11 December 2015

All I want for Christmas is to change the world

This month's action is to write this blog post, to ask YOU to do something.


Would you consider taking a Small Step for Sustainability this Christmas, as your gift to me, or to someone you love more than me? Perhaps especially as a gift to someone younger than yourself, who will be living longer with the world you are creating.

Or, would you consider asking your friends to take a Small Step as their gift to you, instead of buying you something? You could direct them here for ideas.

Following are over six years of our Small Steps sorted as suggestions for you to try 'gifting':

Reduce your energy usage

Get your electrical equipment off standby; wash in cold water; use more efficient lighting (note that this is an old post and there are many more options now - see comments); boil less water; turn down your hot water heater; insulate your hot water piping.


Make changes to cool your house (and yourself) passively (turn your aircon down - or even off!)

Shade your house (1 2 3 4), put up a heat barrier (curtain), use pelmets, cool with extractor fans and various other tricks.

Make changes to heat passively

Warm yourself before you heat the room; seal up drafts; various other tips. (Particularly for those of you heading for Christmas in the northern hemisphere! You have probably noticed that cooling is a bigger issue than heating for us in Perth)

Make sustainable choices in your celebrations

Christmas (1 2 3 4); Birthdays (1 2 3); catering in general (1 2); going on holiday


Make sustainable choices about your food

Buy from a producer (try a farmers' market); use & preserve bulk seasonal fruit and veg: strawberries 1 2, plums 1 2nectarines, lilly pillies, tomatoes (bottling and making purchase choices); commit to buying local for a particular item (we chose cheese - 1 2)


Support local businesses

For school supplies and fundraising (toys & books); also ideas around food, above.

Improve water use

Consider a more efficient washing machine (or at least use the one you have as efficiently as possible);  rethink how you use water; use less water in toilets (1 2); short showers instead of deep baths; catch tap water; reuse grey water (with buckets, or with a wheelie bin 1 2)

Reduce your TV use (here)

 

Make ethical consumption choices

Fundraiser chocolates; clothes; printing; use the Shop Ethical Guide; washing powder; use libraries and buy secondhand; also all the ideas already mentioned around food and local businesses.

Be more sustainable in your garden

Grow grapevines; compost; and then compost better; drip irrigate; utilise your garden waste; use grey water (see the water section above) 

Reduce your waste

Get rid of phone books; pack rubbish-free lunches; fix instead of chuck and replace; use cloth nappies and cloth nappy wipes; use bread bags instead of nappy sacks; try no-buy no-waste toddler activities;  return unwanted packaging; rescue items from bulk waste; consider rubbish when you are buying.


Reuse materials to make new things

Verge collection beds reformed into a loft bed; room redecoration using existing materials; uses for pieces from an old washing machine
 

Make choices about your transport

Get to school without a car; car pool; consider a more efficient car; buy a bike (and/or commit to using it); rig up your bike to carry stuff; climb stairs instead of taking the lift.

 

Advocate for sustainability

Have a conversation in your household; write a blog (or share or comment on this one) - or whatever way best suits you to let others know about sustainable choices your are making; join a public demonstration or lobby people in power.

Assorted other posts

Short-form list of lots of actions from before I began blogging - lots of these are the simpler actions, so possibly a good starting place if this is all new to you;  combined blog of six months of ideas; update on how we did with our first year of commitments; Introduction to the blog, the 'one thing a month' project, and us in general.


If you just arrived here this list might look a bit overwhelming, as if we are some sort of sustainability gurus living the life. We are not. I've been writing this blog for just on six years, and we've been plodding away at improving our sustainability for some time longer than that. It all began because I was finding myself overwhelmed both by the enormity of the world's problems and by Tyson's enthusiasm for conquering them, so we decided we would take on just one thing a month. That was a slow enough pace that I thought I could manage it. Small steps. 

There are now a lot of actions documented here and I am hopeful the blog can be a resource for others wanting to take small steps.

 

Initial Time: For me, the couple of hours it took to write this post. For you: if you would like something that doesn't need a lot of your time, scroll all the way to the bottom and choose the label 'under 15 minutes'.

Initial Cost: For me, zero. For you: if you would like to choose something that doesn't cost you much money, choose the label 'under $15' for ideas.

Ongoing time or cost commitment: For me, the time it takes to answer any questions that you might throw at me as you take your Small Steps. For you: depends which Small Step you choose!

Impact: I will never know how many people read this and take a Small Step. Ideally I am hoping for a double impact: less Christmas gifts purchased AND a whole pile of individual little actions all over the world adding up to a better world. It would warm my heart to hear back from you if you do something in response to reading this. Perhaps you could even send me a photo of your Small Step (I may manage a follow-up post to report back on the impact of this Christmas action)

 

And a big smoochy thank you to everyone who reads this blog regularly. I really appreciate you giving it your time. Have a lovely Christmas season.

30 November 2015

Choose the UpCycle

What to do with all old top-loader washing machines that are no longer considered sufficiently efficient?


I've written before about upgrading to efficient washing machines but this creates a waste problem as obsolete washing machines relocate to landfill. Earlier in the year my sister bought a house that came with an old washing machine, which she replaced. Tyson has been re-using parts from that machine ever since, along with a second one he 'rescued' from the roadside on bulk rubbish.

Project one: fire drum.


This is the stainless steel drum from a top-loader washing machine removed from its casing. All those little holes keep the fire supplied with oxygen, and ensure warmth is at foot-level as well as face-level.

Tyson also rescued pieces of the electrics to use as the guts for a disc sander. That is, the spinny bits from the washing machine are now spinning a sanding disc. But it was a bit more complicated than that makes it sound - not really a straight swap.

 

He would like to add that if you are not at least a little familiar with electronics, this should not be attempted. In particular, the capacitor in an old washing machine (looks a bit like a D-cell battery) can retain enough charge to give you a nasty shock even long after the machine has been unplugged.

Some of the components of this sander, including the power switch, were amongst items salvaged from Tyson's Grampy's shed years ago, which are still being sorted through at his parents' house.
   
Smaller pieces from the washing machine were also used (along with much recycled timber) to build The Marble Run. Oh, the Marble Run... quite possibly the coolest thing in the world. Built in association with remodeling the children's bedroom without buying anything new. A photo just won't do, so here is a little video clip. See if you can spot pieces that might once have lived in a washing machine. Clue: look for metal.

video 

The timber for the Marble Run was partly left over from building the loft bed (which was in turn largely made from furniture found on the verge at bulk waste time) and partly out of the skip bin for a construction site down the road.

The casing from the washing machine now stores wood for the fire drum


The power cord was reused for the sander. Tyson also salvaged a pile of screws and other bits and pieces for future use.

I believe trendy types call this 'upcycling'. But I am not trendy so to me its just using every possible piece that can be kept out of the bin. Yes, we do have a shed full of things that 'might be useful'. In fact, two weeks ago we acquired a second shed (Thank you gift-ers!)


Of course, not everything is re-usable, even with Tyson's handy-skills. The picture at the very top of this blog shows Tyson also pulling apart the old dryer that my sister removed from her house when she moved in (even new dryers are unbelievably wasteful and, in Perth, completely unnecessary, let alone really old ones). He discovered that the metal was inferior quality - flimsy sheet metal  - and most of the dryer ended up as rubbish, although a portion is in use as a shed shelf, and smaller bits and pieces were added to Tyson's stock of construction materials.


Initial Time: Pulling the first washing machine apart sufficiently to transport it home took Tyson a couple of hours. The second machine was quicker - he had learnt a few tricks by then. Building the sander took many hours snatched in bits over weeks and weeks, but (as with many of Tyson's projects) was also an activity often shared with Small Boy (and Bigger Girl, but it mostly happened when she was at school). The Marble Run keeps getting updates and alterations. The basic straight-run sections took only an hour or two, but if all the modifications were added together it has consumed a lot of hours. Ratio of fun-had-by-children to time-spent-building is still massively on the side of fun, though. So many hours of glee.

Initial Cost: zero for the fire drum; approx. $20 for a set of ten sanding discs and $25 for a velcro pad to attach them to the sander.


Ongoing time or cost commitment: sourcing firewood for the fire drum.

Impact: 

Anything we can do to reduce our waste is a good thing, as Australian households average around one tonne of household rubbish each year. When trying to explain recently to our Small Boy why we use cloth nappies and reusable nappy wipes, I slightly exaggerated by telling him every disposable nappy we threw away was being stored up to give back to him when he was a grown-up (which he pronounces 'donut'). But its only a slight exaggeration. The stuff we put in landfill will be around for our children and grandchildren to deal with into their adulthood. Would we think differently about our waste if we could see our one-tonne-per-year growing into a bigger and bigger pile, which would be ours personally to manage along with our pensions, long after we had all turned into donuts? I certainly would, and I am someone who already thinks about waste. Perhaps I have influenced my Small Boy - last time the truck came to pick up remaining bulk rubbish from the verge he wept and howled to see it all crunched away.


By re-using materials we also reduce our consumption - the opposite end of the cycle. At the consumption end the impact is around reducing the raw materials extracted from the earth to create the objects we desire, the fuel used to transport both components and completed items all over the globe, and superfluous material used in packaging all along the way. It is easy to forget both the origin and the end point for goods we consume - as if they begin life on supermarket shelves wholly created and vanish into thin air when the rubbish truck goes around the corner. 

Because of these concerns about consumption, we would never have bought ourselves a fire drum, as its not important enough to us in the scheme of things to warrant spinning the consumption wheel to acquire one (Tyson may have eventually purchased a sander, although he says probably not). A final impact, therefore, is that we are now very much enjoying items we would otherwise have foregone.

glass of wine not pictured

26 October 2015

Children's birthdays


The world of school has brought us into the world of children's birthday parties.


How do we encourage our daughter to celebrate her friends without having to buy more and more stuff? How do we allow her to have her own birthday celebration without expecting mounds of loot as the main event?

Two years ago I wrote about celebrating birthdays when our children turned one and four. At the time, Eva's friends were still from families that we knew, who understand a little of our values around consumption and waste. Now she has many friends whose families we know only to wave to at school pick-up, and I feared we were opening ourselves to a pink plastic mountain of gifts.


Last year our birthday invitations asked people not to bring gifts, explaining that we were trying to help our children learn to value time with friends without receiving any material items. We took blankets, boxes, ropes, pegs, cushions etc to a local park and had a cubby-making afternoon and picnic.


(Of course if talking about Eva's 5th birthday we have to make mention of Grandad's amazing excavator birthday cake. Retired engineers...)


Saying 'no gifts' made last year's guests a bit uncomfortable, although they respected the request. One mum asked me a bit nervously if it was OK if her daughter made a card to give, which told me I'd come across a bit too hard-line about the gifts thing. 

So this year we opted instead to say:
We are trying to reduce our Global footprint and to help our children to ‘consume’ less, and encourage you to consider recycled, home-made or second-hand gifts, or no gift at all.
I was quite unsure about putting this on the invitations, as I did not know most of the families receiving them. However, the response was very positive. One parent thanked me for getting her thinking, and for freeing her up from needing to go and buy something. Another, who had responded by baking biscuits with her daughter as a home-made gift, thanked me for giving her a lovely activity to share with her daughter. Two families had put their heads together and coordinated gifts, so that one gave Eva some pre-loved jewellery and the other a second-hand jewellery box to keep it in.


The unexpected side effect was that there was hardly any packaging. Second hand items have already shed their useless plastic coatings! Although we had said nothing about gift wrapping, nearly everyone either presented gifts in a reusable bag, or with home-made paper. I can only assume they caught the 'vibe' and applied it to their choices for wrapping also. We continue to wrap our own gifts at home in fabric and ribbons, which we use over and over, or use hand-decorated paper (usually recycled, with random old printouts on the inside).


The actual events were mostly free play, without organised party games (which almost always involve buying prizes to distribute). Kids took home a slice of cake but no party bags. We had encouraged Eva to invite a small enough group of school friends so that she could actually enjoy her guests, and this went very well. There was much leaping on the trampoline. We split celebrations up into a number of smaller gatherings, for friends from different parts of our lives, rather than one big gathering. My experience is that bigger gatherings tend towards emphasising consumption rather than quality time, although I'm sure there are exceptions to that. As noted when I wrote about birthdays previously, we avoided single-use items like themed napkins, single-use decorations or disposable plates.

Trail of evidence suggests someone finished off ALL the fairy bread.
When Eva has been invited to other birthday parties I have gone with the social obligation of sending a gift. I try to ensure I don't give any gifts I wouldn't want to receive, applying my own values to gift selection, such as: encouraging open-ended play; reducing consumption; avoiding plastics; reducing packaging. Several times this has been a kids recipe book. Another time we sent a pre-loved game (in good condition). Eva packaged up her dressing gown as birthday gift for her best friend, because she knew he really liked it.

Best friend arrives for Eva's birthday. Excitement levels are high.
Initial Time: Zero time in requesting low-impact gifts; a little time each birthday to think through gifts and other aspects.

Initial Cost: Zero. We save money by keeping birthday stuff small.

However, saving money is not the main intent and aiming to save money on kids birthdays can lead to less sustainable choices: For example, setting a $5 or $10 gift limit (for yourself, or for others coming to your party) is likely to increase the amount of cheap plastic you give (or receive). And it is hard to see how good quality gifts costing $5 could have been produced in ways that ensure everyone in the supply chain received appropriate pay and conditions for their part in the gift getting to us. For this reason I argued for our kindy 'gift from Santa' to the kids last year to not set a cost limit, but rather to ensure the kids were all given books. Its also a reason we didn't do 'party bags' for kids to take home - because they end up full of cheap trinkets that go almost straight into the bin (or just mounds of sugar).

Ongoing time or cost commitment: Its not so much a time or cost commitment, but by being just a little different we mark ourselves into the future with these school families, putting ourselves out there as 'that family'. I hope in a good way, but its impossible to be sure.

Impact: The greatest impact was probably the conversations we started. We also continue to hope that we are modelling for our children and their friends less consumption-oriented ways to live.

I can't find any data on how much waste is generated by birthday parties, or how many birthday presents get thrown in the bin. Australians generate around 44 million tonnes of rubbish each year (almost certainly much more, as these statistics are nine years old, and the amount had doubled in the ten years before that). Even at the 2006 figures, that is about 2 million tonnes of rubbish for each of us. Every single Australian. A little under one third of the total waste is household rubbish - such as birthday party debris and broken plastic toys.

Happy Birthday lovely girl. Our favourite six-year-old.
Links: If you found this helpful, you may also be interested in my past posts about Christmas: practical ideas; changing the questions; giving things away; Baking Day.

Some other people sharing ideas for sustainable kids birthday parties: one two three

A bit of a rant about how obscene the children's birthday party circuit can be.

If you are a Melbourne person, here's a firm that do zero-waste kids' birthday parties with Trash Puppet Making Workshops.

An idea for gifts: online donation organisation that sends half the money to a chosen charity and the other half to your child, for them to buy one meaningful gift. (Another blog I read described a Canadian tradition of having two donation jars at a party instead of gifts - a gold coin in one, going to a charity; a gold coin in the other, going to the child)

12 October 2015

Sustainable catering

Last month Tyson and I organised the catering for a one-day retreat.


Back in May I wrote about taking cutlery and crockery from home to attend a conference, to avoid using the disposables provided. In fairness to the organisers of that conference, I should have noted that they were all volunteers (some of whom read this blog) and that they had made the effort to provide compostable disposables, which cost quite a bit more.

So when it was our turn to cater, we thought we had better listen to my own critique and aim for sustainable catering. Primarily, this meant not using disposable cups, plates or cutlery. We were ready to wash dishes ourselves, but set the kitchen up so others could easily wash or dry. We found that the friendly retreat participants were mostly happy to pop into the kitchen and do it themselves.


The central kitchen sink had its own hot water system. We opted not to turn it on and have it run all day, but rather to use water from the urn (a wall unit that was permanently on anyway) to top up the sinks. We provided Fair-Trade tea and coffee. We also offered a compost bin, to reduce the amount of food waste going into landfill and use it instead for our garden.


Initial Time: The set-up time was no greater. A little extra time for thinking around how to do it, perhaps.
 
Initial Cost: Zero. The cost of a few teaspoons of washing up liquid and laundry powder is negligible. There was a cost saving in not purchasing single-use items.
 
Ongoing time or cost commitment: 
Actually washing dishes was a small part of our day, shared between the three of us running the kitchen and many of the retreat participants. The chatter around the kitchen sink was a lovely community-building space.



There were small follow-up tasks, like carting the compost home to put into our compost tumbler and putting the tea-towels through the wash, but these were very minor within the overall tasks of organising the food.
 
Impact: As discussed in May, Australians use about 2.7 million disposable cups a day, and probably nearly as many plates and pieces of cutlery. In China it is disposable chopsticks that are a problem - causing deforestation to keep up with demand for tens of millions of chopsticks each year.

Catering for thirty people, we saved from both production and disposal around thirty dinner plates, thirty dessert plates, thirty bowls, sixty coffee cups, fifteen water cups, sixty spoons, thirty forks, and ten or so knives. That's a small dent in the millions used each day, but a dent none the less. 

And as often happens when we take an action in a public space like this, even quietly, it generated quite a few conversations and hopefully set people thinking at least a little about their consumption and disposal.

30 August 2015

Redecorate with what you already have

When our Big Boy recently moved out of his cot into a full-size bed, I wanted to remodel the space left in the children's bedroom. I determined to do this without purchasing any new items.


Our children's book collection had outgrown its various shelves and baskets around the house. I wanted to bring all the books together and make a lovely space. I wanted a space that made the books look inviting, at child-height, well lit, and that encouraged reading by having an attractive, comfy reading spot. 


We shifted things around to relocate two shelves that had been in other use. One of these is from Tyson's childhood, repainted with left-over black spray paint when it was moved inside about a year ago. Additional shelves and shelf dividers use strong, plain-coloured cardboard boxes.


The carpet piece was from the off-cuts pile at a local carpet store. The installers bring all their excess back to the store and it is piled outside, free to all takers. (Truly. I asked inside)


The 'reading box' is a wooden blanket box that belonged to Tyson's grandmother, for which I made a padded cover. The padding comprises pieces of foam glued together - primarily the end of a couple of long mattresses that we trimmed to fit into the camper trailer, plus some pieces from an old kitchen chair. 


This was cased within a large banner advertising a kindy event earlier in the year. The cover fabric was all in my box of odds & ends of fabric. Some of this was purchased ages ago from the off-cuts box at our wonderful local fabric store (previously used as dress-up scarves, teddy bedclothes, toy animal paddocks, dolls house furnishings, etc), some remained from projects years ago, including fabric from my wedding dress, and other bits were 'scraps' from the sewing table of a friend who recently finished a costume design course.
  

The bunting was a gift to us from that same friend, using her scraps. She also renovated the quilt on the lower bunk for me - a heritage item given to me for my first 'big bed' when I was three.


Initial Time: In all its stages, this took bits of time over more than a week. Half a day of moving stuff. Half a day of sewing. Time picking up carpets while taking Eva to a birthday party. Bits and pieces.

My trusty helper. He presses 'reverse' for me.

Initial Cost: Zero. Oh, except a donation to the friend who did quilt fixing and about $4 for a tube of glue. I tend to overlook the occasional costs of restocking materials, like glue, paint or sewing thread, that get used for multiple projects. For this project, nothing needed replacing except the glue.

Ongoing time or cost commitment: Zero. And committing not to buy a throw cushion for the box (we have SO MANY throw cushions, but I have a weakness...)

Impact: The widespread appeal of shops that sell nothing but items to fit-out a home, especially decorative rather than functional fittings, is indicative of our culture's emphasis on purchasing more and more whenever changes are desired at home. A steady stream of advertising encourages us to desire changes. The abundant piles of household items on the verge at bulk rubbish collection, many in perfectly good condition, affirms the rate at which remodeling and replacing occurs. I love beautiful things, I enjoy creating lovely spaces and I am attracted to all the options for 'improving' our home. While I can't measure an exact impact of this action, resisting the urge to go and buy, and channeling it instead into finding ways to creatively re-use what we already had, feels like moving in the right direction for me.

29 July 2015

Getting to school without getting in the car

Our Big Girl started full-time school this year (Pre-Primary). 

Best friends on the bus on the first day of school, back in February
The school is 1.6km from our house - exactly one mile. There is a very busy road to cross. However, we have committed to getting her there without getting in the car. 

Most days we take the bus. There is no 'school bus' (they are not common in Australian cities) but a public bus route picks up about a block away and drops off at the school gate.

Other days we walk, ride or scooter. We are more than halfway through the year, and we have driven less then ten times - almost all when the car was on its way somewhere else and included a school drop-off or pick-up in the same journey.

Initial Time: Walking with Eva takes about 20 minutes, plus about ten minutes for an adult to walk home again. The bus only takes five minutes of actual bus time, but by the time we walk to the stop and wait, it is a 15 minute journey all together to get to school (generally Tyson or I then walk rather than bus our way home again). After school, the bus includes a wait, and is almost always late on top of that, meaning getting home at least half an hour after school lets out, often longer. If both Eva and parent scooter or ride, its less than a ten minute trip each way, including time for tying up the bike. If Eva rides and her adult walks, its more like 15 minutes. 

Driving takes about 5 minutes, so all these options add time.




Initial Cost: Riding, walking and scootering are free (Eva's bike was a hand-me-down gift; her scooter we found on bulk rubbish and Tyson fixed it up). The bus costs 60c each way for Eva and between 60c or $2.25 for Tyson and I (depending on whether our concession is current, and whether we bus home again or walk back). If we caught the bus each way each day that could be between $12 and $28.50, but as we always mix it up with some walking/riding/scootering, and also share accompanying children on the bus with another family, in practice its more like $6 a week.

Ongoing time or cost commitment: Over the course of a year, I estimate we are spending about $240 on bus fares getting to and from school. Best case scenario we add about 1 hour a week to our travel times; worst case (lots of slow walking or waiting for late buses) we add up to 5 hours. However, this time has its own value (see 'impact'), so is not 'wasted' time in the week.

Impact: 

If we drove to and from school every day, this would be approximately 32km of driving per week. Given the stop-start nature of the trip, including a set of traffic lights that often takes a couple of cycles to get through at peak hour, the car doesn't run as efficiently for this sort of trip as is it can at optimum. Driving every trip would use around 2.72L of fuel per week - approximately $3.80 worth, generating around 7.4kg of CO2. (By comparison, this tool suggests that taking the bus would add about 3kg of CO2 to our carbon footprint, but that's a very rough estimate with many variables). In a year, allowing for some carbon footprint when we take the bus, we are saving around 270kg of CO2 each year by not driving to school.

Studies have shown that the rates of Australian school children in suburban areas using 'active transportation' (ie human-powered) to get to school have declined by around 40% since the early 1970s. In 2003, around 65% of primary and 40% of secondary school students in a Sydney study were driven to and from school, up from approximately 21% and 10% in 1971. Walking and bus-riding both declined. (Cycling was such a small number it didn't figure in the statistics, possibly because the area studied was quite hilly, However, other studies show the number of children riding bikes at all, let alone to school, is declining). If we were to postulate that 50% of Australia's approximately 3.7 million school students are driven to school every day, and conservatively estimate round trips of 1km at each end of the day for these students, that adds up to 74 million kilometres each week being driven to get children to and from school. That's over 1.3 million kg (1,300 tonnes) of CO2 being pumped into our air every week just getting Australian kids to school (much more, actually, as this doesn't allow for longer distances travelled to country schools, but I accept that in regional areas there are fewer alternate options). Taking our car off the road is a small contribution to reducing that, but hopefully we can inspire a few others to join us too. 


Not driving also addresses general traffic congestion. Everyone knows how much easier it is to get around the city when its school holidays, because there are far fewer cars on the roads. When congestion in the school carpark was a problem earlier this year, the school staggered the times of classes ending their day but never once suggested that parents could consider not driving to address the carpark problem! We can do better than that, surely?

Its not just about getting our car off the road, though - its also about getting us active. I prefer to walk or ride rather than bus because the exercise at each end of the school day is good for both me and Eva. She is a pretty active, physical person - it helps her school day a lot if she has burned off a bit of steam before arriving in the morning; it helps our afternoon tempers a great deal if she has one mile of exercise to stretch herself out after being cooped up all day, especially when wet weather has kept them off the playground. Of course, exercise is good for our general health as well!

Although I err away from the bus when I can, Eva loves it, especially as her best friend is mostly on the bus too, and they sit with admirable self assurance amidst the teenagers from our local high school who also use that bus. The after-school time playing freely on the vacant lot beside the bus stop waiting for the always-late bus is a highlight of her day (less so of mine).

There is also much intangible value in teaching our children that they can be self-sufficient. They can transport themselves to school (with adult supervision at this age, but eventually alone or with friends). In a culture that breeds dependence and, in doing so, de-skills children, this is very important. We are also teaching by example that they don't need to have a car to get everywhere, which will hopefully shape their implicit sense of 'normal' into adulthood.


Links:


Key 2012 Heart Foundation report into 'Active Travel to School' in Australia, which everyone else quotes in their articles.

Environmental Benefits of Walking (Diabetes Australia)

2011 article at The Conversation about decline in Australian children riding to school, what is causing it, why its a bad thing and what can be done to reverse the pattern.

Bicycle Network's Ride2School program

Results hot off the press for the National Cycling Participation Survey 2015 (released last week)

Cycling tips for school drop-off

Australian Bureau of Statistics article (2013) on Australian car ownership trends and implications. Gosh I love the ABS. Such brilliant, ongoing data collection and analysis.

International Walk To School (yep, that's a thing)

Walking School Bus program in Victoria and more generally

Various SA Education Department fact sheets on safe travel to school, including everything from catching a train to knowing the road markings as a pedestrian.