Keeping It Local
We often hear the phrase ‘think global, act local’, but what does that actually mean for everyday life? Big concepts like climate change can be overwhelming for many people. After all, this is an issue that will impact the entire planet and we only have one of those that we can all live on!
So it is true to say that each person, on their own, has a limited impact. But add all those ‘limited impacts’ together and you start to build a much bigger impact across the region, the state, the country and the planet. We all have the ability to change and control what we do at home and the same can be said for our local community, to a slightly lesser degree. In short, we all have a role to play in reducing our impact.
We can start by taking the No Waste Challenge. You might not get to ‘no waste’ but how about giving it go.
Let’s start with food waste – it doesn’t get any more local than that, really. We know that around 25% to 30% of all food goes to waste, meaning it is never consumed. Sure, some of that is at the producer level but consumers need to lift their game, too. Here are some great tips for reducing your household food waste:
“We all need to make conscious decisions about the choices we make.”
- Make a list before you go shopping and stick to it – if you need some help, check out Sustainability Victoria’s Love a List campaign at https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/Campaigns/Love-Food-Hate-Waste/Love-a-list
- Grow your own – you are less likely to waste something you have spent time and effort growing.
- Preserve and pickle produce – make jam, sauce or pickles, or just preserve the whole fruit.
- Love your leftovers – some things taste better a day later and make a great lunch, while other things need to be reworked. Check out some great recipes for leftovers at https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/Campaigns/Love-Food-Hate-Waste/Leftovers
Buying less stuff is another way you can make an impact on reducing your waste in the No Waste Challenge. You can do this by:
- Not buying new
- Repurposing items that no longer have a current use
- Repair things if they are broken so you don’t need to buy another
- Make your own
- Swap with others
- Join the sharing economy through libraries – books, toys, tools, seeds, things!
Reduce your use of single-use plastics. We have all been caught up in the convenience of single-use plastics. After all, it is so much easier than having to remember bags, coffee cups, drink bottles etc, and there is no washing up after a BBQ or picnic. But all of this convenience has consequences and that means more litter along the roads, waterways and recreation areas and more waste going into landfill.
- Start with reusable alternatives – they may need washing but they will last longer
- Make and take your own – lunch and snacks
- Always carry your own cup, bottle, cutlery, bags, plates, etc
- Buy in bulk, with your own containers, rather than purchasing things in prepackaged materials
“When it comes to waste there is no magical land of “Away”.
This is all about behavior change – changing some pretty ingrained habits that we have all become accustomed to. They won’t cost you much to change but you will feel good knowing that you are doing your bit by Keeping it Local.
It is also worth remembering that it is a journey to become more sustainable. It takes time and we all need to make conscious decisions about the choices we make. If you keep that process simple and commit to making one change at a time then it is less overwhelming and you’re more likely to stick to something. But you also need to progress on that journey and build on those achievements.
You might start with a small veggie patch and a couple of fruit trees. As you grow this over time, you will eventually produce more than you need. At that stage you might start making some jam and preserves, and sharing them with friends and family. Before you know it, you have found ways to compost your food scraps to improve your soil, and reduced both your food bill and the amount of packaging that goes into your bin. You are probably eating healthier and enjoying more time outside in your garden. Does it get any better than that?
Just remember that the No Waste Challenge journey is a life-long one. Continue to challenge yourself and remember that when it comes to waste there is no magical land of “Away”.