Hi all,
So after a very long hiatus (insert excuse here), I'm going to try to resurrect EcoBris, because now more than ever I think we sustainable Brisbanites need to be active in pursuing the kind of Brisbane we want to live in, regardless of what local government is doing (although of course I am also hoping for lots of Greens wins at the State Election on Saturday).
I am also currently on my way back from an exchange, which has allowed me to live and study for 6 months in the very eco-friendly city of Amsterdam, so I have plenty of fresh new ideas about how a city can work almost car-free and prosper by doing so.

Of course, first thing to do when I get back is to find a sharehouse, and having seen how fantastically well Facebook groups have worked for buying selling and trading at the college I've lived at for the last 6 months (a definite plus for cutting back on waste), I thought it would be useful to set up a Facebook group for environmentally friendly sharehouses. You can find the group on Facebook - 'Sustainable Sharehouses Brisbane' . I'll also try to post information on living sustainably in sharehouses and apartments there when I can.

Some sustainable things I've learned in Amsterdam:

  • I've given up buying toothpaste because of the waste the tubes create. Lush makes sodium bicarbonate-based toothbrushing tabs in pill form which you crush up in your teeth. Although it's weird at first they work nicely and is packaged in nothing but cardboard. 
  • I can cycle in all weather...even small hail and cross-winds, and still have fun! (Amsterdam's lack of hills helps. Also it helps that you can arrive with perfect hair as the separate bike paths and slow pace mean you don't need to wear a helmet. I'd rather protect my brains in Brisbane and worry about the hair later, however). 
  • I can totally make my own sauerkraut (chop up cabbage and put in a teaspoon of salt. Macerate with your hands until there's enough juice to cover it. Press it into a jar with juice covering the top, and leave it for a few days. Carraway seeds add a nice flavour). Just don't kill the flavour with too much salt! Newbie fail!
  • Bike paths can be pretty! Like the one in Brabant (top), in the Netherlands. They can also be entirely made of solar, used to power streetlamps and even electric cars through the many plug-in stations around. There were about five on my street in Amsterdam alone!
  • If you make the electric cars tiny enough they can go on the bike lanes and reduce congestion - which means less cars sitting in traffic jams with their motors running!
  • Finally, the best thing to do with land that's been poisoned by heavy industry (shipbuilding), is to give it to a bunch of visionaries for 10 years so they can put salvaged houseboats on it (so as not to disturb the chemical-filled soil) and create a vegetarian houseboat restaurant, workspaces and storytelling stage.

    Cafe De Ceuvel in Amsterdam Noord
Looking forward to starting a new year in Brisbane, and trying to find ways of applying some Amsterdam sustainability to Brissie life!