They will not be moved: Save Beeliar Wetlands

CampaignerKate

Every evening, when I think it is bedtime, I am waylaid by the Facebook stories which pop up from Western Australia.  There it is early morning and the campaigners against the Roe 8 highway are gearing themselves for yet another day’s fight against the assault on their treasured Beeliar Wetlands.

15977302_10154639477444193_6096823195222870024_n Beeliar Wetlands. Photo: Jess Hall

I wrote earlier about the court cases against the Roe 8 highway near Fremantle.  On 9 January the intrepid Save Beeliar Wetlands (SBW) lost its appeal in the federal court into the environmental offsets which must be provided to mitigate the loss of the Carnaby Cockatoo’s habitat.  The court claimed it had no power to compel the state government to comply with national environmental conditions.  This seems incomprehensible and incredibly feeble.

Kate Kelly, convenor of SBW, gave a robust retort: ‘It appears that there is nobody who can hold the government to account for meeting its own conditions, other…

View original post 172 more words

On happiness, women and cleaning

I’m reading an eye-opening article. I’ve always wondered how it’s possible for my husband to “relax” in the middle of a filthy, cluttered room when there’s pets to feed, rooms to clean, stuff to tidy, weeds to pull, errands to run and a house to maintain.

While he ‘relaxes’ in front of his computer or the TV, I rush about trying my best to finish everything so I can ‘find time’ to relax with him.

Women have long been oppressed by the deep-seated cultural expectation that our leisure can only begin once our domestic obligations have been met.

Have I succeeded in escaping the consumer and corporate rat race only to fall into a Konmari trap?

 

There was a severe weather warning yesterday. The day was dark, cold, wet and rainy. I woke several times this morning only to fall back asleep because it was too cold to get out from under the doona.

When I eventually emerged at 11am, still exhausted from the last few days of rushing through work and chores, I found the sun had come out and was drying the garden and warming my  dog’s fur. Today’s a lovely day.

I could spend my Sunday relaxing with my Sophie dog, taking her for a long, leisurely stroll and hanging out with her in the garden. Or I could feel guilty for sleeping in, turn on the laptop to get some work done while I have coffee, hoping the coffee will give me just enough energy to fill the wall unit back up after I’d moved it and decluttered it a bit.

Guess which option I naturally fell into?

Ruth Whippman, the article’s author, clearly shares this domestic guilt. Is this an internal struggle all women have? Can you relate?

I harbour a constant fantasy that one day I will have a perfectly clean home. I feel guilty sitting down when there is wiping to be done and I am constantly telling my kids to “wait a second” while I just pick up or dispose of or fold One More Thing.  After buying Kondo’s book, I squandered entire minutes of my one and only life staring at a bottle of dishwasher liquid pondering whether or not it “sparked joy”.

Clean Tidy house home happiness domestic cleaning organised
The thing is, cleaning never ends

A little inspiration… from a hamster and a fish

I just love local Perth artist Little Sketchy - meet Hammy the Hamster.
I just love local Perth artist Little Sketchy – meet Hammy the Hamster.

Seeing Hammy on his little boat reminded me of a saying that has always inspired me.  I’ve seen many version of this quote and its been attributed to many people, including the Dalai Lama. No matter who said it first and how, it’s just as inspirational.

“Many drops an ocean make”

As much as you might like to, you don’t have to change the world. You don’t have to fix the problem. All you have to do is something. Just a small change. Just be one voice. You are never alone, and with enough voices and people making small changes just like you, we can change the world together. And if not.. well… at least you made a ripple.

Have you seen Finding Nemo? I’m amazed at just how inspirational that movie is. Particularly this scene:

Nemo was just a drop in the ocean, just one fish. But when he rallied others to swim with her, she became an ocean. All the little fish together became as powerful as a shark.

I often find myself muttering a sing-song “Just keep swimming.. Just keep swimming…” That’s really all you need to do. Just make one small step at a time. Try and convince others to make one small step at a time too. Small actions can achieve great things.

There’s quite a lot out there saying that long-term change is best achieved through setting small goals, or through building small habits. Once that new habit becomes second nature, you can add one more little habit to it – it’s called habit stacking. And that’s how you get your ripple.

I’m on a mission to simplify my life and to save the environment (including living a zero-waste life). That’s a pretty big ocean. Here are some my drops; here’s how I keep swimming:

  • Swap a disposable item for a reusable one, one thing at a time – buy a reusable bag, a reusable coffee cup, a reusable water bottle.
  • Say no to buying that item you’re looking; you don’t need it.
  • Choose one thing to declutter.
  • Put away one thing where it belongs.
  • Tidy/organise one space.
  • Ask for one drink to be served without the straw
  • Choose one item from your to do list and do it or ditch it.
  • Fix one thing (and be glad you don’t have to buy a replacement)
  • Remember your reusable bag on this shopping trip.
  • Put the plastic-packaged item you’re holding back on the store shelf and reach for another product with cardboard/glass/recycled packaging instead.
  • Learn to make one thing from scratch.
  • Have one conversation about reducing waste

 

What are your drops in the ocean? Are you taking small steps towards anything big? Have you ever made a ripple? I’d love to hear your stories!

 

 

 

 

 

How I accidentally became a zero waste minimalist

The ideal situation is not to consume.
“That’s the fundamental answer, don’t buy this stuff to begin with. But if you chose to buy, as many do, the best thing is to buy things that you can reuse.”

This article is a great synopsis of my zero waste inspiration.

I first became aware of the problems of consumption and waste when I did a Living Smart course. Of the 8-week course what really cemented itself in my mind was the short video we watched on the first day – The Story of Stuff. I really do think those 20 minutes marked a big change in my life, or at least the way I thought about it.

My great awakening was in 2012 when I discovered Plastic Free July. My supermarket visits changed completely. All of a sudden I saw myself in a sea of plastic, surrounded by ‘trapped’ and inaccessible food. I was overjoyed when, a couple of years later, I found a growers market that sold LOOSE cherry tomatoes!

I immersed myself in inspiring blogs like Treading My Own Path and The Rogue Ginger and started talking with friends about how they avoid waste.

After Plastic Free July came Buy Nothing New Month (October), but I was unprepared and shopped up a storm. At the start of 2013 I was pondering my new year’s resolutions when the guilt of having shopped through October came back to haunt me. I decided to embark on a delayed Buy Nothing New Month. But I’m the kind of person who tends to get carried away with new projects, and soon it became ‘Buy Nothing New Year‘, from February to February.

Buy Nothing New Year was surprisingly easy, but probably because I allowed myself the exception of buying new things for my wedding that year. And when I visited Brisbane, Queensland and found an amazing dress – the last one, and just my size! – I instantly created a new exception: the postcode rule. So with wedding and travel purchases allowed, I made it through Buy Nothing New Year with a changed attitude toward consumption and a new addiction to buying secondhand.

In late 2013 I made my first career change and got a job in waste management. Now, getting people to waste less and recycle more is my full-time job. Ironically, the demands of the job all-too-often push me to sacrifice my values for convenience, especially when it comes to plastic-wrapped, palm-oil laden frozen pizza… but some change is better than no change, right? As I learn to reduce my consumption and waste I also learn to forgive my transgressions.

Now, I’m most of the way through Buy Nothing (at all) Year. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the inspirational Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home at a conference. I’m proud to consider myself a loyal shopper at the Wasteless Pantry in the hills of Perth, Western Australia. I never leave home without a reusable shopping bag, fruit and veg bags, a travel cutlery kit, a bamboo straw, a reusable water bottle and usually a reusable coffee cup too (which sometimes doubles as a doggy bag!). I’ve discovered minimalism. I question every purchase and usually decide to go without or borrow instead. I’m on a massive decluttering spree. And I’m considering my options for how I may work less so I might waste less (bye bye frozen pizza!) and live a life closer aligned with my values.

I’m on a journey. It’s such a cliche, but it really is a journey. It takes time to find new inspiration, switch to different products, change your habits and learn new ways of thinking and doing things.

I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever reach the end of this journey. Probably not… but that doesn’t matter, because I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I’m excited about how far I still have to go.12795299_10154264709819384_5244616622338831609_nPS:
That dress I bought in Brisbane during Buy Nothing New Year survived my massive wardrobe declutter and proudly hangs in my minimalist wardrobe with a dozen other dresses. I love it. 

 

 

 

 

Why I Stopped Thrifting

So much yes! Emily Torres perfectly expresses my thoughts on op shopping (Australian for thrift shopping).

These realisations are exactly what pushed me from a Buy Nothing New challenge in 2012 to my current Buy Nothing Year.

Restricting my purchases to secondhand ones just shifted my mindless, excessive shopping from the usual shops to secondhand shops, ebay and online classifieds. I still binge shopped.

Now that I’m on a decluttering spree, guess what? Most of the stuff I mindlessly bought at op shops is going back to where it came from.

I sometimes wonder if I’m purging myself of an item for the same reason its previous owner did, and how many owners came before that. How many people have followed the same path of minimalist enlightenment by ridding themselves of pants with scratchy waistbands or chipped teapots?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you fall into the same trap of secondhand shopping?

Minimal Millennial

Four our five years ago, while I was still in college, you could usually find me at Goodwill on the weekends. You could usually find me shopping the sale racks at super-cheap mall stores too.

It wasn’t that I was donating things or using the one-in/one-out strategy that keeps so many closets in check. In fact, I think it was my frequent thrifting that took my two closets from stuffed to overstuffed.

I still love thrift shops

Before I talk about the reasons why I no longer thrift, I need to clarify: I love buying secondhand. I think thrift stores are an amazing way to get things you need without contributing directly to the worlds of fast fashion and fast everything.

What I don’t love is thrifting for the sake of thrifting – it became a mindless habit for me and I didn’t really need the things I usually brought home…

View original post 479 more words

This guy has only 111 possessions!

Rob Greenfield is living a nomadic, environmentally friendly life free of material bonds.

My-111-Possessions-1024x649

See  what he includes in his 111 Possessions.

I do wish he were clothed in all his photos… they will haunt me for days now… but it sure is interesting seeing what he can’t live without.

More importantly, it makes you think what he can live without and what I could and couldn’t live without.

It’s funny. I often think men have an unfair advantage when it comes to minimalism. Have you ever noticed that all the famous minimalists are men?

How many more items would a woman carry? Bras, hairbrush, makeup, sanitary items, pills, clothes and shoes for special occasions…

I guess many of the material possessions women have aren’t really necessities, but feel like they are because of society’s expectations of women to be pretty and feminine. Could we ever do without these items without being called a lesbian or butch? Could we still be successful socially and professionally? Or would we be judged?

Just a thought. What are yours?

 

Can you give up these 7 things for lent?

You don’t need any of them.

You won’t even notice they’re gone.

Once you give them up, you’ll wonder why you ever used them in the first place.

I’m proud to say I have given up 6 of 7 of these items for good! How many have you given up? Which ones could you give up?

This post by Zero Waste Guy has inspired me to give up the 7th item for good. I have been trying, but it’s a habit I’m still learning: STRAWS.

I will remember to ask for ‘no straw’ with my drink orders for lent. I’ll pop a stainless steel straw and my bamboo straw in my handbag so I never have to worry about one being in the dishwasher. And I’ll track my new habit with a daily ‘to do’ to “avoid straws”.

It takes 21 days to form a new habit. There are 38 days of lent remaining. I can do this.

4x-Stainless-Steel-Metal-font-b-Reusable-b-font-Cocktail-Drinking-font-b-Straws-b-fontbambu_bamboo_straws_056570_1024x1024classic-glass-straw-styles3

 

I’d love to hear from you! – What are you giving up for lent?

x Ania