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Once upon a time, a large rainforest, home to many animals caught fire and they were driven out of their home. From the hills nearby, they watched together… helpless, as their home and land, was destroyed. And as they did so, a small bird flew past with a droplet of water it had collected from a lake nearby. It dropped it on the fire, then it flew back for another drop of water, again and again. The animals watched in amazement as this bird flew back and forth, determined to quell the fire with just drops of water. An elephant stopped the bird and asked why? Didn’t the bird see that its efforts were in vain? The bird simply replied, “The drop of water I carry may not stop the fire, but eventually you will realise that if we all work together we can make a difference…”

Thanks Jeeven for sharing this story on the Living Greener website. I have borrowed it in the hope that it will inspire others!

I certainly sometimes feel like my actions are but a small drop of water in the scheme of things, but it is amazing what all those small drops put together can do.


In my travels around Canberra, I encounter various places that I enjoy and sometimes love and want to share with others. I hope that for locals, being aware of these places, may help them to ‘live local’ and frequent local businesses close to their home, or owned by local Canberrans.

Here are a few places I would recommend, with the hope that I can continue to expand the list.

A Bite to Eat (Chifley Shops) For those who enjoy sharing a coffee or meal with friends in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by funky retro fabrics and furnishings.

Deek’s Bakery (Pearce Shops and Dickson Shopping Centre) Owned by local hero Robert de Castella (marathon runner extraordinaire). Deek’s offers a whole host of gluten-free delicacies to either eat in or take away, including bread, biscuits, cake and fresh pasta.


Shabby Attic (Carlton Village, Kambah) This lovely little shop offers shabby chic gifts and furnishings, together with a cafe if you want to hang around and enjoy a coffee and cake.

Q Bookshop (Curtin Shops) What a find! Tucked in the basement of the Curtin shops, offering a mass of second hand books and cafe offering food and live music most weekends. Check out their website for more details of upcoming events.

Source: ‘Your Guide to Becoming a No Waste Household’ ACT Government (2006)

This July, I am aiming for our family to halve our rubbish output. That means we will need to reduce:

  • 3 bins of general waste down to 1.5 bins a month, and
  • 2 bins of recycling, down to 1 full bin a month.

Sound easy?

I think it is going to be challenging! We already compost our food scraps (which apparently fills up to half of many Australian bins). So how are we going to reduce the rest and why bother trying in the first place?


  • Waste generation has increased by 31 per cent to 43.8 million tonnes over the period 2002-03 to 2006-07.
  • Food waste in landfill generates methane (25 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon).
  • Australian cities are running out of landfill space.


Less plastic bags. Not just the shopping bag variety, but also the numerous other items sold in plastic bags, such as loaves of bread, potatoes, carrots and a whole variety of other fresh fruit and vegetables.

Apparently plastic bags can take up to 450 years to break down and in that time can become serial killers, as animals often mistake bags for food, after the animal dies and decomposes the bag is released back into the environment to kill again (Clean up Australia, May 2011).

Less packaging. So many things are pre-packaged, sometimes with multiple layers. Take for example cereal, cake mixes and snack food items.  Apparently every Australian throws away an average of 165 kilograms of product packaging each year! (Clean Up Australia, May 2011). Buying in bulk would help, but I am only aware of two places in Canberra where I can do that.

If you could give me any further ideas on how we could reduce our waste and places to bulk buy – I would love your help!

For more information or to take action see:

Clean Up Australia

Food Wise

National Waste Policy (Australia)

Only recently had I heard the term Carrotmob, and had absolutely no idea what it was!

Now that I am in the know, I can inform you that a Carrotmob is a group of people taking positive action on climate change, by selecting a day or time to purchase goods at a particular store that has agreed to spend part, or all profits made on the day, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Such as by installing solar panels, retrofitting with more efficient lights, recycling waste etc. 

The concept of a Carrotmob emerged in San Francisco, with the name reflecting the “carrot” rather than the “stick” approach to encouraging people to make changes to how they ran their businesses through positive consumer activism. The first Carrotmob campaign was successfully pulled off in 2008 and from what I understand there have been many Carrotmobs since!

As part of this Carrotmob phenomenon a group of enterprising Canberrans have approached IGAs across the inner north and asked them what they would do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in exchange for being mobbed by a large group of customers.  Ainslie IGA offered to put 100% of the money spent on the day towards reducing the stores emissions. So if you are interested and in Canberra Saturday 11 June 2011, come join the mob at Ainslie IGA!

To find out more see Carrotmob Canberra or Time article (2009) Shoppers, Unite! Carrotmobs Are Cooler than Boycotts