Friday, September 11, 2015

Sustainable September 2015 - Day Twelve

Good day fellow Sustainable September-ers (that is totally a word),

So how did your walk to work go? Did you get wet? Did you share an umbrella with someone? Did the sun shine?

I hope you took the time out to have a beautiful walk even if it wasn't to work or school.

The below pictures were of a walk I took through the State Botanic Gardens and park lands. Kings park is bigger than Central Park NYC. It is beautiful.

Getting back to nature is a wonderful reminder of what we do Sustainable September for.

The Spring Festival at Kings Park, Perth, WA, opened this month with this awesome tree. Its called "The Queens Tree" because Queen Elizabeth planted it on her trip a few decades ago. For the Festival her tree was dressed up just like her. :)
The Reflection pond and Flame of Remembrance at Kingspark.

The View of Perth City from Kings Park.

Such a beautiful Spring display of Native Australian Flowers

The state emblem of the Western Australian Kangaroo Paw on the path from the car park to the views.

The rare Black Kangaroo Paw

Our environment has such a powerful impact on us. How we treat it, has a greater impact on us all.

At the beginning of Sustainable September I shared that i would be reading the book by Bea Johnson called "Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste". So far I haven't finished it, but I have learned a lot already. The first chapter is called "The 5 R's and the Benefits of the Zero Waste Lifestyle".  This chapter has been an eye opener for me. Often we see the 3 R's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, however Bea Johnson adds another two things to that list.

Diagram: Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste (Page 15).
I thought that one thing that we forget to mention is to refuse certain items in our attempts to be environmentally friendly. Think about all those times you have been handed pamphlets on the street or a free voucher to some place you know you will never go. Think about when you stay in a hotel and you get those little Shampoos and Conditioners. Do you really need it? Or will the papers and the little plastic bottles, just end up in land fill? 

I had my first trial by fire with this when I was in Sydney. I had managed to forget to bring my Shampoo, so ended up using one of the, several, little bottles that were available to me at the hotel I was staying at. I used what I had to. The hardest part was leaving the rest of them behind. I really didn't need them. In fact they would have been more trouble than they are worth. Not to mention the environmental cost of more plastic in land fill.

So today's Sustainable September idea is based on this premise...
September 12: Refuse any thing that you do not need. e.g.. Pamphlets, show bags filled with stuff you won't use, little bottles of shampoo or conditioner, business cards, pens, plastic bags, cups, double bagged items, extra receipts (unless needed for tax purposes for course), etc. 

This is about stopping "needless waste". Often the pamphlets are on shiny paper that some councils do not accept as recycling. So best to avoid them completely.

I know for some people they collect pamphlets for Kindergarten classes or art classes. At least there is one type of use for these things. Or its does seem like a sad waste. 

Bea Johnson beautifully points out that 'refusing', often unconsciously, "condones and reinforces wasteful practices". She writes "Every bit we accept, or take, creates a demand to make more... When we let waiters fill our glass with water that we wont be drinking and a straw that we wont use, we are saying: "Water is not important" and "Please make more disposable Straws". When we take a "free" shampoo bottle from a hotel room, more oil will be rigged to make a replacement. When we passively accept an advertising flyer, a tree is cut down somewhere to make more flyers, and our time is unwisely spent dealing with and recycling something trivial" (Pg. 16).

This really had me thinking. I mean I know there are plenty of times I have taken pamphlets I don't need. Or show bags filled with crap I don't want to look at. It all ends up in my bin. So I love the idea to refuse, so that we are conscious of what we are receiving in our lives. And we can then be conscious of helping the environment. 

As always remember to be kind in all your interactions.

"Nobody wants to go against the grain or be rude when some thing is offered with no ill will. But a little practice and short justifications make it easy for us to decline the politest entreaties. All you have to say is "I am sorry, but I don't have a trash can," "I am sorry, but I have gone paperless," "I am sorry, but I am trying to simplify my life," or "I am sorry, but we have too much at home already." People usually understand or respect a personal choice and will not insist. In some cases, we  found that pro-activity - such as taking ourselves off mailing lists before junk mail is sent out - works best" (Pg. 18).

When I first wanted to focus on this Sustainable September I didn't expect people to radically change anything in their lives, to the point of being 100% waste free. I am not brave enough to try that myself... YET! Like me all I hope for is small changes. Small changes that can make a huge difference. I love the little ideas that cause you to be conscious of how your actions affect the environment. If that means refusing some stuff you don't want or need... awesome! I also didn't realise the saying 'no' could be so good for the environment.

I hope you learnt something today like I did. 

Oh and...

KINDNESS IDEA FOR TODAY: Donate old magazines to school or kindergartens. Or if they are current, please, please, please donate them to a doctors clinic. It is a special thrill finding a magazine from this year in a doctors surgery. So any time you have a magazine, pass them on to good homes. 

Much love to you all, 
Love Daena x

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