Within one week in February we joined some big conversations about reducing carbon emissions, from regenerative agriculture with NSW farmers Charles Massy and Colin Seis, to reducing waste with War on Waste presenter Craig Reucassel.
Charles Massy and Colin Seis presented at Tamworth Agricultural Institute on their approaches to regenerative agriculture including intensively grazing livestock to increase soil organic matter and avoid overgrazing, and planting trees and improving groundcover to increase soil water holding capacity. They were brought to Tamworth by North West Local Land Services through the National Landcare Program.
Duncan and I had read Charles Massy's book, 'Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture - A New Earth
,' so when I saw he was visiting Tamworth I bought tickets for Duncan for Christmas. While their presentations were aimed at landholders with many hectares in their stewardship, they had advice for urban consumers as well. Charles encouraged increased ecological literacy to understand the importance of trees and gardens, and their interconnectedness with biodiversity and reducing carbon in the atmosphere. He repeated the words, "Buy healthy food from healthy soils,"urging shoppers to specifically ask for grassfed, over grainfed, beef, and greening our spaces, urban or rural, to pull down carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, cool our microclimates, and promote transpiration, which helps the rain cycle.
Colin's message was to plant trees, trees, and more trees, aiming to restore soil ecosystems. He said, "This planet of ours is just a bloody big paddock and we need to manage it sustainably."
Later the same week we exhibited our natural fibre plastic alternative and reusable housewares at the first Waste Warriors Expo
in Tamworth. Speaking at the Waste Warriors Expo-associated 100 Mile Dinner, War on Waste presenter Craig Reucassel encouraged guests to, "Work on one change until it's a habit, then choose another." Craig described how even though he grew up in a semi-rural area he had lost touch with how much effort and resources go into food production, remembering his visit to a banana farm as part of the series and his dismay at supermarket/consumer standards contributing to food waste, with totally edible food not leaving the farm. He encouraged guests to be vocal, and hassle supermarkets to accept less than perfect produce, and their politicians to take food waste out of landfill.
In preparation for the Waste Warriors Expo, I wrote a 'Personal carbon handprint checklist', to record what our family is doing now and what we want to do in the future to reduce carbon emissions. I hope it inspires you to do the same and share your ideas.
What we want to do
- install solar power on our business roof
- improve business building insulation
- install ceiling fans
- improve insulation at home
- build verandah on northern and western sides of our house for shade and temperature reduction
- realign rooms at home to maximise cross ventilation
- replace business and home lighting with LED bulbs
What we’re already doing
- feeding food scraps to chickens
- growing some of our fruit, veg & lamb
- companion plating marigolds and tomatoes, and installing an insect house to encourage beneficial insects in the garden
- keeping chickens for eggs
- using grey water on plants
- conserving water (dam & rainwater tank)
- minimising car use
- using public transport for school travel
- tree planting
- garden making
- improving soil water holding capacity by concentrating grazing
- conscious consumption
- using silk produce bags
- BYO shopping bags
- refusing shopping bags
- using reusable coffee cups & water bottles
- buying in bulk when available
- taking packed lunches to work and school
- borrowing books from libraries and friends
- line drying clothes
- washing clothes with cold water
- drinking loose leaf tea (not tea bags)
- making do
- preserving food
- DIY sauerkraut
- mostly cooking from scratch
- buying second hand goods
- reusing washable dish cloths
- reusing washable muslin skin care cloth
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