January 11

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on

Taking positive action inspires and creates a cascading effect leading to change

I keep thinking I’m doing everything I possibly can, and then someone surprises me by showing me there’s so much more that can be done to restore planetary health. Today I looked back at the last 10 days of #AYearInADay and was impressed that, together, we took 65 new actions in such a short space of time. Imagine if we truly could reach 365 NEW actions in one day – the action of a WHOLE year in one single day!

Debra Mainwaring from headspace Katoomba has posted a new action every day for the last 10 days … what an example of hope for the young people she supports!

It’s only one plastic box said 8 billion people

In one of her posts she recorded that she’d switched to using laundry sheets instead of laundry liquid or laundry powder because there’s no spillage of powder, no single use plastics, and even the box the sheets come in is fully compostable. The sheets are made from coconut which is also gentle on sensitive skin – they’re Paraben, phosphate & chlorine bleach free. The website that sells the product highlights that the ultra-lightweight product and packaging means transport pollution is decreased by 94% compared to traditional laundry detergent. What a combination of looking after our personal well being and the wellbeing of the natural systems on which we depend.

Melissa Chambers, who’s teaching with me on the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative Permaculture Course for young people this month, has also been posting a new action every day. She was inspired by Debra’s post and also ordered some laundry sheets.

For my personal action today, I did too!

Space white’s website says that they sell a range of products to help us ‘change the way we think about cleaning’ so that we can live a life without single-use plastic. Today I ordered my laundry sheets from them here and I’ll let you know what they’re like.

I love the revolving slideshow on their site which says “It’s only one plastic box/peg/bag/bottle … said 8 billion people”.

Debra’s new action in the last 10 days, now means that 3 people have changed how they do their laundry. Actions cascade through communities. Each new action can ultimately cause profound changes – we just have to start.

I personally KNOW this, but we’re hoping our A Year in a Day Citizen Science Project can demonstrate and prove this. Will you help us by taking a new action and sharing it with us. We’ll measure the outcomes over the coming year and report back. So I don’t miss anyone, please share in the comments on this blog or on our Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative Social Media

Each new action we take brings us one step closer to restoring planetary health. Let’s take more of these steps together so we can get there a lot more quickly.

If you’re struggling to think of what to do, here’s a list of the 65 actions taken in the last 10 days:

A Year in a Day

January 1-10

Working towards 365 new actions in one day to achieve the action of a whole year in one day

January 1

• Removed seeding broom plants at Rhododendron Gardens Blackheath to stop its spread into bushland

• Committed to not printing, by writing details of references I need in my notebook, or taking a photo

• Separated all the plastic bags we had under the sink, and collected the ones we could take back to dedicated recycling stations at Woolworths

• Deposited old coffee grounds on a dead bit of garden bed. In the future we’ll also be able to put some food scraps on top to make a small compost pile!

• Planted seeds in my home garden and food forest including pumpkin, watermelon, rock melon, lab lab, cowpea, chickpea, beans, buckwheat, scarlet runner beans, beetroot, basil, carrot, spinach, loofah, amaranth and strawberry plants

• Replaced old bed linen with bamboo – more sustainable fabric, anti-microbial, super soft, easy to wash in cool water, quick dry on the washing line, and loving the rose pink colour on sale. Old sheets repurposed as dust sheets, shoe cleaners, and window cleaning.

• Watched a very interesting programme on ABC this morning regarding consumerism and other ways to live with less stuff. “Too Much Stuff” via Compass is very well presented, with lots of practical information. Might be of interest to some people. Available via this link: https://iview.abc.net.au/video/RN2011H020S00

• Watered the herbs I’ve planted as a bee terrace – the plan is to add more flowers and a wall with nesting sites for native bees

• Left large, designated plots of weeds – dandelions etc around our beehives or in our garden for pollinators

January 2

• With the help of Blue Mountains Garden Groupies, compiled a list of wildlife-compatible edibles we can grow in the Blue Mountains without netting to encourage more food growing; and created a three course meal with these locally grown edibles.

•  Installed a long overdue connection between our rainwater tank and the toilet inlet. Installed by local DB Plumbing in Blackheath.

• Removed black eyed Susan and some asparagus fern & tended to veg/herb patch in a friend’s garden, and later in my garden I planted a packet of flower seeds as a bird attractant.

• Personal- go for a swim; Social – pray for a friend who has shingles; Environmental – fill up our new veggie plot with composted green waste

•  Switched to using laundry sheets instead of laundry liquid or laundry powder. No spillage of powder, no single use plastics. Even the box the sheets come in is fully compostable. The sheets are made from coconut, gentle on sensitive skin – Paraben, phosphate & chlorine bleach free. The ultra-lightweight product and packaging means transport pollution is decreased by 94% compared to traditional laundry detergent. https://www.spacewhite.com/au/

•  Inoculated a collection of sticks with Wine Cap Mushrooms and covered with wood chip to break down and build soil to recreate a terrace to slow, sink and spread water including some of the grey water from our washing machine.

• Tea leaves and coffee grind for the garden; buying second-hand, and today trying to reduce emails in the inbox (digital footprint)

• Added egg cartons and coffee grounds to our worm farm

January 3

• Started using refillable fountain pen instead of ink cartridges and biros

• Recently started propagating plants for my local Landcare group! These will be planted in farms from next spring. I’m excited to be taking this action to help combat climate change, repair degraded landscapes, and protect our native species!

• Treated crocosmia today by weed wiping before it puts out flowers. Slowly reducing the population.

•  Dug and levelled a new home for these second hand raised garden beds that I picked up from someone locally, ready for some home-grown veggies.

• Posted a glass door that is surplus to requirements after we built our greenhouse. The link is on Facebook in the ‘Buy nothing – Blackheath, Medlow’ group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/buynothingblackheathandsurroundsnsw/permalink/529604484663617

• After reading the blog I was reminded about the refillable markers. We were needing some new dry erase markers, so I ordered some right away! I was also so inspired by your fountain pen use that this morning I went and dug out the calligraphy pens and inks that I used as a kid and started using them (even the inks are still good after sitting around for over 25 years!)

• What a lovely idea. I have my father’s very old ink pen. He’d love to know it still has environmental cred!

• Completely regenerated a section of my garden and part of the driveway by planting a large selection of native plants and a few non-invasive exotic ones. I used tubestock to make it more affordable. It has been a long while since I have been able to devote a whole day in the garden. It has lifted my mood – I am so looking forward to noticing the changes in wildlife and the emergence of new shoots and flowers.

• Added hessian coffee sacks as pathways between our vegetable garden to keep weeds down

January 4

• Boiled thermos and used it all day for cups of tea to reduce energy – grid and mine; planted lemon verbena and mint at Planetary Health site; shared article on sustainable Ajiri Kenyan tea and Blue Mountains City Council’s electric kettle animation

• We’ve had a cooking roster running for a few months now and today, as I dropped yet another cucumber into the compost, I decided it was time to extend that into actually planning the shopping around what we intend to eat. So today I’m working on that.

• I had lots of fun decorating this Street Library with quotes from my favourite authors…even adding bling 💎 looking forward to #buildingcommunity sharing my book collection with others. My clever husband has even designed a way of making it secure while creating another mini planting space for cacti 🌵 and succulents- so excited by our teamwork 💚

• Today I have subscribed to purchasing bamboo paper towel and laundry detergent sheets online via a company called @spacewhite_eco

• Took large water container and cups when out with the grandkids so they didn’t have to buy water in plastic bottles and this also started a dialogue around planetary health

January 5

• Accelerated succession to planetary health by mentoring permaculture teachers and teaching our first ever online Permaculture Design Course in order to reduce spread of Covid

• Today was my first day involved in co-teaching a permaculture design course collaborating with an amazing group of people.

• Shared photo of Acacia species seedlings which I have growing – they are excellent Nitrogen fixers!

• Replaced all toothbrushes with bamboo ones. Bamboo is a sustainable plant, easily grown and replaced without fertiliser. Although the bristles on the head of the toothbrush are plastic these can be removed and recycled. Alternatively, I have decided to write on the bamboo when it needs replacing and use it as a cleaning instrument for the grout in the bathroom. When the plastic no longer functions, I will use it as a plant marker or place in the compost heap – it may take a while to break down but it’s still better for the earth than throwing away plastic toothbrushes.

•  Picked up rubbish whilst out walking – making sure we had hand sanitizer in our bags

January 6

• Forked and loosened 6 square metres of compacted soil at the top of the old Katoomba Golf Course to allow water and air to begin building soil to create a slow-release sponge to protect life and protect our City against drought and bushfire; shared info about Swampcare

• I finally got the plumber in to set up a pump (electric) and tap on my rainwater tank so that when it does stop raining, I’ll be able to water veggies etc with stored rainwater.

•  I have replaced paper towels with a range of beautiful handmade cloths that can be washed and reused while also supporting a small business connected to Buy From a Bush Business which is building a wonderful community 💚 Here are some of them on my washing line. They cleverly connect together with poppers so that you can store them ready to use on a roll.

• Today was my first day teaching and facilitating a session in an actual permaculture design course. Gratitude to Lis Bastian, Meg McGowan and Robin Clayfield for allowing to use some of their content to facilitate our course going ahead in an online format.

• Put a second re-usable Husky cup (recycled from coffee husks) in the car for use of water or takeaway coffee/drinks

January 7

• Tackled procrastination to become a Citizen Scientist; registered for Frog ID app; identified Eastern Marsh Frog through FB; and shared pond building instructions

• Teaching the soils units on Friday for the online Permaculture Design Course was an absolute joy and was a very new action for me 

• Today I am sharing this free online conference event R-future arranged by @thepermaculturestudent, running from 10th-17th January bringing together over 50 speakers to discuss ways to make a regenerative future. Http://R-Future.world

• I have a heap of cardboard boxes left over from Christmas, so I have decided to upcycle it and reuse It in my garden. It will provide compostable material, kill pesky weeds, and develop a bumper crop of earthworms. I am hoping that the cardboard in the garden will also kill lawn grass and help me get a new bed ready for veggies. Cardboard is just a form of paper and comes from a natural source, trees. As a natural source, it will break down and release carbon into the soil. I also plan to use it to start a garden path. Read more at Gardening Know How: Cardboard Garden Ideas – Tips on Reusing Cardboard For The Garden

• Harvested potatoes. There are always too many and far too many usually end up in the compost…but not this year! I spent a day making and freezing roast, jacket, chips and hash browns. They are all just-cooked which means you can cook them from frozen! Ready meals.

• Today I read some of Costa’s World and learned more about composting!

• Used net produce bags, homemade shopping bags from leftover materials

January 8

• Reduced food waste by making yoghurt with of out-of-date cream.

• Today’s action was to support our #koala population that was devastated during the bushfires. Thank you @scienceforwildlife

• Today I baked some candied ginger cookies for my mum for her birthday instead of purchasing a treat.

• Purchased foods (fruit and vegetables) in bulk not in plastic

January 9

• Sons were diagnosed with Covid so I made dumplings as comfort food. Instead of buying a pack of imported gyozas as we usually do I made them from scratch. They were vegan, reduced packaging waste, and used all home-grown ingredients, reducing demand on supply chain while people are sick.

• Now running our new electric vehicle on 100% Green Energy (when using locally) from excess rooftop solar production from our house.

• Took advantage of the cooler weather to rearrange my home office for more natural light and better airflow around my desk 😊 Today I might make potstickers!

• Created a Kiva loan for a woman who has created a micro business to support her family. https://www.kiva.org/lend-by-category/loans-to-women?page=3

• Mulched the moat around the mound of some fruit trees with wood chip to help retain water and encourage mycelium fungi growth.

• Composted all food scraps into compost bins

January 10

• Salvaged mistakes: sourdough that poured over stove because I forgot to put it in the fridge; potatoes that had sprouted months ago; and made broad beans on purple potato gnocchi in sage cream sauce with salvaged cream yoghurt and sage

• Buying all our fruit and veggies locally to make dinner from them, and our garden edibles.

• Shared info on how to make and use cloth sanitary pads

• Developing a complete permaculture design for our home zone 0 to solve for many issues that we have with the needs of 5 adults in a relatively small home.

• As there’s been a great crop of blackberries this year, I’ve been cooking them in lots, freezing the cooked portions in takeaway boxes, for future blackberry and apple crumble. We don’t buy takeaways as a rule but there still are a few boxes around for some reason.

• Cooked excess vegies into soups, pesto, quiches to freeze 


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