Adapting to Climate Change

As we enter early Autumn, after what has been a long and hot, dry summer, El Nino continues to bite and wreak havoc with the weather patterns and rainfall cycles across south-eastern Australia and elsewhere. High temperature records for recent months have not just been broken, they have been smashed! And as Summer rolls into Autumn, here in Melbourne we are facing a forecast for a week of heatwave temperatures, with little rainfall or relief in sight. But as a catalyst for change – such conditions can make us think more deeply about how we can plan for the gardens and the…

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

  One of my favourite botanical gardens in Australia is also one of the oldest. The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens has a history stretching back almost 200 years, and a long association, not just with horticultural display gardens but also, with the growing of food. From its transformation from farmland in the early 1800s, to its establishment of heated walls to grow food plants in cold weather, through to the creation of the much-loved ‘Pete’s Patch’ for ABC TV’s ‘Gardening Australia’ programme, with the inimitable Peter Cundall and more recently, Tino Carnevale, through to the hosting of the Tasmanian Community Food Garden. Today, the RTBG has become…

Farming, Fair Food and Fine Films

It’s been a week of ‘foodie films’ with a twist – shining a spotlight on how our food is being produced and how this ‘production’ – both small-scale and large-scale – could be expanded to feed a projected global population of 10 billion people by 2050. There is growing awareness about ‘food miles’ and the health and environmental consequences associated with the highly processed western diet that many people consume. More people are starting to look at where their food actually comes from and what goes into it, and there is increasing support for local farmers and producers, through the likes of farmers markets and community…

The People’s Climate March

‘People Power’ took to the streets of Melbourne on Friday 27 November, as the first of a weekend of Climate Marches took place across Australia. Tens of thousands of people added their voices to calls for action on climate change. The ‘voice of the people’ echoed across the world, as citizens in towns and cities – from Argentina to Zimbabwe – poured onto their streets as well, in a weekend of global community action, sending a powerful message – loud and clear – to world leaders on the eve of the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris. [* ‘Frontline’ montage photos…

Eingana – The Journal of the Victorian Association for Environmental Education

I enjoyed working as the interim Editor of Eingana – the Journal of the Victorian Association for Environmental Education, for its April-June 2015 edition. It would have been nice to have continued on in the role but I have too many other work and travel commitments at the moment. Perhaps another time … It is always good to share stories about the journey towards sustainability and how we can engage others, as educators and communicators. Eingana is the great Earth Mother. She is fertility herself. She is the source of all life forms, of all being. DJAUAN TRIBE, NT To…

A Budding Green Thumb

In my last post, I shared a feature profile on school teacher, Mick Bourke. The accompanying story in the current edition of Your Vegie Patch magazine, is on 10 year old gardener and sustainability advocate, Jamie van Wensveen – who just happens to be my son! Although, in this story, I focus on the inspiration that his class teacher has been, in inspiring him to take up gardening and an interest in the environment, not to mention learning to cook. Bless you Mick Bourke! Needless to say, I had plenty of pics to choose from for this feature. And I…

Teachers – Sowing the Seeds of Change

It’s been a while between blogs! I have been busy working and travelling … But back in Melbourne now, and it is high time to share some of my recent stories, on gardening and sustainability – two of my favourite themes. This feature story, for Your Vegie Patch magazine, is on environmental educator and primary school teacher, Mick Bourke, from Preshil – the Margaret Lyttle Memorial School in Kew. SOWING THE SEEDS OF CHANGE For primary school teacher, Mick Bourke, engaging students in learning about Kitchen Garden activities and sustainability is one of the highlights of his job.   To…