Home' The Canberra Times : Chronicle 14-01-2014 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, January 14 2014 - 11
Capital leads green wave
New executive officer of SEE-change Jodie Pipkorn has seen an increased interest in sustainable living across
Canberra in the last 12 month. Her home consists of recycled timber.
Picture: Photo by Elesa Kurtz
CANBERRA is often ahead of the
social-cultural pack and the Territory's
growing interest in sustainable living
seems to be no different.
From producing and sourcing fresh,
local produce to building more energy-
efficient houses, Canberrans of all ages
are becoming increasingly greener.
Local not-for-profit organisation
SEE-Change informs and supports
grassroots action to reduce Canberra's
Newly-appointed executive officer
Jodie Pipkorn, who took the reins just
over a week ago, said membership
numbers increased by 81 per cent from
mid-2012 to mid-2013.
Ms Pipkorn said solar panel and
bicycle bulk-buying initiatives were a
popular incentive for people who may
have not considered taking
"People who attend the workshops
then become interested and want to do
something," she said.
"The more we continue to commu-
nicate, the more people get to know
how easy it is to get involved and make
changes to improve their well-being."
SEE-Change, which is divided into a
number of sub-groups across the ACT,
runs numerous activities throughout
the year including tours of
and gardens, bicycle trailer hire and,
last year, youth parliament project
Centenary 2020 Vision, focused on
engaging youth in imagining a sustain-
Ms Pipkorn said these kinds of
hands-on community activities, plus
Stephanie Alexander-style gardening
activities at a number of schools, have
contributed to a growing interest in
sustainable practices across all genera-
Besides numbers increasing, the
demographic was changing too.
Although many long-term members
fell into a slightly older bracket, Ms
Pipkorn said more and more people of
all ages were getting involved and
learning from the wealth of experience
among the community.
Similarly, Canberra Environment
Centre has witnessed a greater variety
of people attending workshops.
Acting executive director and sus-
tainability officer Ryan Lungu said
people who were not originally con-
cerned about sustainable living were
becoming more interested, particularly
in relation to food.
"I think there is a big local move-
ment around the world but particularly
in Canberra, which tends to be very
forward thinking. People are beginning
to become really interested in where
food is coming from and supporting
local farmers...and realising how
much better food tastes from a DIY
source or local produce," he said.
"Look at the growth in people
attending farmers markets in Canberra
market on a Saturday morning and see
how jam-packed full of people it is."
Many Canberrans are also shifting
sustainability beyond the plate and to
the wider home.
Jigsaw Housing co-director and
scientist Jenny Edwards said the com-
pany, which specialises in custom
energy-efficient housing, had wit-
nessed increasing demand for sustain-
She said the company had experi-
enced steady growth since its inception
three years ago, culminating with a
Canberra Business of the Year award
for high growth in 2013.
"I used to do energy assessment
modular work for other builders and
architects," she said.
"In the two years prior [to finishing
a year ago] I certainly saw an increase
in architects and builders and clients
working to achieve more than six stars.
Seven stars was quite an achievement
about two to three years ago -- now
more and more people are aiming for
Ms Edwards said there was a miscon-
ception that building an energy-efficient
home would cost the earth.
"Certainly a big part of our business
is about showing it actually isn't that
hard to do smart designs in Canberra,"
"A high performance house doesn't
have to cost much more, especially if it
is designed early."
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