Thank you for supporting Greener By The Day. My name is Rhonda Kimberley. Welcome to my first ever blog! I am not sure where to start, but I thought I could tell you a little bit about myself and when I started learning about sustainable living. There have been three significant resources that have really impacted me and have taught me about the benefits sustainable living. Here is a little bit about the resources.
About 3 years ago I read the book 'Living Into Focus by Arthur Boers'. This book encourages readers to return to community living and limit activities that isolate us from others and distract us from what is important. The author encourages us to invest in relationships through everyday life such as shared meals, hospitality, living locally and disconnecting from devices. He talks about engaging in focal living or focal practices in order to do this. I decided I wanted a focal practice and chose gardening, growing a veggie patch, as my main activity. Growing a veggie patch encouraged me to spend more time outside in the fresh air than I normally would which was really refreshing. I also talked a lot about my veggie patch with family and friends as I needed hints and tips, especially how to keep those pesky snails away! It was also fun at work sharing produce, swapping seedlings and sharing recipes. Although I have much more to learn about growing veggies, I am by no means an expert, it is now a shared interest with family, friends and work colleagues and I have definitely built a whole new community around me.
The second resource I have used, also for about 3 years now, is Shop Ethical. The website is packed with information that has helped me to shop with a conscious. Shop Ethical provides information about how common brands address social and environmental practices in the production of our food and household items. I have learned a lot about food miles, bobby calves, worker rights, excess packaging and more. I downloaded the App and went shopping, purchasing products that have a green tick of approval beside them. Download Shop Ethical App here or view website www.ethical.org.au. The first time I completed a shop with my Shop Ethical App it took me a while as I had to look up each individual product such as milk, cheese, cereal brands and source a suggested brand. Now when I shop it is easy as I am familiar with the brands and I know exactly which brands have ethical company policies which I like to support.
My most significant learning curve has been completing my Masters of Aid and Development at Tabor College Victoria. The subject "Sustainability, Climate Change and Justice" helped me recognise that climate change effects not only the weather patterns, but also peoples lives, primarily those in low income societies. The following quote encouraged me as I realised that the response to climate change "is not one vast, impersonal challenge, but rather billions of tiny personal ones. It is our coffee pot in the morning, our daily drive to work, our weekly supermarket shop, and our annual holiday" (Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living by Spencer, White, Vroblesky, p. 47). I now know there are many things in my everyday life that I can modify in order to live in a more sustainable manner.
I am a Christian and a few of the resources I refer to are written from a Christian faith perspective, however the majority of websites, books, videos and articles in the calendar are suitable for a wide audience. If you are wanting to explore sustainability, climate change and justice from a Christian, Jewish, Islamic or Hindu faith tradition you will find The Australian Religious Response To Climate Change website helpful. Visit www.arrcc.org.au.
I am an Occupational Therapist who works with children with special needs. For the past 8 years I have worked in Special Developmental School settings. I have also completed volunteer work with at-risk youth in the juvenile justice system and transitional housing programs. I am definitely not an expert in the area of sustainability, however I am very interested in the topic and would like to learn more. The Greener By The Day Calendar was initially developed as my own personal challenge so that I could be successful in addressing one area of sustainability one month at a time. Whilst developing the calendar during 2014 I have completed the challenges and changed many habits. It is exciting to think that the calendar is now available for others so they can embark on the 2015 challenge.
Undoubtedly there are people who are much more experienced in sustainable living that I am. I hope to hear from experts in the area who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. I am sure there is much to learn about double glazing, home insulation, solar panels, composting toilets, car shares and permaculture ... but I might have to leave those challenges for 2016!