Cafe will be Saturday May 26, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
at the Clarence Park Community Centre (72-74 East Avenue, Black Forest). The centre is next to the Clarence Park train stop, or the W90 bus stop 10. For more details see the Unley Repair Cafe Facebook page or email Ruby. There is a swap and share produce table at the Cafe and the Clarence Park Food Co-op is open if you want to do your shopping while your items are fixed. And if you can’t make the Unley Repair Cafe, the Adelaide Sustainability Centre is running the next Adelaide Repair Cafe on Saturday 19th May (111 Franklin St, Adelaide, 10-1pm).