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Ward off Climate Change

About the author


Gary Warden was raised in the Perth Hills. After graduating from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Geology, Gary joined BHP Billiton where he spent 18 years working in a variety of roles in a number of locations around the world. Prior to leaving BHP Billiton in December 2006, Gary was Global Manager for the company's US$1Billion business improvement program.

While he was originally sceptical about the claims relating to climate change, he became convinced of the urgency of the issue in early 2006. He left BHP Billiton primarily to spend more time with his young family, but also to dedicate himself to creating a more sustainable life for himself and his family and to support others in making that change.

In September 2007 he was trained by Al Gore and has delivered the "Inconvenient Truth" lectures to thousands of west australians since then. In November 2007 Gary ran for the senate in the Federal Election representing the Climate Change Coalition.

In addition to his climate change lectures, he has facilitated Living Smart workshops across Perth. Between 2008 and 2009 he was on the Executive Committee of the Conservation Council of Western Australia including one year as Vice President.

Gary co-founded and is Executive Director of the very exciting Days of Change program, one of the largest sustainability programs in Australia and is now General Manager WA for Eco-Kinetics, one of the largest Solar PV companies in Australia and subsidiary of ASX-listed CBD Energy.

Top Tips for Christmas and New Year

by Gary 12/22/2008 8:53:00 AM

I realise that most of you have probably already done your Christmas shopping, however the following ideas apply equally well for when you buy gifts for any occasion:

New year's resolutions are frequently made and often broken—either because the person making them was drunk at the time, or because the resolutions were unrealistic or uninspiring.

Well here are my top 10 smart new year's resolutions:

  1. Halve the frequency with which you put out your green-top bin;
  2. Don’t buy any new clothes (second-hand okay);
  3. Create a vegetable garden;
  4. Reduce your household electricity usage by 50%;
  5. Reduce your daily water usage by 25%
  6. Reduce the number of meals at which you eat red meat by one per week;
  7. Participate in a Living Smart program to learn how to live more sustainably;
  8. Spend more time with the family;
  9. Join a local community group or friends group for a local reserve;
  10. Purchase Solar Panels to generate your own electricity;
  11. Subscribe to 100% Natural Power;
  12. Donate Blood or Plasma at least 6 times;   

Bokashi Bucket

The Bokashi Bucket is a great way of minimising your waste to landfill (see resolution number 1). It will accept any kitchen wastes, including meat, citrus and onion waste which typically cannot be processed by worm farms, chickens or compost heaps/tumblers. You gradually fill the bin with your scraps, and each night you compact it down with the supplied "stomper" and sprinkle over some of special Bokashi powder. This helps the waste to start fermenting. Keep filling the bin over a period of 1 week to 2 weeks. When the bin is full, simply dig a hole in the garden and bury it. Because of the fermentation process, there is no odour associated with the bin. The bin may produce some "Bokashi Juice" which can be drained off from the tap and applied in diluted form to your plants. The buried waste will decompose quickly and enrich the soil in your garden beds.

Bokashi Buckets are available from Planet Ark in Fremantle, the One Earth Outlet in Balcatta, and on-line at http://www.bokashi.com.au/index.html

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Worm Farm

Worms are fantastic at processing most of your kitchen scraps, and hence are an important weapon in your armoury to combat waste going to landfill (your green top bin). They will process all but citrus and onion waste. Most worm farm manufacturers advise against meat scraps, however I have been advised by many people that they will happily munch through small amounts. Worms produce magnificent worm juice which your veggies will love, and will also produce beautiful worm castings that you can use to enhance the quality of your soil.

Worm farms are available from most hardware stores.

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Something You Made

Giving a gift of something you made has so many benefits, I should have really listed it at number 1. The giver gets the profound satisfaction of creating something beautiful (or delicious), and the received knows they are receiving something that didn't just result from a credit card transaction.

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A Low-Flow Shower Head

There are any number of low-flow shower heads on the market these day. I reckon that the best is the Perfect Flow Ultimate Shower Head. I say this for four reasons:

  1. It is the lowest-flow shower head on the Australian market;
  2. Each jet atomises the water, thereby giving you a luxurious, full-feeling shower without the pin-pricks of some low-flow shower heads;
  3. At $25.00 it is great value;
  4. It is made here in Australia.

Perfectlow is available for purchase on-line from http://www.perfectflow.com.au/

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Buy Something Secondhand

Whatever it is you would like to buy for a loved one, before you buy it new, think "is this something that I could buy second-hand?" In many cases the answer is "YES!!!". For example clothes, books, DVDs, appliances and jewellery are readily available from second hand stores, Op Shops, Pawn Brokers etc.

A good vegetarian cook book

Fruit and vegetables contribute 90% less greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere than the equivalent amounts of red meat such as beef, lamb and pork. So, if you can increase the number of vegetarian meals in your diet - you will be doing a good thing for your waistline and the planet. A gift of a cook book (ideally second-hand) containing delicious vegetarian meals will help make the transition to a diet with less red meat.

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A Power Meter

Before you can start reducing your electricity use, you need to understand which appliances in your house are using the most electricity.

There are a range of power meters available.

The Multifunction Meter is cheap and allows you to test the amount of electricity being consumed by individual appliances. It is available from Altronics in Northbridge or from Jaycar stores across the state for less than $30.00.

The Power Usage Meter is similar to the Multifunction Meter. It is better quality, and consequently more expensive at $69.95. It is available online from the Alternative Technology Association at http://www.ata.org.au/

Unlike the previous two meters, the Efergy measures the power consumption of the entire house. You can set an alarm which will sound whenever your power consumption exceeds a preset level. The display can be placed in a convenient location where you will often look at it. It is a great tool to help with behaviour change. It is available from Bunnings for about $99.00, however it needs to be installed by a licenced electrician. 

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A Pressure Cooker

Cooking using a pressure cooker rather than traditional cooking methods can save 70% of your electricity or gas. And it'll also save you time!

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An Onya Weigh Bag 

These bags are simply brilliant.

Inside each colourful sack are 5 reusable netted vegetable bags. Buy the larger sack and you'll get 8 reusable bags. Simply clip the sack to one of your green reusable shopping bags, and you’ll never need to use plastic bags for your fruit & veggies again! 

Priced at $12.70 for the small sack and $17.20 for the large, they are available online at http://www.onyabags.com.au/

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A fruit tree or a gift voucher for a Fruit Tree nursery

There is nothing like a gift that keeps on giving. And a fruit tree will do just that year after year. These days there are dwarf versions of just about every fruit available. Our favourite nursery is Wandilla on Welshpool Road in Wattle Grove. They have the most amazing range of fruit trees.

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12/22/2008 5:51:26 PM

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1/9/2009 12:07:27 PM

Claire

Thankyou Gary for your great blog, keep up the good work. My personal resolution which has worked well for me every time I've made it (!!) is to make an hour each morning (or whenever in winter) to spend in the garden before starting work for the day. Hard thing is not getting too carried away then not getting any work done, but if I can pace myself I am much happier & calmer generally.

Claire au

1/12/2009 11:13:56 AM

Linda Kemp

I am trying to stop my husband putting in air conditioning at home. Me telling him it isn't a good thing and I don't want it isn't quite getting the message across. How can I best convince him we can do without it?

Linda Kemp au