The words green and sustainable often go hand in hand with the word future. It seems we are all working towards a better future, a greener future, a more sustainable future. Often is feels that everything is about generations to come, our sons and daughters, and their children’s children. But what about the here and now? When we turn our minds and our practices towards being green, being environmentally aware and considerate, what are the benefits that will be coming our way?
Most of us struggle to commit when we don’t see some sort of immediate benefit, or at least change pending on the horizon. Why work towards something when you’re unlikely to see the result?
Sometimes we need a little reminder of why we are doing something. So as we farewell our inaugural ‘Green Getaway’ tour, let’s take a look at some of the immediate benefits of taking on a greener lifestyle. Let’s see just what is possible to achieve when we adopt green practices and embrace green initiatives:
By investing in re-useable items (drinking bottles, containers etc) we can cut down on the costs of household consumables. Great for our pocket as well as the environment. It’s also possible to reduce our power and water bills. By installing water saving faucets, timing our showers, collecting rain in water tanks, using dual flush toilets correctly, and selecting the eco cycle on our dishwasher and washing machine, we can reduce our impact on nature and save money. Everyone loves an extra dollar in their pocket – small changes at home can lead to big change in the bank!
Support service Beyond Blue reports that ‘the effects of living in a “green” environment cannot be underestimated’. An environment that is filled with green spaces fulfils our emotional, psychological and spiritual needs. People who routinely connect with green spaces show a range of psychological benefits including improved mood, lower levels of anxiety, lower stress levels and lower levels of depression. Visiting green spaces leads to increased physical activity, weight management and social connection with others. It turns out that green spaces are good for your heart, good for your mind and good for your soul. Being happier and healthier – surely that’s enough of a reason to get planting!
So it is possible to see immediate change in our everyday lives when we take on green practices. We can also see the immediate effect our green practices are having on the environment. Through our association with Greenfleet we are learning of amazing changes that can, and have been occurring within a few short years. Greenfleet reports many success stories but as an example we can look at Battery Creek in south east Victoria. The project began in 1999 and over 10 years 44,000 seedlings were planted on a once bare hill. Now the trees stand more than two storeys high, and the area is alive with biodiversity. Where once there was just barren landscape, now there is a forest that breeds, supports and nurtures local fauna and of course us as human beings.
A forest is an amazing thing. Around 30% of the world is forested, and these areas do so much for our people and our planet. They filter water, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, provide habitat for animals and of course, provide us with oxygen! Maybe getting our hands dirty and contributing to planting a forest is a change that we should all be working towards. For the greater good of the earth but also, closer to home, for the immediate enjoyment and well being of our communities. Maybe the ‘here and now’ effect or change we are searching for is this, something that we can see and have a hand in planting.
Recently we learnt of the story of Faye’s Forest, a memorial forest that is a celebration of a life and the lasting legacy of one woman and her family. You can read more of Faye’s story here. It is a poignant tale that had us all heading home to tend to or create a green space for ourselves and for future generations. Our own personal eco footprint to leave behind.
Creating green spaces has never been more important, and that is what we will be doing over the coming days. Our Green Getaway tour departed today and as part of the itinerary we will be teaming up with Greenfleet to plant trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve near Bundaberg. The Low Glow Collaboration began last year with the planting of 80,000 trees to create a light buffer and ensure that turtle hatchlings from the nearby Mon Repos rookery could find their way to the ocean rather than following artificial light and perishing. This year, the year of the reef, Greenfleet and their partners, The Walt Disney Company Australia and The Princes Trust Australia, will see an additional 5000 trees planted. Prince Charles will be visiting the site in April and we are proud that Fun Over Fifty and our guests are making a contribution. This project is already having a positive effect on the local turtle population and should see even greater results in the coming years. You can read more about the Low Glow Collaboration here and how you can help here.
Good luck to our Green & Gold Army! You are the first in what we see as a long line of Fun Over Fifty nature warriors doing good by Mother Nature for change both now and in the future. That’s an amazing thing! We hope that you have a great short break away, and we look forward to seeing a few photos of you with your green thumbs in action.