This week we looked at how we might reduce consumption. After our walk through CERES looking at locally grown produce (reducing food miles, increasing local industry), celebrating cultural narratives, looking at collective repairing and the use of renewable energy, we discussed how we might reduce some aspects of consumption in our own lives. Here is a link to some of the thinking around this. And here.

We also met Cesar Marulanda who is a student in the course who also works at CERES. Cesar gave us an off-the-cuff talk about his work with recycled polyethelene bags, his process and methods. Most of the students know Cesar and enjoy his wonderful work and energy. You can look at his work here. While this represents the ideas of recycling, it essentially also embodies notions of reduction and simplification of the commodities in our lives.

When we talk about reduction in this tutorial, we refer to a reduction in the amount we consume or how we may view consumption. In a more universal sense it is the reduction in resources and attitudes to how they may be used. One of the methods used to understand this is around the idea of 4 footprints. This is a proposition from the Friends of the Earth in conjunjunction with SERI (Sustainable Europe Research Institute).

  1. Land footprint 
    The real land we are using for our food, timber and so on, wherever it is in the world.
  2. Water footprint 
    The quantity of water used in the life cycle of a product or by a country.
  3. Material footprint
    The total tonnage of material extracted to make a product, or a country’s consumption.
  4. Carbon footprint
    The greenhouse gas emissions produced during the lifecycle of a product. Or the emissions produced by a country, including its consumption of goods.

Everything we consume today has a collective impact on these 4 footprints. Being aware of this as a designer is essential to the ways in which we consume anything from food, to electronics, to digital data.

Saint David Dairy

Valuesfewer food miles, supporting local industry

Fresh milk direct from the farm. Bottled in Fitzroy at inner-Melbourne’s only Micro-Dairy!Saint David Dairy is the realisation of a life-long dream and years of planning of Managing Director Ben Evans. A Food Technologist from a 4th Generation Dairy farming family, Ben has dedicated his working life to the dairy industry with a vast range of specialised experience and passion for all things milk. Commencing in his hometown of Koroit in Victoria’s South-West, Ben was awarded a Cadetship in Dairy Technology with Murray Goulburn, completing studies in Food Technology at Australia’s leading Dairy Education College, achieving Dux in each Year of study. This saw the start of a wide and varied career across Victoria’s dairy industry, managing Butter, Cream, Lactoferrin and Cheese plants. While living and travelling overseas, Ben remained in pursuit of dairy, including working on a Dairy farm in Southern Ireland, and visiting many cheese regions and factories. Highlights included cheese making in Bavaria, Germany, and 3 trips to Europe touring cheese making regions such as the French Normandy, Northern Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.

Since the factory commenced operations in 2013, the factory has grown to a small but passionate team of dedicated staff, both in the factory and out delivering our products each day.

Preston Market

Valuesno packaging, fewer food miles, supporting local industry

Preston Market has been successfully running for over 40 years and remains one of Melbourne’s traditional markets.
The market opened in 1970 has since grown to house over 130 stores including 12 green grocers, 7 delicatessens, 6 fish shops, 6 poultry shops, 12 butchers, 2 supermarkets and a variety of small goods shops including toys, clothes, carpets, plants, and manchester. Read more..

Overconsumption: ‘Tis the reason to be sorry—Richard Dyer, Friends of the Earth

I hate to say it but it’s almost that time of year again; you know… when that bearded old chap in the red suit descends from above, bearing piles of gifts for our kids, all magically created from thin air…

This week we had class at CERES.

Melbourne is built on the land of the  Wurundjeri people. Ceres is built on the site around the Merri Creek which used to once be a critical site for the first people. The creek providing a great point for food and sociality. With the establishment of Melbourne during the gold rush, This became the one of the sites for a bluestone quarry which provided much of the material Melbourne Architecture is famous for. Once the supply dried up and buildings began be be made more in brick, the site became somewhat a wasteland and began to be used as a landfill.

In 1981 a group of environmentalists, thinkers and concerned citizens petitioned the government to convert the tip into an environmental park. Work on the site began in ’82, the first tree being planted on the site by Dr Barbe Baker—founder of the Men of the Trees—on 16 September 1981.

Not Buying Anything:The 0.14%

How many people know our planet is in peril? Of those, how many use that knowledge to change the way they live? Surely there must be many of us. No? Dave Cohen at the Decline of the Empire website writes:

“There are roughly 7.2 billion humans on Earth, and, roughly speaking, about 10 million of them are painfully aware that Homo sapiens is destroying the biosphere, slowly on human time scales, but in no time at all on the geological time scale. (10 million is a very generous estimate.) Some of those exceptional people, a goodly portion of whom are working scientists, are actively opposing the ongoing destruction, though many are not. Rounding up, those 10 million souls represent approximately 0.14% of the entire human population. The other 99.86% are either actively destroying the biosphere, or indifferent to that lamentable trend (i.e., they are merely current or would-be “consumers” who are thus acquiescing in and contributing to the trend indirectly).” What? 10 million on the entire globe? Wow. I hope he is widely underestimating. How can we fix something if we are not aware that this is a problem of our own making? Are you part of the 0.14%? Have you changed your personal consumption habits according to your knowledge?