Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2012

The annual Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta is clearly becoming a beautiful tradition for many West Aussie families! Held every September it is a massive celebration of those that have chosen to tread lighter on the planet. Whether you are looking for ideas on how to make your home a bit greener, tools that can make ‘eco choices’ a bit more accessible or you just want to get down and celebrate with good company, food and music – Hulbert Street has you covered. Here are some of my highlights from the day.

For a gold coin donation you are permitted entry into the festival and we were met with a sustainable red carpet! Anyone who chose to ride to the festival received the star treatment… a valeted bike parking service, complete with people cheering them down the red runway. I spoke to Rebecca from Freo Cycle Chic (she is also a professional Earthcarer!) and on their first day they parked a massive 150 bikes and judging by the growing queue they would be surpassing that record for the Sunday. 

There was loads of music and entertainment throughout the day including belly-dancing, singing, ukulele players as well as… well, I don’t know what you call this particular type of music so I will just call it ‘Plinky Plonky’ Music! Awesome atmosphere.

We then stumbled upon the Sustainabilitree (my favorite bit of the day). On recycled card love hearts people were asked to write down their green hopes and dreams and then tie them onto the branches of the tree. Not only did the tree look absolutely fabulous but it gave your heart that nice fuzzy feeling just reading all the comments. I get to meet my daughter in 9 weeks and I have always wanted to make a tradition where every morning she writes down something that she is grateful for! After seeing the Sustainabilitree I have decided that this will be how we do it and we will have our own magic tree in the home which we can use to cheer us up and remind us of how lucky we are.

Mine and my dear friend Kat’s ‘heart leaves’

There were also loads of yummy places and things to eat. There was a small fruit juice stand manned completely by under 12’s and they were making an absolute packet. For 50cents you good get a freshly squeezed, homegrown juice (Limeade was amazing) in a reusable plastic cup. After you finished your drink the little greenies washed up the cups and the cycle continued on. A traditional lemonade stand without those nasty single-use plastic cups.

Gorgeous hubby supping away on his Blood Orange and Tangello Juice in a reusable cup!

There were all sorts of amazing cuisines from El Salvadorian food (Tamales and Pupusa’s) to Spanish Quesadilla’s full of spinach and kidney beans and covered in herbs AKA yummy flat things with yummy things on top. But my fave of the day was the all natural icy poles. They had the most amazing flavours from Raspberry and Hibiscus, Salted Caramel and (the absolute winner in my books!) Cucumber, Lime and Chilli. Flavour explosion!

Orange and Rose vs. Cucumber Lime and Chilli… I WIN!

All along the street were educational stalls which not only had the adults looking but seemed to have so many kids interested as well! I feel like I am officially getting old when I start commenting on how great it is to see young kids getting so interested in living sustainably. But hell – get me my walking cane and tea cosy…. if that makes me old I am cool with it. Taking of awesome older folk, I also spied the cutest Sunday Best hats ever…

A young chap pondering the importance of renewable energy!

And of course there were also the Hulbert Street House Tours. Homes literally opened up their doors allowing anyone and everyone inside to inspect how they live and provide inspiration for people to draw upon for their own homes. From edible landscapes to underground water tanks (for particularly squishy urban blocks) these homes really demonstrate that you don’t need to live on a massive plot of land to become largely self-sustaining!

An idea that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED and hope to be able to implement on my own street one day was the book exchange. What a great way to bring a community together and instill a feeling of trust amongst it! Just a simple tin shed, full of books that anyone can borrow at any time. Functioning off a self monitored Honesty Policy I think it may just be the cutest library I have ever visited.

And on top of all that it was just a lovely place to be with family and friends. We were lucky enough to spend with day with a super gorgeous family comprised of my very dear friend Kat (from Eco Empire), her fusband and her mischievous little 4-month Fox. We were able to roam the streets and I even managed to get a roadside tutorial from her about Cloth Nappies – yep, I had never seen (let alone changed) a real life nappy before! I am about to get a baptism of fire. All in all it was a fabulous day. If you haven’t gotten down there before I sincerely recommend you block out some time for next year. It is a wonderful event that really renews your passion and hope in community togetherness.

Me and Kat

A very cute fam!

Oh… neck tickles are just the best!

With my lovebug.

Oh and word to the wise… do not leave anything unattended or you run the risk of … YARN BOMBING.

Perth Green Events – June 2012

I really do get so excited when I see Perth continually bringing awesome eco events to it’s stage. There seem to be so many fantastic community-driven activities to get involved in nowadays that it really gives you hope that the green change is coming. So I thought I would combine them all onto the one post for convenience. If you know of any that I have missed please either email me on oliveonblonde@gmail.com or leave a comment below. And if you attend any events I’d love to hear your feedback too! Get inspired…

1st June – Movie Night screening ‘Growing Change’

When – Friday, 1st June: Arrive and get seated at 7pm, movie commences at 7:30pm

Where – Naregebup Environmental Centre. 49 Safety Bay Road, (Opposite Lake Richmond), Rockingham

Bring – A plate of food to share, a snuggle rug and dress for winter.

Cost – Gold coin donation.

Go check out this inspiring documentary about Venezuela’s Food Revolution. Venezuela is conducting one of the most exciting experiments in the world: to grow a fair and sustainable food system. Throughout the documentary you will journey with the filmmaker through fishing villages, cocoa plantations and urban gardens all the while examining this growing social movement – a movement that is proving that communities can triumph over corporations.

If you would like more information about the event contact 08 9591 3077.

 

5th June – Eco Design and Renovation Workshop

When – Tuesday, 5thJune.  7pm – 8:30pm

Where – Flinders Park Community Hall, Hillarys (See the map here)

Cost – Free.

Josh Byrne: Picture courtesy of ABC Gardening Australia

A great event to learn about retrofitting, renovations and renewable energy. As part of the Think Green Energy Workshops series ABC TV Gardening Australia Presenter, Josh Byrne, will demonstrate how you can use passive solar design to keep your existing home, renovation or new building project comfortable all year round.

Bookings are essential. Register via email at info@joondalup.wa.gov.au or call 9400 4527.

8th June – Photographic Exhibition and Fundraiser for the animals of Bali: ‘Look Twice’

When – Friday, 8th June. 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Where – Tompkins Park Function Centre. Cnr of Dunkley Avenue and Canning Highway, Alfred Cove. (See the map here)

Cost – Free entry. Pay as you go bar facilities.

An excerpt from the event Facebook page says “The ‘Look Twice’ exhibition showcases the animals of Bali as never seen before. These uplifting and poignantly beautiful images reveal their strength and spirit, and are a testament to the valuable work undertaken to save their lives. You will fall in love with every one”.

Last year I blogged about my visit to BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association); the animals, people and philosophy of this tireless organisation stole my heart. 100% of the profits goes to BAWA which is funded entirely by individual donations, fundraisers and volunteers. The artworks are for sale and there will also a fabulous silent auction donated by generous local businesses.

The animals of Bali are extremely vulnerable and their suffering can be huge. If you want to learn more, I wrote about what the dogs alone are up against in their daily fight for survival. It was devastating to see but SO inspiring to see what the people over there are doing to support the animals! If you choose one event to support this month, please let it be this one.

(Here is the link to the BAW Facebook page.  They give frequent updates on the characters that are rescued and inspiring acts of kindness from people touched by the animals plight. Everyone loves a happy story).

Ceewee – a Bali dog that I met at the BAWA head office.

14th – 16th June – Human Rights Arts and Film Festival

When – Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th June. Varied – see timetable.

Where – Luna Cinema Paradiso. 164 James Street, Northbridge WA

Cost – Tickets range in price – approx. $16

When you combine a whole lot of award-winning films/documentaries with a worthy cause you can’t really lose? The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is being run across Australia this month and is coming to Perth as well. See the Perth section of the website here for detailed timetables and to purchase tickets as well.

My not-to-be-missed choices are The Island President and Buffalo Girls:

The Island President: documents the President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, as he campaigns for the world to recognise that his nation (consisting of almost 2000 islands) is facing extinction at the hands of climate change. The backdrop of the film is the United Nation’s 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen where Nasheed is very much a small fish in a big pond. This documentary drives home the point that our actions are affecting the entire world, including some of our most vulnerable people. This multi-award winning film (including Toronto International Film Festival 2011) is paced by a breath-taking Radiohead score, just in case you needed more convincing to see it!

Buffalo Girls: reveals a growing issue in developing countries that I had no idea even existed!  In Thailand it is currently estimated that up to 30,000 children are involved in underground child-boxing tournaments to win money to support their poverty-stricken families. Following two eight-year old girls (Stam and Pet) film director Todd Kellstein wrestles with an increasingly common question that plagues human rights campaigners for developing nations – is this pathway exploitative or empowering?

15th June – Movie Night Screening of ‘Bag It’

When – Friday, 15th June. 6:30pm (if you want dinner) – 9pm

Where – Replants. 96 Wray Avenue (Near cnr of Wray Ave and Hampton Road – the west side)

Bring – Food, drink, chairs, blankets, pillows – anything that will take you to comfy town!

Cost – $5 for entry. $10 vego meal available.

This is a documentary about an ordinary guy who looked around one day and realised – ‘Wow. I have a lot of plastic in my life’. So he set himself a simple goal – to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. This simple goal turned into an inspiring documentary that proves that you don’t need to be a scientist, politician or lawyer to use a little bit of knowledge to make a whole lot of difference. Take a look around. Is your life too plastic? Do you want to make a change? Get inspired! 

16th June – Plastic Free July Workshop

When – Saturday, 16th June. 1pm – 3:30pm

Where – Perth City Farm. 1 City Farm Place, Perth

Cost –  Free – as long as you are registered for Plastic Free July (click here if you aren’t)

It is about time that you start getting yourself excited and prepared for Plastic Free July. A group of Perth’s Metropolitan Regional Councils (Eastern, Western and Central) have banded together with the Earth Carers to host this informative session to get you ready for you month free of polymer! There will be plastic free demonstrations, hands on activities and tips and tricks from those in the know. It is being held at Perth City Farm to which is an experience to visit in itself!

The event is open to anyone registered for Plastic Free July (and you are welcome to bring a friend) but RSVP’s are essential. Either call Amy or Rebecca on 9384 4003 or email Earth Carers – earthcarers@wmrc.wa.gov.au

There is also a Facebook page for the event (here) and Plastic Free July (here)!

17th June – Children’s Forest Planting Day

 When – Sunday, 16th June. 10am – 1pm

Where – Whiteman Park. Park Entrance off Lord Street, Perth (map here)

Cost – Free.

What a great way to get your kids interested in conservation and nature. Men of the Trees are hosting the annual Children’s Forest Planting Day where you can bring your family to this absolutely gorgeous community forest for a bite to eat, free entertainment and to help by planting native seedlings in the twelfth stage of the forest! If anything is going to get kids passionate about the environment it’s mud and this is a great interactive way where they can get their hands dirty and have some fun.

For more information either call 9250 1888 or see this link.

21st June – Movie Night Screening of ‘Bag It’

When – Thursday, 21st June. 6:45pm – 8:15pm

Where – Presbyterian Ladies College. 14 McNeil Street, Peppermint Grove

This is a documentary about an ordinary guy who looked around one day and realised – ‘Wow. I have a lot of plastic in my life’. So he set himself a simple goal – to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. This simple goal turned into an inspiring documentary that proves that you don’t need to be a scientist, politician or lawyer to use a little bit of knowledge to make a whole lot of difference. Take a look around. Is your life too plastic? Do you want to make a change? Get inspired!

30th June – Wholefood Cooking with Jude Blereau (Plastic Free July)

When – Saturday, 30th June. 1pm – 3pm

Where – The Grove Community Centre. 1 Leake St Peppermint Grove

Cost – Free – as long as you are registered for Plastic Free July (if not click here)

This is your last chance to get informed before your month of being Plastic Free starts! But if you are feeling a little worried then come and meet renowned Perth Wholefood Chef Jude Blereau (see her inspiring blog here) who will teach you how to shop, prepare and cook food with NO disposable plastic packaging. Learn and be surprised.

RSVP’s are essential – email on rsvp@wrmc.wa.gov.au or call on 9384 4003

There is also a Facebook page for the event here.

You may have also seen Jude’s book around…

 

Plastic Free July – Take the Challenge!

Plastic is literally taking over the planet. Wherever you are right now stop and have a look around. How much plastic can you see near you? Then take into account the plastic that you can’t see – plastic in cosmetics, clothing material and in your chewing gum (yep, it is made of plastic!). Then there is landfill. Now go further – think about our oceans. We have basically created a thin soup of plastic that touches every corner of the globe. It doesn’t have to be this way though – it is easy enough to change habits and shift demand towards better, kinder alternatives. As always it starts with the individual – so here is an encouraging kick-in-the-butt to get started! One of my favourite Perth organisations Western Earth Carers have started Plastic Free July; a challenge that anyone can partake in to try and reduce their dependency on plastic.

Why Give Up Plastic?

What resonates most to me when I think about why we should all try to eliminate plastic from our lives is this; we are using a material that is designed to last forever to create items that are designed to be thrown away. That just doesn’t make sense. Think about the lifespan of a lollipop wrapper for example, the plastic is made using precious oils and gases (both non-renewable resources) it is ripped off without a thought and is thrown away. But where is ‘away’? Away is landfill or our waterways where it then kills animals, pollutes the ecosystem and eventually breaks down into microscopic particles that are ingested into the food chain (which ends with us).

And, more directly, there are also all the links between plastics and serious disease such as obesity, diabetes and cancer. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical that is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics. Our use of BPA is so prolific that a study detected it in the urine of 93% of the population over 6 years of age. The convenience and ‘economical’ nature of this material is literally killing us (and the planet) and the real tragedy is that it is completely unnecessary. There are so many opportunities to recycle, reuse and – best yet – reduce by using biodegradable alternatives. But while we continue to accept the status quo, nobody is going to change anything.

(If you want to learn more about plastic pollution then check out this quick and bloody interesting You Tube video featuring Charles Moore – the man that discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch back in 1997).

The Challenge

Here are the rules;

  • For the entire month of July attempt to buy no plastic packaging.
  • Choose your commitment level – either 1 shopping trip, 1 day, 1 week or 1 month.
  • Create a ‘Dilemma Bag’. This will be your sin bin, used to collect any plastics that you accidentally accumulate or couldn’t avoid. At the end of the challenge Earth Carers have requested that everyone sends in a picture of your dilemma bag.

I will be committing to the entire month and I really hope that if you decide to give it a go that you push yourselves! It is not a competition, it is a challenge. If you accidentally consume plastic that is okay – just stick  it in that bag.

When I first found out that I was pregnant I was at a loss at how on earth I was going to get through nine months without my customary Saturday night champagne (not to mention my equally important Sunday through to Friday red wines?) but now that I am used to it, it is actually really easy. I am confident it will be the same with this challenge. Who knows… it might stick?

Take the leap!

Come on… Be brave! Make a concerted effort to do what is best for the planet and your health and register with tfor the challenge here. They also have a Facebook page with all sorts of updates and encouragement.

But don’t stop there – get your family involved, put some information on the fridge in your workplace, form a pact with your partner. The more people that are involved the pool of creative minds to bounce idea’s and tips off.

I wanted to include this gorgeous TedX by Beth Terry who founded My Plastic Free Life (a fabulous resource). In it she explains the moment that made her stop and change direction, her experience so far and her tips and tricks on reducing her plastic consumption. She is so inspirational because she is so normal. Absolutely gorgeous.

Start Planning

This is not the sort of thing that you can just jump into without at least a little bit of preparation. I am going to make sure that I provide plenty of resources and recipes to help you out.  Stay tuned for my next post which will contain instruction on exactly how to prepare yourself and your household for the challenge. In the meantime here is an old post with tips and tricks on reducing consumption or you could take a deeper look at the effects of plastic to really get you motivated.

If you are in Perth the Western Earth Carers also have a whole heap of events to provide inspiration and information like an introductory workshop before the challenge starts,  a screening of Bag It, a wholefood cooking class with Jude Blereau and a finale party to celebrate your efforts!

For Em’s follow up post 5 Steps To Being Plastic Free click here

Beauty and the Bike – Free Outdoor Movie

It has been a hard few financial years and the effects are being felt all around the world which includes the most isolated city of them all, little old Perth. Luckily there are fantastic organisation like Western Earth Carers around who are providing amazing opportunities for free, sustainable fun with a message behind it all as well.

On Wednesday 18th January 2012 there will be a free outdoor screening of the insightful documentary Beauty and the Bike. From 6:30pm you are invited down to the lawn outside the WMRC Offices (to see a map click here) to set up your picnic rug and have some nibbles with family and friends before the movie commences at 7:30pm.

Image from documentary, Beauty and the Bike

The documentary follows two groups of young women for a year – one group from Darlington (England) and another from Bremen (Germany). In Darlington it is extremely rare to see young girls on bikes yet in Bremen it is the primary mode of transport for the local teenagers. Why? Well the two groups decide they are going to find out why. They visit each area to look into the habits and attitudes that lead one group to shun the lifestyle and another to embrace it. I am sure that the conclusions they come to will be poignant and reflect some very common ‘modern’ attitudes towards sustainability and technology (and whether they can go hand in hand).

Government transport policy is clear, coherent and powerful… The bicycle is heading the way of the horse and cart

– John Adams, Emeritus Professor of Geography, 1993

Below is a short from the gorgeous 55 minute documentary;

This documentary is loaded with so many awesome messages, questions and ideas. Not only does it involve teenagers in the debate about alternative sustainable modes of transport but it also encourages everyone to look into their own lives, question how eco-friendly they really are and then look at  what changes they could make to move to greener pastures.

All in all I am really looking forward to this great evening and will make sure to upload some photos of the evening. I might even ride my bike down…

My darling bike (Penelope Cruise)

The Quick Details

When:                    Wednesday 18th January, 2012

6:30pm – 7:30pm; Picnic               7:30pm – 9pm; Screening

Where:                   The lawn outside the WMRC Offices (to see a map click here)

What to bring:   Picnic rug or chair, picnic, friends and family

Cost:                         FREE