Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Slow down and shop sustainably



What you buy, and what you don't buy, can have enormously positive impacts for people, for animals, for diversity, for the planet and local communities and economies.

Australia has a huge consumer appetite, one of the biggest of all countries. We are what the ACF calls, ecological 'bigfoots'.

That we care to make a change is important. It's what makes a difference. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the environmental impact of our consumer culture, and also the devastating impact it is having on the wellbeing of the poorest people on earth. We are all connected and what we do matters.

You can listen to my latest Simple Life Segment on ABC radio for a discussion about these issues and accessible ways to rethink we buy things - all things really! Every Tuesday night I chat with Trevor Jackson, Evening Show host, at around 9:30pm. I hope you can tune in.

https://soundcloud.com/user-523529725/slow-down-and-shop-sustainably



It's not easy, but it's possible to find alternatives. It is empowering - taking back control of what we use in our daily lives, to meet the needs of our family and in our workplaces.

It would be great to hear where you think change can be made, and ways you've been able to make changes in your consumption patterns.


Growing and sourcing fresh seasonal food from local sustainable sources is a great way to be an ecoconsumer.


Here's a few references that I thought might be useful, just a small selection:

What other great resources do you know of and use to help you change your buying patterns?

Choose natural, sustainably grown and compostable fibres. 


Thank you to my network of supporters!

If have enjoyed my blog and youtube channel, you may like to consider becoming my patron too. I think of it like a subscription to a magazine you like - but this one is online. From $1/month, you can be part of my the Our Permaculture Life supporter network. Click here to find out more: https://www.patreon.com/moraggamble.


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Sustainable Fashion: stand up for something good.


What does it take to have a sustainable wardrobe? What is fast fashion and why do we need to reconsider this trend of consumable, disposable clothes? Every single item comes with a cost. What can we do differently? What are the things you need to consider? What are the principles of sustainable fashion?

Listen in here (https://soundcloud.com/user-523529725/sustainable-fashion) to my Simple Life segment on the Evening Show: ABC Radio Queensland from 8 August where host, Trevor Jackson, and I chat about Sustainable Fashion.



Join the growing movement of people and be part of change for good.

Try these figures on for size....
  • 25% of pesticides are used in the production of non-organic clothing
  • A simple t-shirt can cost less than a cup of coffee but uses 2700L of drinking water (enough for one person/yr)
  • 95% of all clothing thrown away could have been recycled. 
  • 0ver 30% of clothes donated to charities ends up in landfill. Only 3-4% ends back in their shops. Most of it gets sent overseas.
  • 2/3rds of the clothes worn around the world are synthetic, made of petrochemicals and shedding micrplastics
  • Australians throw away enough clothes each year to completely fill an enormous football stadium twice over!


Stand up for something good. Choose clothing well ...

consider clothing 'end of life'

Choose compostable clothing (cotton, linen, silk, help, wool) or fibres that can be recovered (eg: Cradle to Cradle https://www.fashionpositive.org).   I wouldn't try to compost dry-cleaned clothes as they are too toxic - mmm, probably avoid wearing them too then.


are they good to wear many times?

Unfortunately, clothing items are only worn 7 times on average before they are discarded. Select things that are durable, of high quality, and can be worn often.  Often things fall apart or start to 'pill' quite badly after just a couple of wears.


is it adjustable?

I love clothes that can be altered. This is great for kids. Make a few darts here and there on bigger sizes, then they can get more wears as they grow into it. For me, I like adjustable clothing because my shape never seems to stay the same from one week to the next and it's good to have that flexibility - this is why I love sarongs and wrap skirts.


is it mendable?

Choose things that can be fixed - fabric and styles that allow mending.


is it ethically produced?

Choose clothing that has not caused pain and suffering by the person and community that made it, nor should it harm animals in making. The fashion industry is one of the most lucrative industries, but also a most polluting and wasteful industry emitting lots of greenhouse gases. It is also a most unfair and unethical industry. You might want to take a look at the Good on You app to get the lowdown on brands of clothing


is it environmentally responsible?

Many of the poorer communities where clothes are made, know what the latest colour will be because that is the colour of their rivers due to contamination  due to unmanaged production processes. So many environmental impacts are caused by the unregulated textile industry in many parts of the world.


is it organic?

Clothing made from organic clothing is better for your skin, for the makers and for the environment. Organic clothing aims to protect soil, natural habitats and biodiversity, and increase water efficiency as well as taking chemicals out of the production cycle.


is it pre-loved?

Getting a new item of clothing doesn't mean it can't have been pre-loved. You can often find some quite wonderful pieces. Swap. Share. Join Buy Nothing Groups. Shop at charity stores.


does it support others?

Consider whether your clothes are supporting others through fair trade practices, charities...


stop and think

Do I need it?? Every single item comes with a cost. Choose to care. Ask "What impact do the clothes I'm wearing have on my health, my family's health, on planetary health and the on the people who made them?


Here's a simple checklist

  1. wear things lots
  2. renew, reuse, upcycle
  3. repurpose
  4. donate
  5. recycle - last. Only 0.1% of clothes sent to recycling come back as clothes. Disappointingly, most clothes brought to recycling centres are down-cycled, not recycled, and are used in things like insulation. 
  6. throw away - never
One of the things I love to do is sew my own clothes using retro fabrics, redesigning old clothes or sourcing organic natural textiles to work with. I've haven't yet learnt to knit or crochet well enough to make clothes but I'm in awe of those that do.  

Making your clothes is more than a 'nice' thing to do (which it is) - you can design things that really suit and create your own unique style - but you are also doing something really positive and practical through non-participation in the fast fashion industry.


read more: 

Action Aid: http://www.actionaid.org/australia/7-things-you-need-know-about-ethical-fashion


Thank you to my network of supporters!

If have enjoyed my blog and youtube channel, you may like to consider becoming my patron too. I think of it like a subscription to a magazine you like - but this one is online. From $1/month, you can be part of my the Our Permaculture Life supporter network. Click here to find out more: https://www.patreon.com/moraggamble.


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Monday, 14 August 2017

8 ways to use lemongrass




Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) grows abundantly in my subtropical permaculture garden, a productive polyculture. It is such a useful multi-functional perennial.


When it's time to propagate lemongrass soon, I will make another film showing how to divide a clump and create a living swale using it. 

Before I had terraces in my vegetable garden, I used lemongrass as an edge to hold mulch and compost on the slope. It was a very effective and quick way to start a vegetable garden without a lot of cost and infrastructure.

Watch my latest YouTube clip about the many ways I use lemongrass in my permaculture garden.






Thank you to my network of supporters!

If have enjoyed my blog and youtube channel, you may like to consider becoming my patron too. I think of it like a subscription to a magazine you like - but this one is online. From $1/month, you can be part of my the Our Permaculture Life supporter network. Click here to find out more: https://www.patreon.com/moraggamble.


Subscribe to Morag Gamble's Newsletter


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Permaculture thinking skills for teenagers




Permaculture thinking and skills are what the next generation need. Mentoring young people in applied systems thinking, practical skills for resilience, and collaborative design processes is the core of my work.

My goal is to inspire, show that another way is possible, bring hope and encourage them to say "Yes - that's what I want to be part of!"

I cannot imagine anything more important that I would rather be doing.

We've had 150 students in our garden and village this week. The feedback from them, their teachers and parents has been just fantastic.


Here's my reflection (my youtube link), and I've included some comments from teachers and students below:




Here's some feedback from the teachers....

Hi Morag and Evan 
That was the most awesome camp ever! How rewarding must it be that you can finally do the whole camp with all your own achievements having a totally self sufficient education program. 
The students so enjoy your patience and passion and how you all embody the true permaculture life style. 
Thank you once again - it was awesome.


Hi Morag and Evan,  
Thank you both so much for the breadth of your lessons last week. I just loved being part of the two days with looking at the wholistic part that people play in the world. Your sustainable life, practical tips, creative problem solving task, mindfulness and putting it all in perspective the time humans have been on Earth gave such a wonderful picture to me and the students involved. Your calmness when teaching teenagers was noted and you both deserve a medal for remaining so positive.  
You inspired me, even in my very small urban plot, to start a no dig garden which I created on the weekend. Also Jottie has shown her class “The war on waste” which hopefully will add to the impact of last weeks excursion on the decisions they will make in their lives.  
I hope our paths meet again.
And direct email from students too...
Hello Morag, Evan and the kids, 
I was part of the class that attended your place last week for our geography camp.
I wanted to say a massive thank you and let you know how much I appreciate all of the effort and time you put towards teaching us about permaculture and your lives. 
I really felt I learnt something from my few days with you all and just wanted to let you know, even if a few days late. 

And a student from a few years ago just wrote to say:
Coming to your home was one of my favourite experiences at school!!

You can listen to my radio segment recorded from ABC Radio Queensland (612ABC) on Tuesday 1 August about permaculture for the next generation (click link below). The school camp group had just arrived and I was gearing up for a wonderful 3 days with them.

https://soundcloud.com/user-523529725/permaculture-for-the-next-generation


Perhaps you have a group of students you'd like to bring here too? We welcome all ages.



Morag's workshops coming soon


  

COMING SOON! Permaculture Essentials Online Course

At last, my online introduction to permaculture course is almost here. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive news and first access to this course as soon as it is released. Newsletter subscribers will receive a special offer for this program. http://our-permaculture-life.blogspot.com.au/p/subbscribe.html


Thank you to my network of supporters!

If have enjoyed my blog and youtube channel, you may like to consider becoming my patron too. I think of it like a subscription to a magazine you like - but this one is online. From $1/month, you can be part of my the Our Permaculture Life supporter network. Click here to find out more: https://www.patreon.com/moraggamble.


Subscribe to Morag Gamble's Newsletter


3 simple uses for Calendula leaves


I love calendula (Calendula officinalis). I look forward to it colouring my garden every year with it's gorgeous flowers. It only stays for a while, then it gets too hot here in the subtropics. I have coloured my house walls with orange and yellow of the blooms. Their colour is so uplifting.

But, what can you do with the leaves while you are waiting for those beautiful calendula flowers to bloom?



1. Salad

I had a little nibble of the leaves today as I was gardening. They go really well mixed into a salad. 


2. Cooked Green

A common name for calendula is pot marigold, because people used to throw the the leaves in the cooking pot as a spinach alternative. Another winter green for me for when my subtropical summer leaves have retreated - sweet potatoes, Brazilian spinach ...


3. Poultice

Did you know that the leaves can also be made into a poultice? This is good for speeding up the healing of scratches and little cuts - perfect for the kids when they have a tumble in the garden.... let them know "go and grab a calendula leaf, crush it and gently rub it on".  Mine are planted close to where little Monty is learning to ride his bike.

How do you use calendula leaves?



Final workshops in Morag's garden for 2017...

  



Thank you to my network of supporters!

If have enjoyed my blog and youtube channel, you may like to consider becoming my patron too. I think of it like a subscription to a magazine you like - but this one is online. From $1/month, you can be part of my the Our Permaculture Life supporter network. Click here to find out more: https://www.patreon.com/moraggamble.


Subscribe to Morag Gamble's Newsletter


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Permaculture for the next generation




Over the next few posts I'll be exploring this topic as we welcome lots of school students into our garden and village for an immersion into permaculture thinking and action. I'll look at why permaculture is so important for children and how we can bring it into their everyday lives more. Please join me conversation about this.

Permaculture thinking, systems thinking, is the basis for our homeschooled children's education too. I have noticed how deeply young children grasp the bigger picture concepts, and it is such a joy to see how it is their 'normal'.   


The types of skills students cultivate by participating in these programs are those they will need to be adaptable and resilient adults, able to contribute to a positive future. 


There is so much about living well that can be learnt in a garden, in nature.

Last week we welcomed 100 grade 6 students into our garden exploring permaculture design thinking, permaculture lifestyle strategies and practical skills for resilience. It was a head, heart and hands day - lots of ideas, hands on and deep questioning.  The feedback from the students, the teachers, the parents was wonderful. I love working in this way.

Last week Year 6 class spent a day with us learning about permaculture as a connecting theme for exploring design, technology and science. 


Walking between my garden and the village gives us a chance to be in nature, to breathe fresh air, explore ecovillage design ideas, land regeneration concepts, wildlife habitat restoration, to reflect on what they have seen and casually chat, to stop and observe birds, kangaroos and wallabies.  
Today a group 50 students arrive, this time for 3 days - a year 11 geography camp. Again, it is an integrated program delving into practical, personal and community approaches to sustainable living, locally and globally, with connecting thinking at its core.

We've been leading camps for year 11 and 12 geography classes in our garden and village for 20 years.



Lunch at the village green under the shade of the leguminous trees.
Ready and waiting for the next group to get hands on....

TONIGHT

Listen to 612ABC Radio tonight (1 August, 9:30pm) as I explore permaculture for the next generation on my Simple Living segment. I'll post a recording of it in my next post in case you missed it.


COMING SOON! Permaculture Essentials Online Course

At last, my online introduction to permaculture course is almost here. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive news and first access to this course as soon as it is released. Newsletter subscribers will receive a special offer for this program. http://our-permaculture-life.blogspot.com.au/p/subbscribe.html


Thank you to my network of supporters!

If have enjoyed my blog and youtube channel, you may like to consider becoming my patron too. I think of it like a subscription to a magazine you like - but this one is online. From $1/month, you can be part of my the Our Permaculture Life supporter network. Click here to find out more: https://www.patreon.com/moraggamble.

Morag's workshops coming soon

  


Subscribe to Morag Gamble's Newsletter