Top 10 secrets to saving the planet in your neighbourhood

By Geoff Ebbs 29 January 2021
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It’s one thing to have a host of bright ideas, the real challenge is putting them into practice. That’s where Your Life Your Planet shines brightly.

Australian Geographic’s new book Your Life Your Planet is on sale next month. It emphasises the importance of walking, not only for your physical and mental health, nor just the reduction in carbon emissions from leaving the car at home, but also for the opportunities it provides you to change the world by discovering any, or all, of these local treasures.

Edible weeds

Foraging for wild plants is fun, nutritious and surprisingly productive. There are plenty of online groups to help you identify the best plants and recipes to make the most of them.

Established locals

That little old lady who struggles to put the bins out every week? Give her a hand and pick her brains about the history of your street and the secret places that only she knows about.

Keen gardeners

The best gardens are usually kept by people who love plants and love sharing their knowledge and the abundance that comes from it. A short chat might lead to armfuls of cuttings, compost and fruit.

Nature on the strip

Someone has navigated the byzantine council rules and grumpy neighbours to create a vibrant, abundant garden on the street. Pick their brains, and spare plants, but dial before you dig.

Landcare projects

Look out for intense plantings by creeks, railways and freeway verges. Find the sign for contacting the community group that does the work. Meet your neighbours and beautify your neighbourhood.

Community composts, gardens, orchards, kitchens

Spot the activity on public land that is run by local volunteers. This is a good way for apartment dwellers to get your nature fix, to grow big plants or just to work together.

Guerrilla gardens

Some public activity is unofficial, it just appears in the middle of the night and, if it’s well done, gets left alone by council. Planting in roundabouts, freeway verges and vacant lots is fun and productive.

Miyawaki forest

A special form of public garden, named for its Japanese pioneer and passionately adopted in northern Europe, these mini-forests are very dense, productive and highly pleasurable.

Unpicked fruit

An ageing resident, indoor tenants or an owner who does not recognise a plant might leave fruit on the vine (or branch). Knock on the door, pick and preserve, then take some back. What a bonus.

Knowledgeable elders

Local First Nation folk sitting in the park? Don’t look the other way. Introduce yourself as local and ask if they are prepared to share their knowledge.

Tune into the Your Life Your Planet book launch on 12 Feb, 10.30am AEST here.

If you’d like a copy of the book, with a personalised message from the author, order Your Life Your Planet now.