Sustainable Living 1/1
Headline: Striving for Sustainability
Toowoomba residents gathered together for World Environment Day on June 5 to discuss and acknowledge current environmental issues.
One of the two events held in Toowoomba was The Pathways to Sustainability Expo, organised by the Householders Options to Protect the Environment (HOPE).
The aim of the expo was to showcase organisations and businesses available to people in the region.
HOPE president, Frank Ondrus said the aim of the day was to raise awareness of key issues and to reinterpret environmental data for the public.
“We try to educate people about some of the issues so they can hopefully make better informed decisions in the future,” he said.
Ondrus said recent environmental issues include climate change, use of fossil fuels and water conservation.
“It’s overall wasteful consumption. We are very much a disposable society,” he said.
South West Queensland Department of Environment Management Communications Officer, Chris Leslight believes HOPE plays an important role in the society.
“They deal with people on a personal level that we can’t,” he said.
“Personal interaction is definitely a big benefit for groups like these.”
According to Leslight, the Government is incorporating more and more programs to promote sustainable living, the most current one being ‘Climate Smart’.
“The Climate Smart program is giving people the opportunity and help to reduce their
household carbon footprint,” he said.
Leslight recently built a fully sustainable home for his family. He said the venture was costly but 100 per cent worth it.
“The house has solar panels, tanks, triple insulation and we generate our own electricity,” he said.
“It’s the least we can do. I have a two year old daughter and I’m worried about her future.”
There are easier options to reduce a household’s carbon footprint. Ondrus said the ideas HOPE suggest are inexpensive and easy to do.
“Really you can do as little or as much as you like depending on your own financial circumstances,” he said.
“Maybe do home composting and mulching as well as walking or cycling rather than driving the car,”
“It’s just a matter of changing your lifestyle and once it becomes ingrained in your everyday practices you will wonder what all the fuss was about.”
Toowoomba Community Organic Gardens Permaculture Coordinator Sara Hammer, said people might not know permaculture is a great way to help the environment.
“Permaculture is a way of living sustainably and gardening is just one tool we use to do that,” she said.
“We use plants in a way that solves our gardening problems, for example we produce our own mulch instead of getting it from somewhere else.”
Hammer believes it’s not possible to fully correct the damage done to the environment.
“There are some species lost forever and some ecosystems that will never look the same,” she said.
“Although it does help that we now have the skills and knowledge to build and rebuild some ecosystems to what they were before, it’s still not the same.”
With the price of living on the rise, Hammer believes the cost increases will have a positive effect on the environment.
“I think it’s a good thing in terms of people’s ability to live sustainably. Vegetables are getting more and more expensive; it’s cheaper to buy seeds,” she said.
Ondrus believes this year’s destructive climate events are the result of harmful human activity.
“There’s a tremendous body of scientists that say climate change from human induced activity is real and it’s detrimental,” he said.
“Other scientists say climate change has always been variable but in just the last few months we’ve seen devastating floods across three states of Australia, bush fires in other parts, cyclones up north,
billions of dollars worth of damage, some loss of life and people say oh no it’s just normal weather patterns. That’s rubbish.”
Ondrus said it’s important to be mindful of not only polluting the community, but the country and neighbouring countries as well.
“The basis of all this is about not polluting so that you impact on others, unfortunately the world is doing it on a global scale,” he said.
“If we don’t do something now to remediate all these major problems we won’t have a future. Simple as that.”
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[This article is yet to be sub-edited. All mistakes remain my own.]