Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reflections of 2010

It is hard to believe that we have had our family blog going for nearly a year now - our first post was after a hectic Christmas break in the 2009 - 2010 summer holidays - the catalyst for a more sustainable way of living.  Our goals for 2010 were simple and relatively undefined - we wanted to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.

As broad as our goals were I feel that we have made lots of small changes that are contributing to a more sustainable life for us.  Here are some of our highlights -


We have become more involved with our local community groups.  I completed a Permaculture Design Certificate last year which has resulted in the formation of a local permaculture group - Central West Permaculture and we are having fun participating in Permablitzes at various members places and are now starting to organise seminars and workshops for 2011.

We are regular participants in the community garden working bees at the ELF in Orange. Through our involvement in both of these groups we are meeting a wide range of people trying to achieve similar goals which has been inspiring.

The kids in particular really enjoyed the plastic weaving workshops we went to and are now getting ready to create things for the 2011 Waste to Art competition.


We are looking at our areas of consumption and trying to find ways to lesson the impacts. 

Firstly we reduced the amount of single use and plastic packaging that comes into our household and are looking for ways to reuse the waste that comes into our household - for example shredding old mail and personal papers for use as bedding material for our chooks.

Water use has been audited at our house.  We are also looking at ways to further reduce our consumption of town water and to manage water on our urban block.  Thanks to a local council water saving initiative we got water saving tap fittings and a shower installed early in 2010.

We have been trying to reduce power consumption and are looking for better ways to manage our power consumption. 

We have purchased more clothing from the local op shops and I am proud to say that since making a set of hankies for everyones use we have only purchased tissues for the boys to take into school for use in their classrooms. 

The kids love their rubbish free lunches and Dad takes lunch to work more often.  Dad also uses his Keep Cup for those work coffee refills.

We try to be more efficient with our cooking and have a sun oven (OK when the sun shines!) and a pressure cooker - both have been a worthwhile investment. 

I made a pledge to make my home office more green - using recycled paper, using less paper, lights changed to CFLs and switched off etc.


On the food front we preserved nearly all our fruit, jam and tomato sauce for 2010. 

We are buying a much higher percentage of local and organic foods, with less packaging. 

When buying coffee and chocolate we only get those that are endorsed by Fairtrade or the equivalent. 

We choose organic and non-homogenised milk, free range (and organic when available) chicken meat and shop at the monthly farmers markets.

Our olive oil comes from a ranges of producers that I know personally from the Orange and Parkes districts.


We have been building up the fruit and vegetable gardens in our back yard and have enjoyed a great harvest of a range of things from berries to cauliflowers to lettuce and greens.  The kids have become involved in the garden and I often spot them out in the yard "stealing" fresh goodies.


The introduction of TV and technology free Tuesdays and Thursdays to our house has been a great success.  I like that the kids tell Dad to turn the TV or computer off - it gives us more time for games, quiet time and homework.  We have also been trying to get the kids out and about more - whether it be down to the park on their scooters or out in the bush and among nature.

Of course we have achieved more that what I have highlighted here, but I still feel there is so much more to be done.  Over the next week or so we will be working out where we would like to go and what we would like to achieve for 2011.

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