In 2018, with an 18 month old on my hip and 3 year old following close by, I started hearing from David Attenborough about the 2018 IPCC Report “Global Warming of 1.5C”. On reading it, I felt a strong and urgent sense of duty to do what I could to work towards a safe future for my precious children.
And so our household’s journey towards net zero began. It’s an ongoing journey and one that’s faced the challenges of the busyness of life as business owner and family of four.
So what steps have we taken?
1.We installed solar panels on the roof
o Click here to read more about our solar system
2. We subscribed to the Clean Energy program with Ergon
o Click here to read more about the Clean Energy Program
3. We purchased a preloved PHEV car
o Click here to read more about our car
4. We replaced our light fittings with LEDs
5. We electrified our cooking appliances
o We had a gas cooktop which we loved cooking with but the emissions associated with LNG were something we wanted to eliminate so we recently installed a Siemens Induction Cooktop which we love!
7. We have reduced our meat and dairy intake
o We are flexitarians and consider farming practices and sustainability practices in the production of any meat and dairy we do eat. We are pretty considerate of the provenance of everything we eat these days.
8. We buy most things second hand
o Unless it’s underwear, we try to source all of our clothes, toys and household items from second hand stores, vintage boutiques, facebook marketplace and gumtree
9. If we can’t find it second hand we buy high quality, sustainably sourced wherever possible
o When our washing machine finally died recently, we agreed that we should purchase a brand new one so that we could buy a high quality brand known for longevity and a model with high water and electricity efficiency ratings. Another thing that’s been hard to find second hand is men’s clothing so we’ve found some brands that use hemp or recycled materials in their production process.
10. Reducing food packaging by buying from the markets and bulk food stores
o Our weekly trip to Rusty’s ensures that we can purchase with the least amount of packaging. We always keep an eye out to make sure we are buying local where possible and we finish our trip off with a visit to Source Bulk Foods where we buy all of our dry goods packaging free.
11. We use a Bokashi Bin
o This has been a real game changer! We never had much luck with our compost heap until a friend recommended a Bokashi Bin into which you can place all food scraps including vegetable scraps, meat, dairy, bread, citrus – everything! You then put a sprinkling of inoculated sawdust and once it’s full, after a couple of weeks you can mix it into your compost heap. Our compost has never looked so good!
12. We’ve planted a vegetable patch to grow our own food
o This is a big one for our family. I’ve never liked gardening and I was fairly talented at killing plants but when I read about the emissions associated with transporting food, I decided to give it a go. Now we have 4 big garden beds with rotating crops of cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, beans, corn, spinach, herbs and lettuce. We also have a few fruit trees including a banana which was so exciting to harvest with the girls last year. The added benefit is that my children snack on “garden food” all day!
13. We switched our banking to an ethical, carbon neutral bank
o We chose to switch our banking to Bank Australia because of it’s Carbon Neutral Accreditation and their Clean Money Policy
14. We moved our Superannuation to the Ethical option within our fund
o We are still looking at the ethical super funds but haven’t been able to make a final decision on one yet so in the interim, we have moved our funds to the best option available within our current funds.
15. We’ve stopped Flying unless absolutely necessary
o This is the absolute hardest commitment we’ve had to make. We have always loved adventures and traveling has been a huge part of our lives. We have family that live as far away as the Northern Hemisphere and everywhere in between. But we’ve learned that reducing commercial flying is one of the most impactful things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. If we do have to fly (like for a family wedding last year for which my husband and my daughters were in the bridal party) we offset our flights. The silver lining of this commitment is that we’ve holidayed more in Queensland and discovered some of the magnificent jewels it has to offer.
We haven’t reached zero emissions yet and the next step will be to calculate our residual carbon footprint and offset it. We are proud of what we’ve achieved and our motivation remains that we want to be able to, with integrity, tell our children we did everything we could to protect their future.