It was 2006 when Natalie Isaacs had her sustainability “epiphany”, ConnectPink's Donna Kelly writes.
Until that point she was like many others, leading a life that did little, if anything, for the environment. The mother-of-four drove a four-wheel-drive vehicle, did the minimum amount of recycling and shopped on impulse.
And then the light went on.
“I finally woke up and got it. I realised this was my problem too, not just everyone else’s. And that every action can make a change,” she said.
It was a year of slow change but when Natalie, pictured, saw her electricity bill drop by 20 per cent and household waste by 50 per cent, she was hooked.
“Once you start taking action, you can’t stop,” she said. “You are saving money and saving the world from pollution. There is a result.”
Three years after her entry into the world of sustainability Natalie started the 1 Million Women website. She chose women for a number of reasons including “harnessing their incredible strength”.
“Women are powerful networkers and make 70 per cent of the consumer decisions affecting households and our carbon footprint,” she said.
“Women are just such a powerful force – and they just get on with it.”
Today, the website has 77,000 members, with 36,000 dropping in on the Facebook page. And Natalie’s not stopping there.
From November 16 to 18, the first Recipe For Change will be held.
The event is held throughout Australia and involves groups of women getting together, anytime over the weekend, and talking about sustainability ideas, questions and solutions.
Natalie said it just felt like the right time for Recipe For Change, which has the backing of Prime Minister Julie Gillard, to happen.
“It is incredibly exciting and nerve-wracking but this project is the essence of who we are. We rise about the noise, the politics and get on with action,” she said.
“Women can get together over a cuppa, a meal and talk with friends about cutting waste and pollution and living more sustainably. At the end of the weekend event 1 Million Women will compile everyone’s thoughts and create an e-book,Recipe For Change by Women of Australia.
“We will then share that wisdom around the world.”
Natalie said already 1100 “get togethers” had been registered including a bride who was using her wedding as an event and a family who are gathering on Saturday on the anniversary of their mother’s death three years ago.
“They are using that gathering to share all the ideas she had. I think we have lost a lot of information from our parents and grandparents. None of the events are too structured and we are just turning the time into something practical.”
And here are some top tips inspired by the SAVE POWER program run by 1 Million Women partner, the NSW Government and its Office of Environment and Heritage.
POWER STRIPS HELP
Plug electronics and computer equipment into a power strip with an on/off switch and turn it off when you are not using the products. This will ensure that the products are not using electricity.
SLEEP IS GOOD (FOR COMPUTERS TOO)
Activate power management features on computers and monitors to place them in a low-power sleep mode after a set time of inactivity to reduce power consumption. Simply hitting a key on the keyboard or moving the mouse awakens them in seconds.
LAPTOPS TRUMP DESKTOPS
If a laptop will meet your computer needs, choose one over a desktop. Laptops are 2.5-3 times more efficient than desktop computers.
TONE DOWN THE TV
Reduce the brightness on your television screen to cut its energy use by as much as 30 percent. Newer televisions have multiple screen settings and options that can affect their power consumption. Set your television to the “home” or “standard” setting, to help use less energy.
Unplug battery chargers or power adapters when equipment is fully charged or not connected to the charger. This helps avoid energy waste.
TURN OFF GAMES CONSOLES
Many of today’s video game consoles are left on all the time, drawing between 1000–1300 kWh a year, which means up to 1.3 tonnes of CO2 pollution and $260 on your yearly energy bill. Turning these devices off after use can lower those levels to no more than 120 kWh each year!
USE A DVD PLAYER FOR DVDs
Don’t use your game console as a DVD player. They can use as much as 24 times the power of a stand-alone DVD player!
What are your thoughts on sustainability? Join in the conversation at connectpink.com.au.