I spent the time between April 2010-Feb 2011 travelling and volunteering around the world. It was a year where I challenged myself to live a little differently and experience things outside my comfort zone. Since coming back, I have embarked on a Creative Journey..to share some of the experiences from my year on the road and to discover a more artistic side of myself. This blog documents my new Creative Journey...
We are excited to be facilitating an event in Parramatta to help grow solar usage in Parramatta. The event is targeted toward enabling the community, business and solar installers get involved in the solar revolution. All information in the attached flyer.
Today, Solar Citizens launched the Stand Up for Solar campaign in Sydney. In a country as sunny as Australia, it is unthinkable that we are still fighting for the right for solar power. While our politicians believe that coal is good for humanity, the general public believes otherwise. In fact, over 1.3 million Australian households have already invested in solar power and this number is growing daily.
There was quite a buzz in the air as the event got going. The room was packed but the majority of people there were already solar converts. The idea was to galvanize the audience to spread the word, sign petitions in favour of a realistic Renewable Energy Target (RET), form alliances and keep working in their communities. A number of speakers from industry specialists to community activists were on hand to share their stories. We learnt that the government might have inadvertently given solar a boost with their $20,000 tax write off for small business expenses. These businesses could potentially use this write off to invest in solar. However, a number of threats to the expansion of solar power still exist. The paltry feed-in tariffs are not a great incentive. Even those who got in early and are on a more favourable rate will lose this soon. There is a possibility that electricity retailers could increase the fixed cost of electricity further undermining the uptake of solar.
Also on show at the even was one of Australia’s first electric-powered luxury cars – the Tesla. These vehicles are taking off around the globe but are still way beyond the reach of most people. With a range of approximately 440km and a charging network that is now being rolled out in Australia, the future looks promising. People were also excited to see the Zero electric motorcycle which is not only charged by solar panels, it can also be used as a battery to store excess solar energy. The solar industry is growing exponentially. Have you joined the revolution or are you willing to take the risk of being left behind? Are you an early adopter or are you a laggard?
I have been engaged by a local Council to work on a
documentary photography project, ‘You Are
What You Waste’.The project is
right up my street, as it not only involves some creative photography, it
involves aspects of sustainability. This project is a collaboration with the NSW
EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative
funded from the waste levy.
Currently more than 800,000 tonnes of food waste is thrown
out each in NSW; that’s more than 1.3 of our household rubbish. This project
explores food and packaging waste and will help identify the benefits of
reducing organic waste going to landfill and contamination in the
Participating households are required to retain all of
their food waste and packaging during the course of a week.They are also required to keep a record of
their household expenses on food, and shop for the same groceries at the end of
that week.Then, together with Council
officers, PolisPlan will photograph and document the food they consumed and the
waste they generated.
Four households have signed up for the project. After this
exercise is carried out all households participate in a workshop designed to
teach them techniques to reduce waste and the process will then be repeated. They
are given a handy toolkit with lots of goodies such as reusable lunch bags and
recipes to help them develop good food habits. Many of those who have put up
their hands for this project are already very aware of the issues related to
food waste.Some of the households are
already using worm farms and compost bins, so their action plans will be more
While most Australians are good recyclers, many people
don’t realise that a large part of their ecological footprint is as a result of
the type of food consumed.By choosing
food that has less packaging, has not travelled vast distances and has been produced
in a sustainable way, we can help reduce our footprint.This project will give people access to a
list of the closest farmers markets and one of the families pledge to shop more
at such places.
It is an interesting project to work on and we are excited
about the variety of projects that we are getting involved in. We have also
offered to prepare some infographics and put together a documentary video that
will animate some of the still images and convey the story graphically.
It has been a privilege to be
selected to work on the Pink Sari Project. I was surprised to hear that Indian
and Sri Lankan women (aged 50-74) in NSW have one of the lowest rates of
participation in the BreastScreen NSW program. The NSW Multicultural Health
Communication Service together with BreastScreen NSW and the Refugee Health
Service are working hard to increase this statistic and the photographic
exhibition that will be held later this year is one means of communicating this
message. The project is funded by the
Cancer Institute of NSW.
The project has engaged ten
photographers of Indian and Sri Lankan backgrounds to work with and take
portraits of a breast cancer survivor from the subcontinent.The objective of this project is to increase
awareness of the low mammogram rates in the community and to share success
stories that will empower Indian and Sri Lankan women to take charge of their
I’ve been paired with Maina
Gordon, a breast cancer survivor who lives close to me. She has lived with MS
for the past 20 years, been diagnosed with and survived breast cancer and
undergone a bi-lateral mastectomy. Despite these set backs, I found a cheerful
woman, who continues to contribute to society through her professional work as
a solicitor and as a volunteer. Her story inspires me.
One of the images I shot was
of Maina holding an item that helped her through the tough times. She has
picked a book from the author Ekkhart Tolle. His book, The Power of Now is one
that inspired me during a low time in my own life where I was searching for
answers. This is only one of many similarities I found in Maina. We are only a
few years apart, we come from the subcontinent, and we both have a passion to
live life to the fullest!
An photographic exhibition of
the images from this project will be launched in August. For now, all I can say
is, if you are over fifty and have not had a mammogram, then it is time to do
Steven and I are always putting up our hands to try new things, so it’s not a wonder that we are here at the Narara Ecoburbia Festival, running a stall. The day started out with a bit of rain but by the time we arrived at the school grounds in Narara it was promising to be a great day. In addition to the books and a few images, we brought with us the banners we had recently designed and made at Office Works. They were a great way to quickly transform a space and make it our own.
The festival was soon buzzing. There were an amazing variety of stalls from palm readers and massage therapists, the eco chic stand, loads of great food, entertainment for the kids and information stalls that ranged from environmentally friendly pest control to ecovillages in Tasmania. Scilla and her partner Trevor were running the Tassie stall and we connected with them both instantly. Scilla gave us lots of great information about the collaborative arrangements in Tassie and invited us to come visit once we got on the road.
The keynote speaker at the event was Elizabeth Farrelly and she spoke on the theme of why we need to become village people again –her an alternative to suburbia. She describes a place that is small, local, walkable, pretty and sustainable. She mentions Ed Glaeser’s definition of the city as “the absence of space between people”, and takes us down a path where I begin to imagine the cute villages in England. Cafes where everyone knows your name, public art, fountains, places to sit and chat with friends! While your private space may be a lot smaller, life spills out to the streets, where there is plenty of variety to be found. We had found many such places in our travels in Europe and had loved them. Elizabeth concludes her talk, with a desire to see some of this happening in the ecovillage being built in Narara, and everyone applauds.
We had an enjoyable day. We took turns at looking after the stall and when it was my turn to wander, I had loads of fun with my camera.
Our stall drew quite a few visitors, including Karl Fischer, a visiting professor from Berlin who has come here to do research at UNSW. Our conversation lengthened and we ended up giving him a lift to Hornsby, and promising to catch up once again before he left for Berlin. As always, one of the best outcomes of being part of events such as this are the connections you make and the Ecoburbia Festival was no exception!
This weekend was a big day for the kids in Hornby Shire. It was the annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic and despite some sporadic rain, they came in droves. There were over a thousand people and the kids had a ball. From the face painting to the hula hoops being swirled around there was lots to do. Many people brought along a picnic and enjoyed a day out with the family.
I volunteered as one of the official photographers on the day and enjoyed taking photos of a wonderful community event. Well done, to the Friends of Lisgar Gardens who in collaboration with Council put together a wonderful event.