Sustainable Us – a Community Initiative

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Sustainable Us is a Council run community-based initiative that was created in 2022 in response to the ever-growing concern of global warming and lack of clear environmentally sustainable living information. 

Sustainable Us aims to help deliver this information to the Wingecarribee community through a series of monthly workshops, events, video series and other initiatives.  

By providing clear and relevant resources to the community, we hope to empower you to continue living more sustainably and to further reduce your environmental footprint.  

If you miss a workshop this year, don’t worry we plan to run these events yearly from now on. 

The primary concepts of sustainable living have been broadly split across 12 key themes with a new step to be explored each month. By tackling a new theme every month we can focus on key concepts and build up our knowledge across the year. 

In 2022 Robertson has been chosen for the Sustainable Us Village Program. The Village Program has been set up to showcase the efforts of one community per year.  

Healthy soils are a natural carbon sink and can hold significantly more water than nutrient depleted soils, which in turn improves fertility and reduces run off and flooding. By choosing the right native plants for your garden and managing soils you can help regenerate the land and provide habitat for native animals.  

For more information on how you can plant natives and help to protect your garden from the impacts of global warming click here

Learning Opportunity  

On the 29th of January 2022 in Robertson the Sustainable Us initiative hosted a workshop on what planting native species in your garden can do for the environment. 

The speakers presented ways we can future proof our garden against global warming by planting natives and reduce our environmental footprint through land conservation

Key Speakers:  

Luke Maitland – Director @ Native Grace Nursery, Robertson

Karen Guymer – Coordinator Natural Resources, Wingecarribee Shire Council  

Jill Cockram – SH Community Gardens Network & Regen Action

Robertson Environment Protection Society

Ange Clarke – Convener of the Robertson Community Gardens

 

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Which Plant Where’ is a culmination of 5 years of research investigating which horticultural species will survive in Australian urban landscapes, not only now but under future climates. This plant selection tool is underpinned by the latest scientific evidence, providing growers, nurseries, landscape architects and urban greening professionals with integrated tools and resources to develop resilient and sustainable urban green spaces for the future.

 

Much of what we buy at the shops typically comes from a very long way away, resulting in emissions from transport and uncertainty in how sustainably sourced the raw materials for the product are.  

By buying locally grown and produced foods we can be more confident in the transport emissions being lower while also supporting small local businesses to continue to source environmentally sustainable products. 

Further to procuring environmentally sustainable food you can also choose to grow your own! Whether you have a garden yourself or would like to get involved in a community garden near you, there are number of useful resources to help you get started. 

For more information on how you can purchase locally grown produce or start your own organic garden click here.  

For information how you can get involved in  your local community garden click here.

Learning Opportunity 

Join us on the 13th of February for a tour of Duck Foot Farm in Moss Vale to learn more about how we can source locally produce organic foods and start growing our own. 

When food scraps and other organic household waste decomposes in landfill they emit methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. 

By shopping and cooking smarter we can reduce the amount of food waste we produce and then can further negate the impact all together by home composting and turning that waste into rich fertile soils. 

Initiatives like Share Waste make it quick and easy for anybody to turn their unwanted food scraps into compost. If you would like to know more about how you can get involved or for more information on how you can start your own compost click here.

Learning Opportunity 
  • Join us on the 6th of March in Robertson, Hampden Park from 9-11am for this years Clean Up Australia Event supported by the Sustainable Us Project. Morning Tea and clean up equipment will be provided, to find out more click here or to register to attend click here.

   Contact  waste.education@wsc.nsw.gov.au for additional information

  • Join us on the 26th of March in the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens from 5-9pm for this year’s Wingecarribee Earth Hour Event where we will be showcasing some of the Shire’s leaders in environmentally sustainable living and where you can find everything you need to know about becoming more sustainable. 

   Click here to register and for more information.

Behaviour changes such as switching off lights, recycling where you can or reducing packaging waste seem like small things but together add up fast and really can make a massive difference if everyone chooses to do the right thing. 

For more information on what you can do to make a difference and how that impacts emissions please see below: 

Learning Opportunity 

Join us on the 23rd of April between 10am -12pm at the Robertson School of Arts for a ‘Recycle Right!’ Workshop to learn more about what you can and cannot recycle and the positive impacts of choosing to do the right thing. 

Register here

Getting around in a Shire as large as Wingecarribee can be challenging and most times the easiest option is just to hop in the car and drive.  

23% of the Shire’s total emissions are estimated to come from vehicle transport. By choosing to plan ahead and opting for walking, cycling, carpooling or taking public transport you can help to reduce this number. 

Additionally, by looking to choose electric for your next car or bike, and coupling this with renewable energy, we can further reduce the emissions from combustion engines. 

For more information on how you can choose to move around more sustainably please see below: 

Learning Opportunity 
Join us on May 20th across the shire as we participate in National Walk Safely to School Day which is a community initiative that aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking (especially to and from school) can provide for the long term well-being of our children.

Often overlooked in the global warming discussion is the impact that our voice has when purchasing certain products or investing in certain industries. Advocacy is another way we can live sustainably, by talking to others about the impacts of global warming we can educate each other and push for change amongst our community 

For more information on how you can get involved click here

Learning Opportunity 
Join us on the 3rd,4th and 5th of June in Robertson to celebrate World Environment Day through the Shire’s Sustainability Festival. Hear from key speakers and stall holders on how we can continue to live in an environmentally sustainable way.  

Becoming an active participant in local groups who are working together to drive environmental change is often a great place to start for those who just don’t know how. By leveraging the combined experience of the whole Shire, we can learn from each other and really make a difference. 

For more information on how you can get involved within your local community click here

Learning Opportunity 
Join us on the 31st of July to celebrate National Tree Day alongside NAIDOC week by participating in a native tree planting event with local indigenous groups. 

The energy we use in our day to day lives makes up the largest proportion of our emissions and by choosing to cut back or be more efficient in the way we live we can drastically reduce our environmental footprint.  

By switching to LED bulbs, air drying laundry, using fans instead of air-conditioning, and buying the most energy efficient appliances we can start to cut back on the amount of fossil fuel energy we use every day. 

By investing in our own renewable energy sources like solar panels on your roof, solar water heating or purchasing Green Power, our daily impact on the environment will be reduced and there are also additional financial incentives to switch today.  

For more information on how you can reduce your energy consumption and move towards more renewable energy please see below: 

Learning Opportunity 

Join us  for a Solar, Heat Pump and Solar Water Heating Workshop to showcase the latest developments and technologies and explain how simple and easy it can be to get started.

Often overlooked is how our own money, purchases and investments impact the global market and how certain institutions and business practices can be harmful to the environment. By investing our money in sustainable companies, buying eco certified products and ditching single use plastics we can work towards changing the commercial landscape for the better. 

For more information on what you can do, please see below:

Market Forces  

Learning Opportunity 

Join us for a webinar presentation by Market Forces, an Australian NGO that works on exposing environmentally destructive financing practices. 

As the climate changes our homes will be subjected to increasingly extreme weather events which in turn will increase our dependency on heating and cooling. By improving the comfort of your home through installing insulation, draught proofing, and putting up external shading, for example, you can easily and cost effectively stabilise internal temperatures while also reducing your energy consumption. 

For more information on what you can do, please see below: 

Learning Opportunity

Join us at Robertson Men’s Shed for a Cheap & Easy ways to Futureproof your Home workshop and to help celebrate Sustainable House Day. Participate in a tour of a Passive House and try your hand at making your own Pelmet with the support of the team at Robertson Men’s Shed. 

Upcycling old items or sharing resources that might otherwise have ended up in landfill with your local community is a good way to reduce the emissions impact of raw material requirements for new products. By buying second-hand and upcycling old items, not only do they not end up in landfill as waste but new items aren’t then needed to be produced. Like the old saying goes ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. 

For more information on what you can do click here 

Learning Opportunity

Join us at the Robertson School of Arts for the inaugural Shire Swap Meet.

By looking for ways we can create a sharing economy within our community we reduce the need for resources being used to duplicate certain items or activities resulting in lower emissions. For example, connecting with your community and car-pooling to the shops or setting up a local street library for exchange of books are really great examples of where we can share resources and consume less materials. 

For more information on what you can do, please see below: