Life away from CERES Education has been an adventure to say the least. The second half of 2013 has been life changing. I have a new type of busy lifestyle called motherhood. As write I have have two darling little twins staring at me ready for morning playtime wanting me to put the computer down and commence cuddles.
So what does an environmental educator do when they are on leave with twin babies? Well….. as well as going through the steepest learning curve of my life. I am also striving to maintain a sustainable lifestyle in a disposable wasteful world! A teacher asked me recently if I was going to the climate rally and I felt guilty for saying no. It made me reflect on my personal sustainable actions during my leave and realise creating a sustainable family is a more than a full time job.
Some of my sustainable actions (in no particular order) since I have been on maternity leave have been :
1. Sustainable Transport – I needed a new family car that fits two baby car seats and has a low fuel mileage so I invested in a second hand Prius and also I walk or ride most places I need to go. Life has become more localised! My next milestone is to go on the tram with a double seated pram.
2. Zero Food Waste to Landfill – I strive to compost all food scraps in our small backyard. Soon we hope to get chickens to create an even better composting system. Also I make my own catfood. I freeze vegetable scraps suitable for kangaroo stew, e.g. carrot, beetroot potato, pumpkin peelings/cuttings, spinach, brocolli & silverbeet stalks, celery leaves and more! I cook them up with kangaroo mince and rice. I pack them in the freezer in reused takeway containers which can last me 2-3 weeks depending on the quantity.
3. Zero Nappy Waste to Landfill – One baby can create enough to fill a household landfill bin a week. So even if I didn’t care about reducing waste with twins there would be a problem that I would have to deal with. I use modern cloth nappies, compostable nappies (industrially composted) and reusable (washable) and compostable wipes.
4. Switch to Green Power – I moved house while I was pregnant and as soon as I could I switched to 100% Green Electricity and Gas. How can gas be green you ask? Greenhouse gases are offset by some energy providers at an extra cost.
5. Conserve Energy – I was happy to find on my bill and online calculators that we are a low energy use household. We have energy efficient lighting, nearly all drafts have been fixed and we strive to switch off all standby and unnecessary power.
6. Buy secondhand goods and accept donations – The world of baby goods is so disposable. Things are promoted to entice worried, sleep deprived parents. In reality babies don’t need that much stuff! Most items we have have been donated by other parents, bought online secondhand or from op shops.
7. Buy Organic, Local and Ethical – Most of the food we get is either organic, free range, ethical, non toxic and locally sourced. I have always shopped at CERES and other local organic providers.
8. Planting Veges for Spring and Summer – My garden was neglected while pregnant and recently we weeded the jungle and planted heirloom tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, cucumber, greens and a twin citrus tree with grafted lemon and lime in celebration of the twins.
On reflection I think as a family we are being sustainable in so many ways. There is always room for improvement and as I wrote this I thought about ways I could improve my own practices. Like so many of the schools that I have worked with, the ones that really shine in sustainability don’t stop once they have implemented sustainable actions, they constantly re-invent and improve their approach to reducing their impact.
Regards from the world of raising eco-babies!!
Lorna Pettifer x