SLF Fun in the Sun

We had a great day out today, and just got back from the Sustainable Living Festival a few hours ago.  Ben and I left at 0900, picked up our friends, David and his son Liam, and headed off to Federation Square.

We arrived at about 10am, and did a lap of the green market place that took us about and hour.  There were so many stallholders with information and goods, that we just had to stop and talk to most of them.

At 11am we stopped at the presentation under the gum trees, and listened to a talk about Permaculture in the Suburbs.  This talk was given by a bloke called Dan Palmer, who was one of the originators of the Permablitz concept and a founder of Very Edible Gardens.  It was great and I learnt a few things that I will put into practice like growing my own mulch, and the benefits of ducks! By the time I swung around to take a picture of Dan, Pete the Permie jumped in his spot and started to present ‘How to make apple cider’.  I should have hung around but the kids were hungry, so we skipped this one.

So we popped down the the food area, and both Ben and Liam had a non-dairy ice-cream which they said was very yummy, and on the way back we washed it down with a glugs of water from the tap.  We then had lunch which consisted of a veggie burger.  It was delicious.  We sat and talked for a while before heading off to the next presentation.

Then it was into the BMW Edge theatre where we waited for 15 minutes whilst a small army set up for the next presentation.  This was titled ‘The Great Australian Home Retrofit’ presented by Beyond Zero Emissions.  They believe that instead of giving part of the Carbon Tax proceeds back as cash to householders, it should be given as a rebate to entice people to retrofit their homes and make them more energy efficient, therefore providing a longer term benefit via reductions in energy bills.  Fair point, I reckon.

They had managed to make a set that looked kinda like a home and showed everyone how easy it was to retrofit the building fabric with insulation, double glazing, window awnings, and draught proofing around doors and gaps.

They changed appliances, light fittings to LED, and even swapped out the gas stove for an induction stovetop.

Then it was champagne all round for a job well done.

It was about 2pm so we had about 30 minutes to kill.  David was convinced that he needed to find out more info about solar hot water, so we found a vendor and got a few pamphlets of information so he could digest it later.

We stopped outside the fix it tent where one could take a broken item and learn how to fix it.  This tent was powered by a small PV array.  I talked to one of the guys who was looking after it, and he said that the 600 watt system was enough to power this tent all day.  I initially thought that the inverter was a bit of overkill, however as it was totally off-grid it also had the storage batteries in the big white box.  A nice portable system for this kind of event.

By this time David and Liam needed a coffee and hot chocolate respectively, so we waited for the slowest barrista in Melbourne (so David told me) whilst his coffee was made in a fully decomposable coffee cup.  The coffee was nice as well, being organic, fair trade.

Then it was on to my favourite part of the day.  It was off to see Michael Reynolds for the second year in a row.  The auditorium was packed to capacity and people were even sitting in the aisles.  The Garbage Warrior put on quite the presentation, and he was funny, enlightening and inspirational.  The guy and his team (Biotecture) travels the world making Earthships, which he calls Sustainable Autonomy For Everyone, or SAFE for short.  A fantastic building concept that uses recyclable materials and is fully self sustaining.  You can even grow you own food within it.

I had a great day, as did everyone else and I will certainly go again next year, however I am going to lock away the entire weekend.  The reason I didn’t go to some presentations on Saturday was because I was presenting my own workshop for the Melton Sustainable Living Group called “Building a Worm Farm”, but more on that in another post.

I was reflecting today after I listened to Dan give his talk under the gum trees that this weekend charges my sustainable batteries for the year, and it gives me renewed hope that we will indeed solve the big issues of our time, in time.  Just being among so many like minded people gives me the strength to keep on fighting the good fight, and to continue to promote this way of life as a solution for reducing our environmental footprints.  Next time I write a post about doom and gloom, can someone please remind me that there are so many of us out there trying to make a difference, that all is not hopeless, and to reflect back upon this post! Or just kick me in the pants and tell me to get a grip.  Either way will work!  

So did anyone else from Melbourne manage to get along to this event, and if you did, what did you think of it?


  1. Anonymous says

    I wish I had known about this event earlier. I managed a few hours there on Friday but would like to have attended a few more talks. I attended a permaculture talk, a Permie Pete talk on heritage fruit and at a more macro level, ‘Growth or Crisis: is there another way?’

    Thanks for the heads up Gavin. I wouldn’t have known about this if you hadn’t mentioned it


  2. says

    Sounds like it was a terrific event. I used to go to the Sustainable Living events when they were at Jeff’s Shed years ago, when I was still living in Melbourne. It looks like it has grown a bit!

    Looking forward to hearing about your workshop and how it went :)

    • says

      It has grown a little since it was at Jeff’s shed. It has a great format, and the workshops and presentations are pitched at the right level on understanding. I should present something myself next year, what do you reckon?

  3. says

    We live out in the middle of whoop whoop and I appreciate you bringing all this information to those of us that cant get there. I have often wondered why the money from the carbon tax wouldn’t be recycled back in the form of subsidies in order to help us use less power. Glad there are people out there doing the research and hard work. Thanks for all you do.

  4. says

    That sounds like a brilliant day out. Looking forward to Perth doing something similar. I live in hope. Meanwhile you have reminded me that I was going you investigate joining Permaculture West to support all things green and western! Thanks for the great post. As a new reader I am learning loads from your blog – you are a great source of inspiration.

  5. Sarah R says

    I went for a couple of hours yesterday, and wished I’d had more time. It was very inspiring, and I particularly liked the fix it shed – I wished I’d been able to bring a broken lamp with me. I was also impressed to find Green Renters, since so much is geared towards people who own their own homes.

    • says

      ditto, more time would have been great! The green renters have been around for a few years, but are not that well known. I think I might do a post on them and what they do, maybe even a podcast if I can get hold of them.

  6. says

    and there are a lot of us out here that just need someone to show us the way to reduce our destructive impact on Mother Earth! You’re doing fine! Enjoyed the learning experience through your eyes!

Comments build lively communities. Let me know your thoughts, but keep it clean and green! Spam is removed instantly.