Minimising waste and reading more books!

2018 has been a great year, filled with so many wonderful books sent for reviews and bought for home or our school library.

I don’t have the time right now to list all of my favourites and I don’t know if I can choose either!! But here are a few Recent ones:

Another great thing that has happened this year is our movement towards creating less waste in landfill this year.

We’ve kept on composting and worm farming,

Reducing our food waste by making banana peel cake

Making our own dishwashing detergent, dishwasher powder and other sprays around the house!

And trying to use less packaging where we can.

I’m hoping to share more tips and tricks for parents to create less landfill waste in their homes without stressing about being zero waste – which I am sure turns many people off as it is quite unattainable for many who work full or part time, live in the suburbs, have kids, care for others .

If you know anyone who would like to join me and learn from my mistakes and my successes then pass on my blog.

See you in 2019!

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Sydney Party supplies

Do you love balloons?

Check out these ones: 5ea99ad0c8837b0787ca4e81f5ef5660--animal-balloons-balloon-animals

Or perhaps this type:images-14

Or do you prefer these?images-15

Whichever ones you choose, you’ll know your party will be a hit.

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They are colourful, they can be made into different shapes and they can come in all different sizes.

But now we need to change our tune.

Balloons are made of plastic that takes thousands of years to break down and many of these balloons end up in the ocean and then in the stomachs of sea life – eventually killing them.

We can live without balloons – we just need to know that they are replaceable and the replacements are just as good.

What do you think we can use instead of balloons?

Thanks for the inspiration – Humane Education

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

 

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

Poppy and the Blooms by Fiona Woodcock.

Sometimes it’s the little people that make the biggest difference in our world.

In this colourful picture book we meet Poppy and her friends – Dandy, Bluebell and Buttercup.

They love playing outside but one day they realise that there is a park nearby that has lost it’s love, lost its colour and lost it’s joy.

And even though they are small and the park is big, they know that with a lot of teamwork and determination they can make a huge difference to the world they live in.

The pages are bursting with colour and the feeling of life, love and friendship all throughout the story. The story is filled with determination and one which will encourage any young listener to believe that they can make a difference.

Do you have a little changemaker?

Do you encourage your little changemaker to make a difference in the world they live in?

Children are willing to care for the world they live in and with a little bit of help in the right direction they will make a difference.

Take the time to make some positive changes in your world and do it alongside the smaller people in your life so that they grow up knowing that they can act and make a difference.

  • Let them pack their own lunchbox – plastic free!
  • Learn about where electricity comes from so they can turn off the lights.
  • Read the labels of soap bottles and wonder if we really should be putting it down the drain.
  • Look at the food you buy and where it comes from, what it is packaged in and the additives. Think about alternatives together.
  • Go to a local park and pick up rubbish, plant a tree or scatter some seeds.
  • Write to local politicians – show children that they have a voice too.  

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/

I can change the world

What can we do?

Worry we aren’t doing enough when all we do is perhaps compost or perhaps you buy your food in bulk?

Do you cook from scratch? Say no to plastic bags?

Or perhaps the best thing you are doing now is educating your children through books and discussions?

 

How can we make the world a better place to live in?

From so many different sources the message is very clear.

Every small sustainable difference we make, every small change we make, every small thing we show others – all makes a difference.

What are you doing to make a difference? How are you showing this?

How are you educating children? Would love to hear what you are doing or what you would like some help doing!

You can buy this great poster at The Global Guardian Project and try my discount for a further 10% off!

GGPVanessa

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.

Pegs for the future

After reading a great article by Gippsland unwrapped, I was inspired to make another change that can help the future of the planet – BUY SOME MORE PEGS!

Yes, buying more things is not ideal but in buying these pegs I will hopefully never have to:

Buy pegs again

Step on broken pegs

Watch my husband mow over plastic pegs that fly up into the sky

Buy into more plastic that isn’t going to last.

These pegs are an investment for hopefully a lifetime and I highly recommend that you look into getting these pegs too.

The price is one thing that you may be concerned about as they range from $18.95-$61.00 depending on the grade of steel.

But if you do the maths, they will work out a lot cheaper over time.

A bag plastic pegs at the supermarket can cost at least $3.00 and most would last half a year – possibly a year if you’re lucky. Once you buy these pegs you will never have to buy pegs again.

BUY: Stainless Steel Wire pegs HERE:
Give them a go – I love mine and make our family’s impact on the environment just a little bit lighter.

CLICK HERE: Search Stainless Steel Wire Pegs.

And sometimes you forget

Every day I try to be the most environmentally friendly person I can be and every day I hope that I am inspiring my children to also be friendly to the world they live in. 

But sometime life and convenience gets in the way.

Today, on the way home from a weekend away my husband wanted a coffee for the long drive ahead-and the keep cup was buried somewhere underneath our luggage. 

He could have done without but sometimes after sleepless nights with young children a coffee is a necessity! 

So rather than feeling Eco-guilty and beating myself up about it,  I can choose to recycle the lid and reuse the non-recyclable coffee cup. 

So here are some cups full of soil and seed! We know these cups are going to last a while so they can easily live in the garden and withstand heat, cold and water. 

Teach your children to care about the word they live in but don’t let them fear the world. Educate them so they are empowered to make the right decisions and if they have to take the option which isn’t ideal, teach them what they can do. 

We don’t want to burden our children with fear. We want to give them knowledge and tools to live an informed life. 

And remember -books are a great way to help with this education! Check out my list of books that link to sustainability. 

L

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!

Each indi

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! 


Buy Now Button

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? 

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay is a stunning wordless picture book which draws you into each image, searching for stories within stories.

A young boy lives in a lighthouse and spends his days beach combing – where he meets a young girl and together they play until a storm rolls in.

The boy retreats to his lighthouse home, to only find once awakening, that a giant octopus has emerged from the storm and is stranded on the beach – alive but tangled in old netting.

The boy and girl rescue the octopus along with other caring beach goers and release it back into the sea to all of the other sea creatures.

No words are needed for this story to make you feel warm with hope, blue with sadness and energised with joy. The illustrations allow your mind to wonder throughout the story and long after it has been read.

Take your time to read this story again and again – and draw fact from the back pages to learn more about the creatures of the ocean and how we can take better care of them.

So where to from here?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • The Ocean Clean up is an amazing company who are working on creating an eco friendly way to clean up the ocean by removing plastic bags that lie around in the ocean, harming wildlife and their habitat.
  • Investigate organisations which act to look after the ocean.
  • Should plastic bags be banned? Debate this – look at the pros and cons and work out why large companies are reluctant to ban them.
  • Visit the beach or a local waterway and see how much plastic you can find while you are there. Categorise the plastic – what is turning up the most? What state is the plastic in? How might these pieces of plastic be harming wildlife (links to numeracy: graphs and creating categories)

SCIENCE

  • Investigate ocean animals that live in the deeper parts of the ocean. What do they look like? How are their survival techniques different from animals who live on the upper levels of the ocean?
  • Have there been occasions where a deep sea creature really has appeared on the beach out of the blue?

LITERACY

  • Rewrite this story from the octopuses point of view or even the little girls point of view.

Coconut carrot cake

Time for a cuppa a slice of carrot cake!

carrotcake

 

4 eggs (from the backyard chooks)

1 cup shredded coconut

2/3 cup coconut oil

1 Tbs honey

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup grated carrot (about one big one)

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup finely chopped dates.

Bake for 20 mins!           At 180 degrees