Bush Kids

I have been enjoying a glorious autumn in Sydney. The weather has been beautiful and I have taken this opportunity before winter to get out into the bush.

I have been trying to encourage my children to enjoy nature. A few weeks ago, we decided to go on a bushwalk in a local national park: Lane Cove National Park. My son who is now nearly 5 was super excited. He donned his hat, backpack filled with snacks and his binoculars.  My daughter also was excited, as she seems to be excited about anything that her brother may be into. She just turned 2. The walk we chose is ran along Lane Cove River, along the mangroves.

We chose to take the pram with us (yes strange to take a pram on a bushwalk, but my guidebook told me that there would be boardwalks there).

Once we found the track, we got walking. My son decided he wanted to take photos of spider’s webs which was great, as last year the sight of them scared him. I suppose the Abu Dhabi is slowly leaving him and he is getting more used to the abundant creepy crawlies that call Australia home.

The walk is pretty easy actually, but there is strange part to it when you hit Chatswood Golf Course and you have to walk through it, but then the path dips back along the river with beautiful views. Overall the kids enjoyed the walk and the snacks they got along the way (the best part of a walk no?!) and my daughter even walked most of the way. While the success had me excited, I did feel a little pang of sadness at the realization that they are no longer my little babies….now they are bush walking children!ImageImageImageImageImage

With this success under our belt, my husband and I decided to go to the Blue Mountains, a beautiful part of New South Wales, about 1.5 hours west of Sydney. With autumn leaves glistening and the sun shining, we decided to go on a bushwalk. The one suggested to us was Sublime Point walk. I have to say, this time it seemed that my son’s excitement of the bushwalk had waned and I suddenly had a flash forward to a grumbling ‘I don’t wanna’ time. I was hoping that this would not surface at age 4! With some encouragement however we got out and walking and what a sublime view it was. With that short walk under our belt and children in need of their ‘babycinno’ fix (for those not familiar with this, a babycinno is frothed milk with some chocolate sprinkled on top).

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After that it was time for our second bushwalk of the day, this time Leura Cascades. This walk was a little bit more challenging, with lots of steps. It is relatively short however (500 m to the cascasdes) and the views were spectacular. The actual walk was beautiful too, as you go along a creek with wet sclerophyll vegetation growing overhead.  While walking back up was a little hard for my daughter who was carried back most of the way, my son found it an enjoyable bushwalk altogether.

I think with regular encouragement my kids will grow to love the bush as much as I do.

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World Environment Day Blog Off!

Okay, so I am not a selected blogger that the United Nations Environment Program has shortlisted in its Blog Off prior to World Environment Day (5 June 2013). This year’s theme is food waste ‘Think. Eat. Save’ and they are having a competition between bloggers: 

http://www.unep.org/wed/blog-competition/bloggers/ 

This is an issue that I am particularly passionate about, as I see there should be no reason for wasting food. To me it is a waste of resources and I feel terrible throwing away food when there are people going hungry.

So, while I am not a shortlisted blogger, I am a blogger nonetheless and earlier this year, I put forward this ‘letter’ to an editor as part of my attempt to be accepted into a sustainability leadership program. Here are my thoughts on food waste and if you’d like to know what other Bloggers think about it and to vote for one, please visit the UNEP website at the link I provided earlier.Image

What should the horse meat scandal have brought to light? Apart from the ethical horror of eating what many see as a beautiful animal, it should have brought to light the globilisation of food and its consequently large ecological footprint. While there are complex and interconnected reasons for the large amounts of water and energy that go into producing our food, the value of food and what you and I are willing to pay for it is something that is yet to be discussed in great depth by the mainstream media.

Increasingly we are spending proportionally less of our income on food and therefore there is the expectation that our food will cost less.  What this does is place more strain on smaller farmers in favour of large corporate agricultural produce and the rise of the major supermarket chains and their homebrand products. 

While some consumers may be happy with the super low prices, this reduction in the value of food could be one contributor towards the significant amounts of food wasted globally (it is estimated that at last half of the food produced around the world goes to waste).  Feeding the 925 million of the world’s hungry, addressing climate change and global water shortage may be a daunting task, but there is something that ordinary people can do each time they go to the super market and each time they cook. I’m unsure however that a greater number of people will ask these questions when faced between a $1 carton of milk against the sometimes higher prices that smaller scale locally grown produce may demand.