Plastic Free July 

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.


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Bill McKibben visits Adelaide

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, 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 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:

  1. 100% renewables
  2. No new fossil fuel projects
  3. 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

Website & media – we need your help!

Website refresh pop up ‘brains trust’
Sustainable Communities SA is looking for a small group of volunteers to form a short-term group to help us refresh our website – We are looking for people who are familiar with the website, as well as those who have not used it before.

The group would meet once or twice over the next 3 months to provide:

  • Thoughts on what the purpose of a refreshed Sustainable Communities SA website might include
  • Feedback on the current website – what you like about it, and things that could be improved – including functionality, structure, design/style and content
  • Input into what you would like to see included
  • Feedback on the design and functionality of a new website as it is developed

A website developer will lead the group through the development process.

This is a great chance to be exposed to basic website planning, shape the organisation’s website, and meet others who have an interest in this area.

If you’re interested in finding out more, or would like to help out, please contact Tania Macdonald, or call 0407 141 812 by 5pm Friday 20 April 2018.

Online communications roles and tasks
Sustainable Communities SA is also looking for volunteers to help with a range of online communication roles and tasks, including:

  • Compiling and distributing a quarterly e-newsletter (using Mail Chimp)
  • Updating the website (using WordPress)
  • Updating Facebook

Whether you’re interested in just one or all of these tasks, please let us know. You will be supported and gain experience in using online communication tools, hone your editing and writing skills, and build your portfolio with real world examples of your work.

Whether you’re looking to gain experience in communications and/or sustainability, or just want to ‘do your part’, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, or would like to help, please contact Rosalie at by 5pm Friday 20 April 2018.