Week 2 Reflection
The theme of the second week of galileo was sustainability. We learnt about many different kinds of sustainability including sustaining the environment, sustaining ourselves and sustaining the cultures around us. We has multiple trails and many classes built around sustainability and our earth. I really enjoyed this week and was very happy with what i learnt and experienced.
Our first trail took place on Wednesday and went for the full day. I was in Tamar’s group where we spent the day learning about minimising the amount of waste we generate and the amount of stuff we use. In the morning, we visited Tamara DiMattina, the founder of Buy Nothing New Month and the Federation Sqaure installment, The New Joneses. Tamara is a great example of someone who has a very low carbon footprint while still being able to live a normal, Melbourne lifestyle. She buys nearly everything that she owns from op-shops and second hand stores including her furniture, clothes, accessories, decor, crockery and cooking utensils. Tamara talked to us about her lifestyle, her love of vintage things and her desire to help the planet. She also mentioned that because she spends such a small amount of money on things, she always has money left over for travel and experiences. I found this very interesting because it is proof that buying things vintage instead of new, not only benefits the environment but can also benefit you financially as well.
After visiting Tamara, we made our way to CERES Environment Park, where we were able to explore the grounds and look at the facilities. CERES has many chicken pens, vegetable gardens, cafes and sitting areas. We were able to look through the market stalls and the outdoor fruit and veg shops selling local foods and handmade/vintage goods. We then met Terry, a man who volunteers at Urban Orchard, a non-profit organisation dedicated to people swapping their excess homegrown foods. I found this particularily interesting because it is an idea that involves a large amount of trust in the community and people involved to make it work out successfully. I learnt a lot about how easy it is to grow your own foods and to give them to other members of your community.
On Friday, my group went on an indigenous heritage walk along the Yarra River with an man named Dean. He talked to us for around 2 hours about the history of the river, what it used to be like and how significant it is to the aboriginal people and the city of Melbourne. Dean showed us many photos, paintings and maps of the area, the landscape and the people who once inhabited it. The river used to have many fish swimming through it, thousands of black swans and occasionally a school of dolphins would enter it. He explained to us that around 200 years ago, the river used to be half salt water and half freshwater with a waterfall seperating the two. The waterfall had many rocks along it that were used as a way for people to cross from one side of the river to the other. The land on either side of the river was where people would talk, hunt, sing and dance and was an incredibly significant meeting place.
Throughout this week, I learnt a lot about the earth, it’s inhabitants and the places around me. I feel that I am a lot more aware of what it happening in the world, the dangers facing the environment and what i can do to stop them. I also learnt a lot about sustaining the indigenous culture in Melbourne and remembering what kind of place Melbourne used to be like. My favourite thing to learn about was what it is like living an enviromentally friendly lifestyle and it’s advantages and disadvantages.
Critical Essay – What Sustains Communities?
Over the past week, we have learnt a lot about sustainability and all of it’s different forms. According to the dictionary, sustainability means when something is ‘able to be upheld or defended‘ and I think that this is a very accurate definition that characterizes all the different types of sustainability. To me, it can mean anything from recycling and composting, to passing on stories and information from your ancestors. I feel that it is about keeping and preserving what you have access to, and making it avaliable for generations and times to come.
One thing that stood out to me about sustainability was seeing how much sustainability is found in communities, homes and families. Whether it is in the form of looking after the environment, caring for eachother or the passing on of traditions and family values, they were all clear expressions of sustainability. I believe a strong part of what sustains communities is family and close family type groups. I think that family plays a big role in the building of communities. Some people may argue that family and community are not always linked and that family is in no way needed in a community.
The second thing that I feel sustains a community is a common trait or interest. This brings people closer, gives them common goals as a community to work towards and gives them things that they can enjoy together. During week 1, we visited the North Melbourne Community Centre where an elderly asian citizens gathering took place. The gathering had an extremely strong sense of community, which would most likely have originated from the common cultural background of the people there. Another example of common interests sustaining a community was when we visited CERES Environment Park. There were many people eating lunch, buying groceries and looking through the gardens, whilst enjoying the wildlife and plants. All of these people had a common interest in the environment, nature and local food and produce. Everyone at CERES was super friendly and kind to eachother, and to me this very much resembled a community.
Overall, I think that it takes many different things to sustain a community but most imortantly it needs family and a common interest.