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GRE GR E EN LIFESTYLE SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE LIVING

Natural Paint – use it almost anywhere GET GREEN POWER

RENTING SOLAR

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FAIR TRADE COFFEE HOW TO DETOX YOUR HOME ETHICAL JEWELLERY

TRY YOUR HAND AT PRESERVI NG: Ea sy recipe s

PALM OIL

IS THERE ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT IT?

E thical Investing sting CHOOSE WISELY

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WAYS WITH MISO

AUSSIE BEES UNDER THREAT HOMEMADE WATERCOLOURS PLAN YOUR WINTER BREAK

ISSUE 49

MAR/APR 2014

CARBON OFFSET & PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER


THE BIG PICTURE

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Land grabbed WORDS BY Jess McKelson PHOTO BY Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

This is Tripa Swamp on the west coast of Aceh, Indonesia – the plantation is an illegal palm oil crop. Over 50,000 hectares of land has been illegally cleared and drained from this forest alone since 1990. Only 9,000 hectares of forest remains of the original 60,000. The expansion of the palm oil industry from these land grabs cause social problems, such as eviction of local farmers, loss of local water supplies and poverty. There is rampant, landscapelevel forest clearance – nothing lives. A few lucky orangutans survive the process and end up as illegal pets; these are the refugees from forests that no longer exist. Zoos Victoria has a Zoopermarket (www.zoo.org.au/ zoopermarket) that enables Australian consumers to write to their food manufacturers and encourage them to source only certified sustainable palm oil from the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil, the RSPO. GREEN LIFESTYLE MARCH/APRIL 2014

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E C O - WA R R I O R S

He says the development will damage the cultural heritage of his native Bidjara tribe and affect the health of native plants and animals as well as locals who drink from groundwater reserves. “Animals and plants drink this water and become really, really sick,” he says. “Native animals are dying and there are social impacts with the local community too. It affects my cultural heritage – the locals are really concerned about the water.”

Jarmarley Willett Sixteen-year-old Jarmarley Willett cofounded Don’t Wait Till It’s Too Late, an Indigenous youth-led project taking action on climate change. Along with his studies at Yeppoon’s St Brendan’s College, Willett is leading the campaign in his hometown of Charleville in southwest Queensland to stop the development of coal seam gas.

Willett’s grandmother is one of the tribe’s elders and after learning about the coal seam gas proposal, Willett began researching the plans on his local council website. He then became involved with the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy before launching the campaign in his local community. Willett hopes to raise awareness about the issue around Australia through the Don’t Wait Till It’s Too Late Facebook page, where he encourages people to register their support. “Cultural heritage is not worth money, and this proposal will destroy our culture and our cultural heritage,” he says. “Mining companies are giving money to elders when the elders are not really educated on what’s going on.” So what do Willett’s friends say about his environmental campaigning? “My friends don’t really know what I’m talking about and when I talk to them they’re not interested,” he says. But that’s of little concern to Willett, who is keen on a career in politics after he finishes school. “After school I’ve been thinking about doing environmental work as well as politics. I’m doing a legal studies class at the moment and I’m really enjoying what I’m learning about law and the environment through the campaign I’m with now.”

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“I helped coordinate a 328 km walk for solar, where we supported the voice of the local Port Augusta community,” says Mackenzie. “The state government created a subcommittee and did a feasibility study, and we’re currently in talks with the power company and a few of the government bodies to make it happen.”

Kelly Mackenzie While most kids aspire to a career as an astronaut or police officer, Kelly Mackenzie wanted to “save the world”. Little has changed, except the 23-year-old now has a better understanding of the social impacts of climate change and the urgent action required to reduce global carbon emissions.

Mackenzie was thrilled to move from her home state to a paid role with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition in Sydney, an organisation that empowers young people to take action on climate change. She works as the national schools coordinator, running summits that empower students to run sustainability projects in their communities. “We go into high schools and ignite interest in climate change and sustainability through a 20-minute presentation. We then get an interested student from those schools along to a summit where all the schools from that region come together to learn about these issues, so the students get the skills they need to do something about it.”

“All throughout my life I’ve always been environmentally minded, but as I learned more about it I learned how climate change underlies all of the environmental problems in the world and that it’s a social justice issue, not just an environmental issue,” Mackenzie says. “Climate change is going to affect the most vulnerable first. They have so little to do with the cause yet they’ll feel the first effects. I think that’s really unfair so I decided to dedicate my life to making it better.”

Young people have the time, energy and creativity to create social change, says Mackenzie, and like many of the social movements of the past, she believes the strong connections of young people are the key to success. “We know young people get most of their information from their friends and their social networks, and if we can be the people telling them that climate change is a massive issue, we can them mobilise our generation around key political moments and educating people about climate change,” she says.

While studying a Bachelor of Environmental Management at Flinders University in South Australia, Mackenzie became involved in the Repower Port Augusta campaign to replace the town’s coal power plants with a combination of solar thermal plants and wind turbines.

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GROWING

Autumn tasks for

winter gardens IF YOU’VE JUST HAD A BUMPER CROP OF SUMMER VEG, IT’S NO TIME TO REST ON YOUR LAURELS. GET OUT THE GARDENING GLOVES, BECAUSE AUTUMN IS ONE OF THE BUSIEST TIMES IN THE GARDEN. WORDS BY Linda Cockburn

April and May are great months to get in the garden in Australia. Apart from being the major harvest period of the year, it’s when good organisation informs the success of the following growing season. In between harvesting pumpkins and tomatoes at this time of year (or wishing that you were!), here are the main tasks to keep you busy in the garden

THINKSTOCK

right now.

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Plant green manures Once you’ve cleared a garden bed, you could choose to plant a winter crop or leave it ‘fallow’ over winter. However, if you choose to leave it empty, nature will soon fill it with weeds. The smarter choice is to plant a green manure crop over winter. This is a high-nitrogen crop – usually a legume – that aids soil health and fixes nitrogen.

Tip: Edible green manure plants, such as broad beans, can be left to flower and go to seed before digging into the soil – then you’ll have an early crop of beans in spring as well.

Once the plant is at the point of flowering, it’s time to dig it back into the soil, allowing it to rot down in time for planting a spring crop. In nematode-susceptible areas (warmer climes), a green manure of mustard can help cleanse the soil as well as adding nutrient in the form of organic material.

There are green manure packs available commercially; you can talk to your local rural supplier for advice on what suits your climate and isn’t likely to become a garden pest. I’ve found that broad beans work well, as they create a dense weedsuppressing canopy, are nitrogen fixers, and, most importantly, the birds don’t eat the seed.

Tip: Cover your compost with a weed mat to protect it from weed growth and excess

Healthy compost should have a lot of ‘dry’ carbon material layered with a little nitrogen, or ‘wet’ material, with a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 25:1. If there’s too much carbon, decomposition slows down, and if there’s too much nitrogen you’ll end up with a stinky mess. While small batches are possible using a rotating drum-style compost bin, generally a critical mass is required for bacteria to work. Make your pile large, and add more material as you go to ensure the bacteria have enough to ‘eat’.

rain.

To activate the compost heap, you’ll need a few layers of material that are very nitrogen-rich. If you’re lucky enough to have chickens, scrape up the bottom of the chook pen. Green plants such as old pea and bean plants, or even fresh kitchen waste, work well too.

Create compost

After harvesting your summer vegies, you’ll have loads of carbon-rich dry material available in the form of spent plants – corn stalks and leaves are perfect. You can also use straw, cardboard, paper, leaves from deciduous trees and any dried plants, but be careful not to add the seed heads of plants you don’t want to see again.

Start a compost heap now and you’ll be rewarded with beautifully rotted compost by springtime – ready for powering your plants. It’s nutrient recycling at its very best. First, choose a sunny area of the garden that will remain in the sun for about half of the day during winter, and is preferably in part-shade in summer. There’s no need to place it far away from areas you regularly use, as a good compost pile should smell sweet.

The regular application of air helps too. This means turning over the pile, or inserting a sharp implement deep into the pile to provide pockets of air to aid decomposition. >>

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BEVERAGES

Green beans WITH SOME AUSSIES DRINKING FOUR COFFEES A DAY, MAKING AN ETHICAL AND GREEN CHOICE FOR YOUR BEANS IS A MUST. SO, WE ROAD-TESTED A FEW ETHICAL BLENDS TO HELP YOU WORK OUT WHICH IS THE BEST FOR YOU. STORY BY Brendon D’Souza STYLING BY Emma Bowen PHOTO BY Louise Lister

There are thousands of coffee brands worldwide boasting perks such as fair trade, organic, local and imported ingredients – so it’s no easy task to determine the best coffee; one that not only tastes great but has a great eco-stance as well. Coffee is a water-intensive crop that can be grown in areas with a high humidity and rainfall, but it is mostly grown in communities in the tropical jungles and rainforests of developing countries. For truly ethical coffee, choose fair trade certified, which allocates a minimum price (similar to a RRP), which is the lowest price a buyer has to pay a producer to grow their coffee sustainably. Also added is a fair trade premium, a fixed-price investment in developing the social, economic and environmental welfare of the community where the coffee is grown. It’s also a good idea to look for products marked with organic certifications, such as the Australian Certified Organic logo. Carbon neutral certification is also a wonderful logo to see on any product.

Most of the time, beans are sold to consumers in bags with air valves to release the CO2 gases, but these bags tend to be made from aluminium and polypropylene, and aren’t recyclable. The best the eco-friendly choice in terms of packaging is to select ground or instant coffee in airtight glass bottle or sealed tins, as these are the easiest to recycle – or even better, repurpose. The flavour of your coffee depends entirely on the type of bean and how it has been blended and roasted. We tested a range of organic arabica blends, which have a ‘rounder’ flavour making it the perfect choice for your morning cuppa. Robusta has a lower-quality taste and is found more prominently in instant coffee. Not everyone knows that it’s best to consume roasted coffee within 2–3 weeks of roasting, so choose coffee that has been roasted as locally as possible. And, if you’re buying a cup of coffee on the go, don’t forget your reusable coffee cup!

Clockwise from middle: Republica Organic Signature Blend – Whilst these beans do come packaged in an aluminium bag, this coffee is entirely organic and fairtrade. $10.99 (200 g), www.republicacoffee.com.au; Nature’s Cuppa Organic Freeze Dried Granules – Ok, believe us when we say this is an instant coffee that actually tastes great! With two kinds of organic certifications, our only gripe is tht it’s not fair trade certified, but the company claims to look after their growers well. $11.82 (100 g), www.natures cuppa.com; Sacred Grounds Sacred Blend – Compostable cornstarch and wood cellulose packaging, and a great chocolatey taste prove for an all-round winner. $12.90 (250 g), www.sacredgroundsorganic.com; Ewingsdale Coffee Estate Cafe Blend – These sweet and smooth 100 per cent Australian beans are grown near Byron Bay without pesticides, hand-picked and dried naturally in the sun. $20.00 (500 g), www.ewingsdalecoffee.com.au; Griffith’s Just Fair Organic Espresso Ground Coffee – Our favourite here in the GL office, Griffith’s fairtrade and organic blend is pure Arabica and is packed in a recycleable tin . $9.90 (250 g), www.griffithscoffee.com.au;; Jasper Coffee Café Femenino – Jasper employs only female workers of Penachi, Peru, raising self-esteem and reducing abuse and poverty. $13.95 (250 g), www.jaspercoffee.com

GREEN LIFESTYLE MARCH/APRIL 2014


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H E A LT H Y L I V I N G

Yin and yang

hair balance WANDER THROUGH THE HAIR CARE AISLE OF THE SUPERMARKET AND YOU’LL BE BOMBARDED WITH LABELS SHOWING ALL KINDS OF HORMONE-ALTERING PETROCHEMICALS. HERE’S SOME BETTER HAIR CARE OPTIONS TO CHOOSE INSTEAD.

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Tip: To avoid using any shampoo or conditioner at all, try applying a baking soda shampoo (one part soda, three parts water), and rinsing it out with an apple cider vinegar conditioner (one part vinegar, four parts water).

Opposite page, clockwise from middle: Argan Life Argan Beauty deluxe hair treatment serum, $40.00 (50 ml), www.arganlife.com.au; EverEscents organic lavender shampoo and conditioner, $22.50 each (250 ml), www.everescents.com.au; Vanessa Megan Tangerine Shampoo and Ylang and Mandarin Conditioner, $39.95 each (500 ml), www.vanessamegan.com; Fuente protein wellness mask, $45 (150 ml), www.fuente-australia.com/au. Clockwise from right: ecostore Ultra Sensitive Fragrance Free conditioner and shampoo, $10.95 (220 ml), www.ecostore.com.au; trilogy Smooth & Nourish conditioner and shampoo, $19.95 each (250 ml), www.trilogyproducts.com; Florame Huile Capillaire Hair Conditioner Oil, $38.00 (150 ml), and Organic Intense Shine Shampoo, $21.00 (250 ml), www.florame.com.au; Weleda Wheat Balancing Shampoo, $19.95 (190 ml), www.weleda.com.au.

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T R AV E L

TOP 10 Green sites in tropical North Queensland WITH EXOTIC FRUITS, WATERFALLS AND WILDLIFE GALORE, IT’S EASY GOING GREEN IN QUEENSLAND’S TROPICS. STORY BY Sue White

Queensland may not be home to Australia’s greenest thinking, but its plethora of natural wonders mean visitors keen on embracing some of Australia’s best eco-offerings should head north: far north to be exact. But be warned: while exploring some of Far North Queensland’s private wheels. Renting a car or campervan is the most popular option; take a few friends to split the carbon miles.

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SUE WHITE

best is possible via public transport, you’ll be hard pressed to do the best routes without


2. DRIVE THE GREAT GREEN WAY. Next, head south, along the route from Cairns to Townsville known as the Great Green Way. With 25 tropical islands off the coast, and 12 national parks on the mainland, nature lovers are spoiled for choice en route. If you’re camping (or just feel like a swim), make sure you stop at Etty Bay – the serene campground is just opposite the charming 700 m beach.

1. WANDER CAIRNS BOTANIC GARDENS. Most visitors are keen to hightail it out of Cairns, but flight schedules mean you’ll probably have at least half a day to kill here; perfect for a visit to the excellent Cairns Botanic Gardens. Tucked next to the cafe-filled suburb of Edge Hill, about 4 km out of town, the gardens showcase more than 4000 species of tropical plants. While here, make like a local and walk up the hilly Mount Whitfield Conservation Park, accessed via the back of the gardens: the shorter (red arrow) loop trail is only about 1.5 km return.

3. CHILL OUT AT MISSION BEACH. It may have been one of the hardest hit spots during 2011’s Cyclone Yasi, but to the untrained eye Mission Beach still looks a lot like coastal utopia. Between the options on and off shore, you could easily spend a week here. Walk the 14 km stretch of beach; relax on the deck of Healthy Harvest cafe with a fresh nut-milk smoothie in hand; or talk to the folks at the local environment centre, C4 (opposite tourist information), about where to search for cassowaries. >>

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Greenlifestyle sneakpeak