The National Sustainable Living Festival 2018

Hello everyone, what an exciting weekend it’s been! February is really turning out to be a great month and I hope you’re all having just as much fun as me, exploring the endless possibilities of ethical living. 
As you may have seen on my Instagram page (@zero_hero_movement) this weekend I attended the National Sustainable Living festival in Melbourne. This weekend was their ‘big weekend’ where thousands of people from all over Victoria and further afield gathered to attend talks & workshops, to browse stalls of ethical companies, charities and grass roots groups and to buy zero waste products and delicious vegan food. 

Schedule of events for the weekend – so much to see!

The sustainable living festival has been running for nearly two decades now and I was so impressed with the amount of effort put into ensuring it was a fully sustainable event. Power for the stages where guest speakers and performers captivated audiences was all provided by solar energy, all the food being served was vegan, there was no disposable drinks cups, cutlery or plates with a ‘wash against waste’ system being run. This meant everyone got real plates, cups and cutlery which were placed in baskets when finished with, these baskets were then collected by a wonderful team of hardworking volunteers who lovingly washed all the bits and pieces and returned them to the various food vendors. It was so simple and efficient and proved that a closed loop waste free system can work on a large scale! Another sustainable provision were the composting toilets with plant based hand sanitiser. This eliminated the need for water which is vitally important in one of the driest countries on the planet. 

Composting toilets at the festival

The talks taking place were possibly the major highlight for me throughout the weekend. There were so many covering so many topics from zero waste and plastic free living to growing your own veg and permaculture to ethical banking and how to take legal action against governments who do not comply with ethical practises. There was so much and I felt I needed to clone myself so I could be in multiple places at once. Some of the talks I attended included ‘Compost Anywhere’ by Dr Belinda Christie who conducts research into composting in urban environments, ‘Talking Trash’ by Tammy Logan who shared her experiences of moving to a low waste lifestyle with a family of four and of course ‘In Too Deep’ with Tim Silverwood of Take 3 for the sea. There was also a really interesting talk by a group of women for the organisation Agari who work in construction and what they build are Eco homes made of sustainable materials inline with the nature of the environment that they are built in. I found it extremely empowering and interesting to hear their stories of connecting with each other and nature to build homes that are both beautiful and ethical. 

Meeting Tim Silverwood, co-founder of Take 3 for the Sea

Over the course of the three days I spoke to every single stall that was there. Some things I was already familiar with like the lunette menstrual cup stand and the earth bottle stand as well as the various wildlife conservation organisations that were there in force but there were also those topics I was less familiar with and I was extremely excited to gain more knowledge. Particularly for me were the financial subjects. I mean I know that large corporate companies and banks support the fossil fuel industries and various other unethical practices but I didn’t realise to what extent and how my own money could be used to continue practises that I whole heartedly do not support. As a result I am switching my bank account here in Australia to one that does not support unethical practises and have signed up to ‘Future Super’ which basically means any money deducted from my pay here in Australian for my super annuation (like a pension in the uk) will fund conservation efforts and social justice projects. Whilst still no expert on finances I am really happy with what I have learnt and will continue to seek more ethical practises with my finances. 

By signing up for and ethical Super fund I also got this free reusable coffee cup, win win!

It’s fair to say I was over the moon when I saw all the food vendors at the festival were vegan. I have attended ethical events in the past where meat and dairy products were widely available. Unfortunately this is contradictory to the cause with animal agriculture being the leading cause of climate change. There was so much good food available and whilst I was enjoying a mock duck wrap I over heard some ladies at the next table along asking each other if what they were eating was real meat or not. I advised them that all the food was vegan and they were both amazed and shocked. They couldn’t believe how delicious their meals were. I smiled and felt like the magnitude of the decision to provide only vegan food for the event was monumental. 

Delicious vegan food served on a reusable plate

 Throughout the festival there was a lot of talk about how the talks and activities were speaking to the already converted, drawing in a huge amount of like minded people. I however disagree with this statement. Not only did I learn a lot of new information myself as someone already involved in the sustainability movement but the event was free and in a public park. The amount of foot fall from those that perhaps were less involved or aware of the sustainability movement was huge and I am sure that many more people were influenced by the events of the weekend. 
If you’re in or around the Melbourne region there are further events and exhibitions taking place throughout the rest of the month at various locations so there’s still plenty of opportunity to get involved. Check the sustainable living website for full details of upcoming events. 
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog. I post weekly on Tuesday’s about all things ethical living and beyond. If you’d like to follow my journey, get hints and tips on ethical living or be part of a conscious community, please follow my Instagram page @zero_hero_movement for more info. 

Until next week

Much Love

Lucy

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