Saturday, January 8, 2011

What is sustainaburbia?

So why sustainaburbia i hear you ask. Well, I guess Amy and I have become a bit obsessed with sustainability in the last few years. Everything we do we try to ask ourselves "what is the impact of this on the planet?". I think that's the way everyone should think, but obviously it's not (or we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now). Anyway, we've learnt a few things about how to live sustainably in the suburbs and we'd like to share this with you.

We live in Perth, Australia which is supposedly the major city in the world most vulnerable to climate change and peak oil. There are a few reasons for this, such as the fact that it is the most isolated city in the world (2,700 kms to Adelaide), which means imported products travel a long way; low rainfall (700mm a year in Perth, 350-450mm in most of the wheatbelt), 80% of which falls in the 3 months of winter; very poor soils for growing food (most people outside Australia would just call it sand!), with very low nutrient levels and very poor water retention. So growing fruit and veges is a struggle, with a high dependency on petroleum based fertilisers and lots of food imported. Also, large areas of WA are prone to salinity, which is degrading farm land where cereals and grains are grown. So, Perth could become what Tim Flannery calls "the first ghost town in Australia" due to climate change.

Some people who get really into sustainability leave the city to buy land in rural areas to grow their own food, etc. and good luck to them. We're sometimes tempted to do the same, but I think cities need people who are passionate about and committed to sustainability. We'd like to think Perth can survive and we're gonna stick it out and try to make the city a vibrant, productive, connected, sustainable place to live, not just for us but for future generations. We live on a 700 square metre north-south sloping block, with a 1960's single brick veneer 2x1 home. We have retro-fitted photo-voltaics, rain water harvesting (14,000L tank), solar hot water, solar pergola, productive gardens with about 20 fruit and nut trees, lots of veges and chooks and more....

I'll get off my high horse now. We truly hope you enjoy this blog. Amy will mostly write about the community oriented stuff and I'll write about the geeky spreadsheet stuff. We'll both write about the garden and family stuff. Our son Quincey won't write (he's 4), he'll just look beautiful in the photos.....

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog A n A, and nice beetroot too - I'm envious! Did you mean Tim Flannery??!