For the wild – links to great books and actions.

Without oceans in pristine condition, life as we know it will not be one any more…

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A recent mapping exercise has outlined that only 13% of the world’s oceans are in true pristine condition.

This means that only 13% can sufficiently support wildlife in all it’s forms – free of stressors such as plastics, shipping, overfishing, chemical pollution, run off, human activity and many more ways we change the world.

We need to take action now and you can take action in some very easy steps.

For the wild ocean

And check out these books to start some great conversations about water and the wonders it holds – so we don’t lose it!

If shark’s disappeared

The Coral Kingdom

Zobi and the Zoox 

Ori’s clean up

Tilly’ reef adventure

 

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How do you wrap your sandwich

 

I’ve always been intrigued by the amount of people that tell me they can’t stop using cling wrap because they can’t afford to buy reusable containers.

So I decided to do a little research of my own and here you are – some reasons why you should ditch the cling wrap and plastic zip lock bags and move towards reusable containers, beeswax wraps and paper bags!

You can’t cite the cost when they are nearly all the same!!

How much is your sandwich wrap costing you?-3

Tilly’s Reef Adventure by Rhonda N. Garward

A turtle hatches from her egg and immediately her life is in danger – we know that has always been that way but how have humans made the dangers even more numerous?

Tilly’s Reef Adventure by Rhonda N. Garward is a wonderful book – both illustrations and story engage young children from start to finish and gives them so many different ideas for questions they can ask.

The main character in this story is Tilly, and she is a new turtle, born with an instinct to survive.

She escapes from crabs, birds and barracudas but it is the one thing that she wasn’t prepared for that nearly kills her – a plastic bag!

Luckily for her there are some caring humans around who help her out of the bag as they continue to pick up rubbish along the beach.

Continue reading

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina

Have you ever been out on a bushwalk, seen some rubbish but thought – it’s not mine, I’ll just leave it? Or have you ever left something behind because you didn’t want to carry it home?

Perhaps reading Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina will help you to consider the ramifications of those small bits of rubbish we leave behind and the effect they have on Australian bush animals.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up is a great story about a very friendly lizard called Benny Bungara. We meet him on a beautiful day, warming himself up under the sun – but  when he hears a strange sound he just has to find out what it is.

Thinking it might be a new bush creature he scrambles up a tree to see but once there he discovers it’s a friendly Olive Python with his head stuck in a bottle. Benny helps remove the bottle only to find other creatures who have been effected by rubbish humans have left behind – broken glass and fishing line.

The friends know they need to ask the humans for help but while they are waiting for the help they decide to start cleaning up the place themselves by reusing some items, recycling others and putting some in the bin.

A simple message comes across in this book and young readers will understand what they need to do.

Humans have a huge impact on the planet and we all need to be much more mindful of what we leave behind each and every day.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina teaches children in a fun way about how to never leave rubbish behind and always think about the best place to put it once we have finished with it.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Check out my (in very draft form) resource to help minimise the amount of waste you have in your house: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xnstqsthasuz2tu/How%20much%20plastic%20is%20in%20our%20pantry.docx?dl=0

Look at your bin at the end of the week and work out what could have been reused, refused, repurposed, composted or recycled!

Pack a waste free lunch box for a week and come up with different ideas that help you to leave less rubbish behind.

Explore images of animals around the world who have been effected by the rubbish humans have left behind.

Love this review? Join my facebook group where we delve deeper into these issues facing children, parents and teachers. 

JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHERE WE EXPLORE BIG ISSUES AND HOW TO BEST TALK ABOUT THEM WITH KIDS.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

Sustainability and parenting

Parenting isn’t easy and when you throw in trying to be more sustainable, things can get a little more complex – why?

Working full or part time can seem to leaves you time poor for things like baking your own bread, making your own moisturiser and riding or walking everywhere.

I have read several times on health and wellness bloggers who seem to make everything themselves that they have had burnt out. They have landed in a heap and have had to have a couple of weeks off – which makes me think, are we trying too hard to have it all when it can all be done in simple ways?

  • You don’t have to go to the markets every Saturday when you can get your fruit and vegetables delivered to your house or to a central location. This gives you your weekend back to do what you want to do. Try harvesthub.com.au

 

  • You can try to make your own skin cream but you can also buy your own from locally made, organic and fair-trade companies. Many of these companies have a small eco footprint due to the fact they produce in bulk – leaving less packaging behind. However, if you do want to make your own products aim for buying the ingredients in bulk to minimise extra waste. I’ve bought mine through Aussie soap supplies and The inspired Little Pot has some great ideas and products too.

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  • You can also make your own cleaning products – which I do on a regular basis and although the task is something I never want to do, it is something that can take me only ten minutes once the kids are asleep. I make my own dishwasher powder, washing liquid (washing machine), hand soap and different household cleaning sprays. I’ve chosen recipes that take minimal time and products that can be bought in bulk. Those ten minutes spent at home save me half an hour going to the shops for the same product!!

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  • Making food from scratch is fun – and should be something you should try to do instead of buying store bought, plastic wrapped snacks. And even better – buy your food in bulk from great places like The Source

 

Most important of all – by doing all of these things you are silently showing your children that we can all take small steps to make a difference. 

Lunchbox musings

As a parent I am swamped with what we should be giving our children for school lunches and also the importance of how they look.

Really? Do we really need to worry about how the food in our children’s lunch boxes look? Not only is this more pressure on parents to pack the perfect, fun looking lunchbox but it is also setting up our children to expect food to look certain ways. This could lead children down the path of only eating carrots if they are sticking out of an apples with sultanas for eyes…

So what should you be trying to put in your child’s lunchbox if it is not only going to be healthy but also better for the environment?

  1.  No single use plastic. You can use sandwich containers, beeswax wraps and smaller containers to pack food in.
  2. Think you need packaged food? Try making your own cupcakes, biscuits or muesli bars  as an afternoon activity. Children learn about measuring and different ingredients through this fun – albeit messy process.
  3. Less meat – try eggs, avocado, cheese twice a week instead of meat products.
  4. Aim for more fruit and vegetables cut into manageable pieces  – these leave a better impact on the environment and have no packaging!
  5. Fill up a drink bottle instead of packing poppers or bottled water. We don’t need more waste when we have access to fresh and clean drinking water. Worried about chlorine and fluoride? Check out these products.
  6. Ask your school to minimise the amount of waste created by students by removing bins, encouraging a waste free canteen and waste free events.

Happy eco birthday to you…..

Balloons, plastic wrapped lollies, party blowers, party hats…..memories of a childhood birthday party.

Waiting in anticipation for the day and counting out the lollies for each of the party bags.

But with all of this eco guilt how can we have a more eco friendly birthday party without skipping out of all of the fun?

Plastic free July has been a great challenge and although i have slipped up a couple of times, (post here) overall we are making progress in using less plastic in our house.

But in the middle of this plastic free challenge is a birthday party.

You can’t be a wowser at a birthday party.

Especially a kid’s birthday party!

Fruit just won’t cut it

So how have we managed to create less plastic for this year’s birthday party and not driven ourselves around the bend in the process?

 

  • We made our cake from scratch (no packet mix this year)
  • We are making our own lemonade (following this recipe here)
  • We are using brown paper bags for lolly bags.
  • We are giving our guests a packet of seeds instead of plastic toys. I’ve heard of people gathering books from second hand stores to give as gifts as well. 
  • Our cupcakes don’t have any wrapping as they were made in silicon cases.
  • We are making our own chocolates from chocolate bought at the whole food store.
  • We are making popcorn

 

What a wowser you say but Don’t worry, there are still lollies involved so there will be plastic – but just less of it. 

I also think our children adjust much better than we do as as long as there are friends, games and cake – the party will be a success.

Perhaps we need to refocus on how we celebrate parties so we can still party in the future.

 

How can you celebrate your next birthday with less plastic?

Goodbye to the plastic bag

Finally – Woolworths have woken up and possibly started to take lead in the war on waste – something they should have done a long time ago!

Need some books to inspire why we need to #banthebag?

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Here is the link to the article: Click here

If you haven’t been paying attention there have been numerous petitions going around about banning the bag under the hashtag #banthebag with thousands of signatures being added every day.

Woolworths and Coles have up to this point placed the use of the plastic bag back on the consumer – saying that they want to give consumers the choice – but many consumers will never change unless they are made to, convenience of the plastic bag is just too easy. It is great to see that Woolworths have now stepped up and said the single use plastic bag is on the way out and more durable plastic bags and the even better option of hessian will be on offer.

However – We need to make sure that we don’t fall into the trap of always buying the reusable plastic bag as they too have a shorter life expectancy. We need to remember to bring our reusable bags – preferably material that is long lasting (hessian is a great option) so that we are not always purchasing bags out of convenience and forgoing the extra 15 cents per bag.

BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR BIN LINERS? I hear you cry…

Here are a few options:

  •  Line your bin with newspaper or any strong scrap paper.
  •  Get yourself a compost bin, worm farm and/or chickens so you have little or no scraps in the bin.
  • Buy less products with plastic rubbish or recycle the plastic at redcycle points.
  • Nappies – make the switch to cloth nappies and washable wipes
  • Menstrual products – make the switch to a menstrual cup and washable pads!
  • Or check out biome for some great biodegradable bags.

 

It ain’t easy being green – plastic free July

Perhaps you have signed the pledge to be plastic free in July or have been inspired by hearing about the terrible amount of plastic in our oceans and landfill?

Perhaps you have started to think about how you will do without this single use plastic?

Perhaps the thought of being without single use plastic sends you into a flutter?

Or some things you just can’t do without?

You’re not alone!

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Our household has slowly consumed less plastic over the years but there are still moments when I feel quite a bit of eco guilt over bringing plastic home. Do you feel this?

This eco guilt can be overwhelming but I think we all need to start looking at the positives, look at where you are making changes – even if they are small, because of that small change you are leaving less plastic waste behind.

This week I tried to buy my meat from the butcher’s in a reusable container but due to Health and Safety regulations I couldn’t. I was very disappointed as not only was I nervous about asking, I was then not able to do what I thought was the best.

On reflection (once I got over the disappointment) I realised that these bags could be recycled (RED cycle program through Coles) Or can be washed with hot, soapy water and reused for smelly nappies or on the go rubbish.

So I guess what I am trying to say is – celebrate your wins. Celebrate what your family can do and what you can manage. Perhaps making your own bread is just too hard right now and even though there are single use bags, the butcher’s up the road is just too convenient while you have young kids or are getting home late from work.

Aim for some swaps and give yourself time. We can all do this, one bit at a time.

Try these easy swaps:

Plastic bags – reusable bags (leave them in the car!)

Grow your own herbs

Buy loose leaf tea

Buy a reusable cup that you can have take away hot drinks in.

Buy your meat and vegetables in bulk from Coops or delivery companies.

A bag and a bird by Pamela Allen

The plastic bag went too. John could see it caught on a bird high in the sky, flying and flapping behind like a scarf in the wind.

A warm sunny day, a long walk outside in the fresh air and a myriad of discoveries – a beautiful way to start the weekend but there is a lot more than just a walk from Kirribilli to the Royal botanic Gardens in store!

A mother and her son decide to make the most of a sunny day by packing lunch and taking off on a stroll by the harbour. They pack lunch in a plastic bag – possibly not realising the ramifications this item has on the environment in so many different ways. `

Exploring Sydney by foot is a wonderful way to see the different aspects of the city away from the cars and the busy-ness; and this book shows the reader how easy and how lovely the harbour and botanic gardens area is.

A bag and a bird by Pamela Allen not only explores the fun you can have on foot but also the importance of looking after everything that is on this planet – even those pesky birds that scramble after any crumb you might drop on the ground. (I’m sure you or someone you know has had a biscuit snatched right out of their hands by a hungry winged creature!)

As humans we have created so much damage so we can live comfortably, not considering how every little thing we do makes a huge impact on other people, animals and plants.

A bag and a bird is a lovely book to start a conversation about plastic bags and how important community spirit is to making a difference in the way we live. It is amazing how the actions of one person can change the minds of so many.

So what can you do at home?

  • Take your own bags to the supermarket and say no to using plastic. Every plastic bag will last for hundreds of years and will make a huge impact in the environment.
  • Take a walk around your local area – get outside and enjoy the sights! Draw a map of where you walked.
  • Learn about the different birds that inhabit your area. Why do they live here? Are they native or introduced?
  • Find out about different community groups that help others and are making commitments to the sustainable development goal

And – Keep reading. Keep enjoying those quiet and close moments when you can escape into another world and ponder about the world you live in too.

 Check out these great books from Biome!

Plastic Free July

 July is Plastic Free July and throughout this month we all need to try and make an effort to make our lives full of less plastic!

Why do we need to start using less plastic?

Plastic has been an amazing invention and has so many wonderful uses but the problem today is that we are overusing it in places where we don’t need to.

Do we really need plastic bags for our fruit and vegetables at the supermarket?

At the checkout?

Do we really need all that pre packaged food when we can make our own?

Does everything really need to be wrapped in plastic before we take it home? Especially when home isn’t that far away? 

The simple answer is no and although it may seem hard to make these changes, you can – slow and steady if that is what it takes.

But how? Try this module out – Only $2.99  – an inspiring start to getting rid of the plastic in your pantry! 


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You can also just start with some simple swaps.

Not sure how to empower or educate yourself or your child? The following books are excellent reads to help encourage the use of less plastic——- check them out:

Ada’s Violin – True story picture book – Paraguay’s recycled orchestra. Discussion: Why is there so much in landfill and how can we reduce this?

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay – Wordless picture book. Story of looking after the ocean. Why is there rubbish in the ocean? What can you change in your life so you make less of an impact on sea creatures? (what do you flush down the drain that is harmful?)

10 little rubber ducks – Based on the true story of a shipping container which broke in open sea and unloaded thousands of rubber ducks. Where might they be now? How is this an environmental disaster?

My Green Day – Simple tips on how you can have a greener day.

The Seagull – A seagull is tangled up in fishing wire and a young boy rescues him. Why is there discarded fishing wire on the beach and other rubbish entangled in it? How can we use less single use plastic?

The Lorax by Dr Seuss –  

This book looks at how greed can cause us to waste materials and cause damage to the earth. By thinking about what our plastic does after we use it we can start to see why we should use less.

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna

By using materials that can be composted – not thrown into landfill we are creating a better place and creating better soil for future food and plants!

The tomorrow book by Jackie French

With imagination, creative thinking, problem solving and open minds, tomorrow can be a wonderful day where we harness the sun’s energy, we repair things instead of throwing them away, we each have our own veggie patch and wind power is just another form of easy to use energy. This book looks at how children can make a difference in the world they live in – not just rely on the adults!!

Whatcha Building by Andrew Daddo

Have you ever thought about reusing something instead of throwing it away? This is a wonderful story to get your creative side into gear.

 

Let me know how you go – can you maintain your plastic free ways?