Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources, and one's personal resources. It is often called as "earth harmony living" or "net zero living"
As a planet it is vital that we start working towards a sustainable practices, and begin to make changes and choices that will ensure a healthy and prosperous future for generations to come.
Reducing our global Carbon Footprint and moving away from Fossil Fuels is an initiative countries all around the world are powering towards, by embracing solar, wind and geothermal energy.
In 2015, Sweden threw down the gauntlet with an ambitious goal: to eliminate fossil fuels from electricity generation by 2040 within its borders, and has ramped up investment in solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids, and clean transport. And the best part? The Swedes are challenging everyone else to join them in a race to become the first 100% renewable country.
Germany is a world leader in renewable energy and in the first half of 2018 it produced enough electricity to power every household in the country for a year. The country has also set an ambitious target to get 65% of their electricity from renewables by 2030. For a relatively cloudy country of over 80 million people, Germany is looking forward to a seriously bright future with solar energy!
Sustainable energy refers to creating energy in a way that does not deplete a natural resource - the resource is therefore renewable.
Some alternatives to using fossil fuels to generate electricity are:
A wind turbine, or alternatively referred to as a wind energy converter, is a device that converts the wind's kinetic energy (the energy that it possesses due to its motion) into electrical energy. Wind Turbines are capable of producing electricity at any time of the day or night.
Wind turbines convert the force of the wind into a torque (rotational force), which is then used to propel an electric generator to create electricity. Wind energy power stations (known as wind farms) commonly draw on the output of multiple wind turbines through a central connection point to the electricity grid. Across the world there are both on-shore (on land) and offshore (out to sea) wind energy projects.
Australia has some of the world’s best wind resources in its south-western, southern and south-eastern regions. There is good access to available on-shore wind resources and there are currently no known plans to develop offshore wind projects in Australia.
Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source for electricity generation in Australia, and its current share of total Australian primary energy consumption is currently 4.9%.
Denmark gets over half of its electricity from wind and solar power and in 2017, 43% of its electricity consumption was from wind – a new world record! That’s the highest percentage of wind power ever achieved worldwide. The country aims to be 100% fossil-fuel-free by 2050.
Incase you haven’t noticed we have a rather large energy source lighting up our world everyday - thanks sun.
Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity,
Soon, your home may be able to generate solar power from places other than your roof. As the solar market evolves and expands, companies are looking into new solar technologies aimed at spreading solar energy generation beyond traditional rooftop and ground-mount solar panels. One such idea, solar panel windows, has gained momentum recently, and could represent part of the solar market’s future.
With ample sun, Morocco decided to go big. Bigger than anyone else in the world, in fact. The largest concentrated solar plant earth is nearing completion in Morocco. With its accompanying wind and hydro plants, the mega-project is expected to provide half of Morocco’s electricity by 2020.
Conventional solar power works by converting the Sun’s light energy (or photons) into electricity but recently Australian scientists - here in Newcastle! - have been able to start using the Sun’s heat energy by focusing large mirrors towards a centre tower. Inside this centre tower are a series of tubes that carry steam. When the steam is heated even further by the Sun’s energy, it turns into a state known as supercritical steam. This supercritical steam can then be used to power generators that create electricity at the same rate fossil fuel generators create electricity - but for a fraction of the cost!
The ocean is full of energy! Most of which is generated by the wind. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed and when the wind’s energy is transferred into a liquid medium - such as the ocean - it becomes far more predictable and visual.
There are many different ways water moves around the ocean and humans can harness the energy of each process.
The tide comes in and out. It is just as reliable as the Sun coming up*! Tides are the result of the Moon’s gravitational pull. By designing two-way rotating turbines it would be very simple to harness this water movement. This method does require tides of more than 5 metres to be feasible, but this is no problem in countries closer to the equator.
*Note: the Sun does not really “come up”.
Waves pass through regularly and are three times more predictable than moving air. By harnessing their directional movement in generators we can also produce electricity.
Just like tidal and wave movement, currents can be used to harness the physical movement of water.
Harnessing the thermal energy of the ocean is a relatively new concept and works by passing warm surface water (over 20 degrees celsius) through a station which then warms an extremely volatile liquid. As this liquid evaporates it creates high pressure that is able to turn a turbine which powers a generator that creates electricity.
Marine permaculture is the ocean farming of kelp and seaweeds. It is a win/win/win/win solution when it comes to taking positive steps to help the planet. It turns out that kelp and seaweed are nature’s climate warriors and cultivating them at scale could counteract ocean acidification, climate change and loss of biodiversity.
Seaweed and kelp can also be a source of biofuel, feed for cattle and could provide food security for millions.
Marine permaculture requires no fresh water, no deforestation, and no fertiliser. It simply sets up the conditions that are needed for these natural process to take over that will help restore balance to our oceans.
Researchers estimate that if 9% of the world’s ocean surfaces were used for seaweed farming, we would be removing 53 billion tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere. The key technology required for these ocean farms comes in the form of a lightweight, latticed structure that is roughly a square kilometre in size. It is submerged about 25 metres below sea level where kelp can attach to it. Kelp forests are an amazing carbon sink and draw more CO2 from the atmosphere by area than land-based rainforests!
Revolutions in autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, car sharing, ride sharing and connected vehicle technology will radically alter the concept of how we move around in urban environments. A traditional vehicle manufacturer can no longer solely rely on manufacturing the vehicles we know today. While we have seen a significant shift in thinking, manufacturers will have to continue to focus on a broadening concept of mobility.
An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Charging an electric car can be done at a variety of charging stations, these charging stations can be installed in both houses and public areas.
Increasing automation is coming to more and more cars these days. Newer luxury vehicles already stay within lanes, maintain appropriate distance from the car ahead, park themselves, and even valet themselves to you.
It is estimated that about 1 Billion vehicles are currently on the road globally, and this number is increasing.
How many cars do you have in your family home? Does every member of the family have a car? How often does that car get used?
One of the main reasons why cars have become more prevalent and important is because it is an easy mode of transportation - we don’t need to rely on public transportation, giving us a sense of freedom and independence.
Owning a car, gives us a sense of pride, a sense of ownership and perhaps social status. If we were to reduce the amount of cars on the road we’d not only be reducing our carbon emissions we’d also be reducing the amount of space we need, roads and carparks could instead become communal gardens, reserves or allotments - increasing connectivity between us as a race, and reconnecting us with nature and nature with us.
Having shared vehicles (they don’t even have to look like cars do today) is perhaps a way for us to dramatically reduce the number of vehicles on the road?
In a changing world, these great trends are converging to a point where, in all likelihood, the private ownership of a car will become unnecessary for many. It may even become highly unusual to drive a vehicle on a public road if autonomous vehicle technology becomes widespread.
“We estimate that high level autonomous vehicles will arrive in Australia as early as 2020” - NRMA
After that, car ownership will no longer be a necessity, but a choice. Once autonomous vehicles begin to increase their share of the road fleet, we expect car ownership will decline relative to population growth. This does not mean that car use will decline. A decrease in personal car ownership may actually correspond with an increase in the use of cars as a mobility choice.
A low personal ownership, fully autonomous car future is dependent on many stars aligning, it will be exciting to see what the future for the automotive industry looks like!
Almost every country in the world faces a serious challenge due to our eating habits. Whether the challenge is undernutrition or obesity, global development efforts in areas such as poverty and disease are under threat. But what we eat also threaten the climate, life on land and life below water.
Sustainable diets are defined as those diets with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutritional security and to healthy lives for present and future generations. Healthy, balanced, diverse and sustainable diets will look different in different parts of the world, dependent on what food is available and culturally relevant.
Plant-based foods tend to have a lower planetary impact than animal-based foods. As such, as a global community, we can reduce our environmental footprint by increasing the proportion of plant-based products that we eat; as long as they are available, affordable and deliver the required nutritional needs for each individual. Sustainably produced meat and fish are valuable sources of nutrition to many communities and, in certain areas, can play a key role in landscape management and maintaining ecosystem services.
Combining technological and social shifts could see our cities looking very different to now. By building solar powered buildings, reducing the space needed for roads and carparks, increasing community spaces and community allotments perhaps our cities will look more like this?
Maybe we will see an roofs converted into CO2 absorbing gardens and more ‘living walls’ decorating our cities? Perhaps we will see an increase in community vegetable gardens and produce being shared amongst communities? We live in an amazing era for realising human potential.
What are some things you admire about your fellow elasmonauts?
The evidence is clear that empowering women and girls with education, access to reproductive health services and work opportunities can give them a better quality of life and have an enormous impact on the planet.
Educating girls and empowering women is one of the most high-impact and cost-effective ways for every nation on this planet to take positive action on climate change. By ensuring that all girls and women have access to education and family planning, they are empowered to earn higher wages, become more independent, actively manage their reproductive health and have fewer and healthier children, consequently slowing down the population growth. Population size is a key driver of demand for food, transportation, electricity, buildings and goods etc, all of which produce emissions.
Remember there is only, and only ever will be - One You.
My name is ________________________________________.
In this big universe I live on EARTH my planet is 4.5 BILLION years old.
I am one person on a planet of 7.7 BILLION human beings.
This can make me sound very small – and perhaps I am.
But size doesn’t equal importance.
And being small doesn’t mean that my actions aren’t meaningful.
It might seem odd that we finish this program with discussing failure but it is an important factor of life and certainly something we should not fear.
Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. Failure is not fun and we are not romanticising it but there are benefits to failure, you may discover you have a strong will, that your friends and family support you through set backs, you will never truly know yourself and your strength until it has been tested.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all” - J.K. Rowling
Your qualifications and your grades are not you, they do not define you.
We can fail at the things we don’t want so we might as well take a chance of the things we do.
Imagination, according to the English dictionary is;
the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.
In 1904, Tuxedo-clad audiences accustomed to somber and serious dramas were stunned by a production set in a whimsical world of make-believe, starring a band of energetic children. J.M. Barrie introduced us to a land of ticking crocodiles, fairies, pirates, and an ageless, mischievous, flying boy named Peter Pan. Neverland continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of many.
1997 marked the beginning of the wizarding world. With over 450 million copies sold, Harry Potter is the best selling book series of all time. A school with moving staircases, a sport played on flying broomsticks, this infinite magical world is one that will forever capture the hearts of both adults and children into the future.
As children we have such colourful imaginations, society often leads us to believe that we should lose this as we advance into 'adulthood'. Seeing the world through a more 'realistic' form of reality. Both the Wizarding world of Harry Potter and the eternal world of Peter Pan capture and bring forth our inner child. Here we experience joy, laughter, friendship, freedom.
This world can sometimes be overwhelming and hard to navigate. Imagination offers us a momentary escape, allowing us to join hands with your creativity. This harmonious friendship enables us to change the way we perceive the world, shaping our beliefs, sparking ideas and innovation and bring to life concepts that are yet to be sensory experienced.
It is our imaginations that allow us, as humans, to experience empathy. Allowing us to understand how others feel without ever having been in their shoes. Collective empathy is a strong intangible bond that unites us. Empathy is an igniting emotion, it breeds understanding, sparks passion and fuels change.
Through our imaginations, we are able to design, invent and create. In fact there are no limits to our imaginations and, in an era where there is more pollution, more carbon dioxide than ever before, where the extinction rate of animals is scarily high, it is essential that we use our imaginations to innovate, create and work together towards a better future.
We have the power to imagine better.
Mindful living is simply being aware of your impact, both present and into the future. Developing your own philosophies, your own set of morals and values, on how you would like to live, is the starting point of mindful living.
Education is vital in developing ourselves as individuals and us as a race. Aristotle defines education as a process of growth and development towards the fulfilment of the individuals power. It is an internal process of personal exploration and questioning, that will help fashion your own destiny.
So Stay curious, continue to learn
Strive to increase and diversify your understandings of the world around you, do your research, gather and develop your own ideas and ideals.
There are so many sustainable businesses out there working to bring about a sustainable and bright future, supporting them is a great a way make a stand.
We’ve listed a whole bunch of cruelty-free products at the bottom of this lesson.
CRUELTY FREE - Look for products and support companies that do NOT test on animals or contain any animal products.
2. RECYCLED/RECYCLABLE AND REUSABLE - Be aware of packaging, perhaps choose a product that is in a class bottle rather than plastic, or one that is made from 100% recycled plastic, or buy from businesses that minimise their waste.
3. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY - Support businesses and organisations that care for the environment, look at their company morals, values and the practices that have in place.
Change the way you think of food storage. There are so many new, innovative and environmentally friendly ways of keeping your food fresh without using plastic! You can use glass jars and buy your wholefoods (Rice, Grains, Flours) from places like Scoop in the Junction, buy fresh produce from Farmers Markets or buy locally sourced produce.
You could even grow your own food in your garden or in an allotment! Start a herb garden, create a veggie garden, adopt your own chickens for fresh eggs.
Swap with your friends and family! Let’s bring back community connectivity!
Invest in a composter, you can chuck all your food scraps in there and use the compost for your veggie garden! Win win! Setting up a compost system is a great way to get the kids involved in eco-friendly habits. See your food scraps become fertile soil to throw on the garden, and maybe even start a worm farm.
Rainwater is a valuable natural resource that has been collected by Australian households for domestic use since colonial times. Using rainwater can reduce water bills, provide an alternative supply during water restrictions and help maintain a green, healthy garden.
Reusable shopping bags
Reusable Produce bags
Keepcups - reusable coffee cups
Reusable Water Bottle
Bamboo cutlery set
Wax food wraps
Glass produce jars
We are a very throw away society, always looking for the newer option.
Take time to consider if you really need it, maybe you can buy second hand. Second hand shops often have some absolute bargains!
Can it be fixed? If it’s broken how can you fix it? Do you know someone that can fix it for you?
If it cannot be fixed can you turn it into something else? Up-cycle it! Turn your old car wheel into a veggie garden, or that tin can into a bird feeder. Pinterest is a fantastic place to look for inspiration!
Recycle everything that you! If you can’t reuse it make sure you dispose of it responsibly.
Take 3 for the sea - Pick-up any litter you see! That is one less piece that will enter the ocean. Every little bit makes a big difference.
Look after native wildlife
Volunteer work - Volunteer to help plant trees, help at a beach clean. Getting together with other members of the community over a common goal is incredibly empowering!
Lift share - Do you really need to do that 2 minute journey in the car? Can you lift share? Maybe you could walk, skate or cycle instead.
Spend time in nature!
Being organised will help you be more eco-friendly.
Meal plan - Buying unnecessary items can result in a lot of extra packaging waste, not to mention a financial waste. Check what you already have in the pantry, write a list and stick to it!
Plan your day - Are you going to do the food shopping? Write a list, check what you have, pack your jars, reusable produce bags and shopping bags. Will you be out for most of the day? If you are going out take your reusable cutlery and keep-cup with you. Maybe put together a little daily eco-warrior pack - Reusable bag, keep-cup, water bottle, metal straw and cutlery, keep it in your car or in you bag.
Thank you so much for being apart of this journey with us. We are so incredibly proud of you. We’d really love your feedback on our program, if you have a moment please complete the survey below. This helps us grow and develop as an organisation.
There are so many incredible people out their doing amazing work. If there is an area you are interested in and there will be someone doing just that.
Shoes - Etiko,
Socks - Conscious Step
Earings - Alkimi
Menstrual cups - DIVA CUP, Lunette, Organic cup, JuJu
Toothbrush - Flora and Fauna, Sea Shepherd, Green + Kind,
Toothpaste - Grants, ecostore,
Makeup - Mukti, Lily Lolo, The Physic Garden, Benecos, Inka, Raww,
Green Life Vegan food wraps (Alternatives to cling wrap)
Cleaning Products - ecostore (available in most supermarkets)