A Sydney Designer: Balancing Between Nature, Creativity, Locality & Community
Sydney is s beautiful city to live in and we are surrounded by the sparkling harbour, verdant parks, a clear blue sky and coastal beaches. We are lucky to enjoy so many of the natural treasures our city has to offer. City of Sydney works hard to ensure it is an inclusive, liveable and sustainable city with a progressive vision for the future.
It’s creatively stimulating to respond to the challenges around us and use creative practice to engage broad audiences to consider all the ways we can live more sustainably. My intention is that everything I am involved in has a positive sustainable, creative and social impact.
As an artist and designer working across the creative industries, my projects encompass addressing diverse environmental issues. Since the mid 2000s when the effects of climate change became so evident and we realised that our past behaviour had to change to create a healthy, liveable and sustainable future, I have dedicated my life to doing as much as I can to live sustainably and engage others to do so. It’s creatively stimulating to respond to the challenges around us and use creative practice to engage broad audiences to consider all the ways we can live more sustainably. My intention is that everything I am involved in has a positive sustainable, creative and social impact.
It was an honour in 2007 to join Al Gore and The Australian Conservation Foundation to become part of The Climate Project. As a Climate Ambassador, my focus has been on communicating with the creative industries, businesses, universities and schools to share knowledge and inspiring examples and actions that can help to tackle climate change.
In the Photo: The Climate Reality Project Campaign Photo Credit: The Climate Reality Project
Co-founding GreenUps in 2009 was another way to involve the broader community in environmental issues. At the series of monthly public events organized by a group of like-minded people, each event highlighted environmental issues both locally and globally, and was a great way to connect and engage people.
Other recent projects include Supercyclers which focused on transforming single use plastics, and Happy Talk which was inspired by traditional cultures and resourcefulness and created a sustainable oasis in the city. My most recent work with ceramics responds to issues such as biodiversity, the importance of nurturing bees, and a growing world population. As well as the concept and the process and the materials, I also consider the sustainability and footprint of the work. Being mindful to create with as low an environmental impact as possible, I have also created the Sweet Nature planting project to offset my work as well as investing in other native vegetation offsetting projects.
At home I have planted as much in my garden as possible, and the spaces have become a blossoming urban sanctuary for an ever growing bird, bee and butterfly population. We cultivate native plants as well as a constantly evolving variety of fruit and vegetables and we keep a hive of native stingless bees which are great pollinators. Inside, the house is filled with plants and I enjoy encouraging others to grow and keep plants. As a family, we eat a mostly plant based diet.
We have local initiatives such as Grow It Local that celebrates backyard and community farming to bring people together to share their abundance from their garden and reduce food miles. The experience of sharing and sense of community is so valuable, and its great to see the growing collection of people sharing knowledge about planting edible gardens, fostering biodiversity and encouraging native flora and fauna.
I like to support independent, ethical and sustainable businesses and always consider the production when making purchases. There is growing awareness about worldwide waste and it’s good to see more recycling and take-back initiatives being introduced in the city.
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I’m very encouraged by the way Sydney is heading towards fulfilling its mandate of meeting the 2030 guidelines for sustainable cities, and now looking ahead towards Sustainable Sydney 2050. Alongside other international city leaders, they are addressing some of the most important challenges such as renewable energy, sustainable architecture, encouraging more design excellence and density in developments that also include green and social spaces, and creating more walk-able and bike friendly neighborhoods. These new initiatives will mean more open and planted green spaces and ensure that architecture engages with the streetscape. The City of Sydney’s work towards achieving a dynamic balance between nature, urban infrastructure and population density will provide a resilient, healthy and beautiful city for us to enjoy.
I would like to think that all the things I focus on encourage a dynamic balance between nature, creative practice, locality and community. I am inspired by working with good people who are focused on doing good things and making an impact both locally and globally.