Tuesday, 25 October 2016

It all adds up

Being interested in sustainability, simple living and permaculture, we read a lot of blogs on those subjects. It's both inspiring and instructive to read about the different things that people do to in order to live more sustainably. There is so much helpful information out there.

We've made many sustainable changes to our home - including adding solar hot water, PVs for electricity generation, water tanks, switching to efficient wood heating (using waste wood) and creating an organic fruit and veggie garden. Alongside all of this, we've also been making continual small changes to how we live, and learning new skills along the way.  

When you're working towards living more sustainably I think that sometimes the smaller steps you've made towards that goal can be forgotten.  Probably because doing these things just becomes part of normal life.  However the other day I had a little reminder.  I was putting together a few homemade things as a gift for a friend. When I stopped and looked at what I'd gathered I realised that these items were the result of some of the smaller steps we have taken to live a more sustainable life.  

Here's what it contained:
  • Honey from our backyard hive. You can read about how we extract our honey here, here and here.
  • 100% cotton reusable knitted dishcloths (or face washers). I've been having fun making these using cotton yarn from my stash.
  • Preserved olives collected from our backyard trees. See the recipe here.
  • Homemade Tamatar Kasaundi (Tomato oil pickle). From "The Complete Asian Cookbook" by Charmaine Solomon. This is absolutely fabulous stuff - very spicy!  I'll post the recipe soon.
  • Homemade laundry liquid.  From the book "Down to Earth" by Rhonda Hertzel.

That little lineup of home produce made me stop and think. Those little things do make a difference - we are a more sustainableresilient and healthy household as a result of being able to produce more of what we eat and use at home 

It would be great to have more free time to tackle lots more sustainable projects. There are lots of things we'd like to do.  Right now though, life is busy with full-time work, after-work activities, volunteering, and time spent planting trees on our country block.   Given the time that we have, continuing to make small changes in order to live more sustainably is something that works for us.

I think little things do add up and small changes can make a difference.

What do you think?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Garden raiders

Our loquats didn't have time to ripen this year before these garden raiders were back....

Our garden is definitely on their spring calendar.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Green School

We were recently in Ubud, Bali for a well-deserved 2 week holiday (my first overseas trip for 16 years!). While we were there we heard about the Green School and decided we had to take a tour.

The Green School, located along the Ayung River not far from Ubud, is a private school for children from pre-kindergarten to high school.The curriculum, school site and infrastructure have a strong emphasis on sustainability. The school has been designed using renewable resources such as bamboo, mud and local grass. Several buildings are amazing examples of large scale bamboo architecture and is worth visiting for that reason alone. Even some of the furniture is made from bamboo.  

our guide (a former student) showing us around

Learning takes place in the natural environment - some buildings have no walls and coexist among the trees and productive gardens, with some trees becoming incorporated in the buildings themselves. 

The curriculum focuses on educating for sustainabilty and has a strong focus on the environment and community, encouraging the children to be creative and share what they learn through entreprenurial joint projects with local businesses.

The school is expensive, costing up to around USD11k for later years. The school says there is a scholarship program for local students.

Permaculture in action can be seen throughout the school in the productive gardens, the aquaponic system, compost station, water filtration system, biofuel generation station and composting toilets.
Food for the students is grown on-site

Aquaponics greenhouse

Fish tanks in the greenhouse floor

Compost station

Water filtration system

Used cooking oil is collected and turned into fuel

Recycling centre

Composting toilets

As it was school holidays when we visited, there were no students on site so we had a really good look around.  I think I'll let our photos tell the rest of the story....


close up view of roof construction

beautiful yoga studio

another classroom

amazing covered bridge over the river