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Author: Worlds Biggest Garage Sale

QODE: Trial by Fire – Social and Environmental Challenges Unearth Global Rewards

This month has been a busy one for us here at World’s Biggest Garage Sale as it no doubt has been for you. After wrapping up our Retail Rescue and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no slowing down! Last week Yas was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the QODE Brisbane 2020 event. Titled ‘Trial by Fire: Social and Environmental Challenges Unearth Global Rewards’, Yas was a spokesperson for those impact and social ventures (like World’s Biggest Garage Sale) whose driving force is the ‘profit for purpose’ sentiment.

QODE is an annual event hosted in Brisbane with the purpose of promoting technology and innovation. The two-day conference sees a host of pioneering individuals speak about their contributions to the future of our planet. Like all conferences recently, QODE was impacted by COVID-19. Normally held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre with a live audience, due to the current health crisis audience members were not able to physically attend. Rising to the challenge, the organisers transformed QODE into a ‘virtual exhibition’ with the full program being streamed via their YouTube channel. Users could view the entire event safely and from the comfort of their own home.

Sharing valuable insights, Yas spoke on the importance of the triple bottom line – people, planet and purpose. Connecting with community to work towards collective goals such as a circular economy for the good of the planet. These entrepreneurial minds are ‘doing the smallest of things with the biggest of impact’ and have conducted their business in a way which makes them well-prepared for this time of social and environmental challenge.

‘We are the problem solvers that don’t necessarily look for profit in order to begin, in order to stay…’

Yas articulated that companies like World’s Biggest Garage Sale and many more are motivated by a bigger purpose. They’re working on ‘The World’s To Do List’, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to make the Earth a better place by 2030. And that by forming a collaboration between government, corporate and startup enterprise, we can create a ‘uniquely diverse ecosystem’ focused on ‘coming together to stay together, to grow together’.

‘Connectedness, collaboration and community – this is how we do business’

and it’s this notion that helps ventures like World’s Biggest Garage Sale thrive in times of challenge. Being grateful for the community that is central to World’s Biggest Garage Sale and so many impact and social ventures, is so important right now. Intrinsically valuing the people who dedicate their time to triple bottom line businesses. And never more was this on show than when Dr Sarah Pearson, Deputy Director General of Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, donned a World’s Biggest Garage Sale shirt (on sale currently), showing that community support!

Leanne Kemp, Queensland Chief Entrepreneur also spoke, and was so empowering, reassuring and hopeful! Speaking about COVID-19, she said our QLD entrepreneurs are leading an incredible purpose driven culture, with clear human focus. Her  3 P strategy, “Pivot, Persevere and Pirouette” can help entrepreneurs ensure they keep their teams.

Many see that this crisis is a key leadership moment not only for them, but for them to help others.

Speaking to the social climate at present, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Yas stated, ‘if the current pandemic can teach us anything, it’s perhaps that we all need to slow down to speed up’. And it is true that the ‘noise’ of everyday life can distract us from achieving big picture goals or even working towards small actions. The time bestowed upon us at the moment is a ‘blessing in disguise’ to allow us to set our intentions for positive change. Stay safe, healthy and optimistic – we can build the new economy together.

If you would like to support World’s Biggest Garage Sale venture – please reach out to Yas at info@worldsbiggestgaragesale.com.au today.

by Brittany Dever

The original conservation and sustainability leaders and do-ers.

I would like to begin this post by acknowledging the Yugerra people, the traditional Custodians of the land on which I’m writing to you from today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I also would like to acknowledge that this land holds practices and knowledge which were implemented for thousands of generations before me.

The 26th of January is a controversial day in Australians’ calendars. It’s a National day that was chosen based on the arrival of captain Arthur Phillip and his fleet in 1788 to the shores of the Eora Nation, starting a colony and claiming “discovery” of the land. To some, it’s a day to celebrate nationalism and show patriotism over a BBQ and some beers. To others, the significance of this day is deeper than that. It’s a reminder of colonialism, of invasion of the settlement on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s land that lead to a painful reminder of the mistreatment and violence against indigenous people.

Source: Dennis Nona  | Mal lag Ar Apark AW Whural Ar Idal (State 1)

As a Lebanese Australian who has migrated to this beautiful land 12 years ago, it is hard for me to identify with either. However, I choose to celebrate all Australians while paying respect to the people that came before, the traditional owners of the land, the people who respected and used it in sustainable ways. It has been genetically proven through various studies that the Australian Aboriginal population is one of the oldest continuous living cultures in the world. I think that is something to be celebrated and one of the most interesting facts that I like to share with people when asked about Australia. The reason they earned this title is due to their practices and culture, I don’t think they could have done it without respect to the land and sustainably working with it, rather than using it as a finite resource.

A Yuingin [You·in·gin; meaning friend in the Yugara language spoken in the Brisbane area west to Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley, but understood in the Greater Brisbane area of Yugerra] of mine lent me a book last year called Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, which blew my mind. Bruce Pascoe unpicks the settler’s diaries and refutes the idea of the belief that Aboriginal culture was a Hunter/Gatherer lifestyle, an idea perpetuated by the settlers created through their rose-coloured superiority lense. He suggests, through their journals and diaries, concepts of agriculture and land management. These glimpses into pre-colonial Australia are vital in understanding true Australian history and proving that indeed Indigenous Australians were the original fishers, farmers, bread makers, scientists and engineers. Pascoe starts by exploring agricultural practices and animal farming. There are references and stories of planting, husbandry, harvesting and storage. References to rainwater capturing systems. Evidence of animal capturing techniques that ensured a meal but did not obstruct migration and ensured continuity of the species were also revealed. There was evidence of storage spaces of food and preservation techniques, which rendered toxic foods edible and prolonged the life of others. Controlled fires within bush areas and agricultural lands for regeneration and management were also evident in the settler’s journals.

 

 

Source: Doris Gingingara – Emu and Bush Turkey

 

Dark Emu is beautifully grouped into sections, from agriculture and aquaculture to housing and controlled burning, all the way to language and law. I won’t spoil it any further because it is a fascinating read and you’ll just find yourself devouring the book, chapter after chapter, with the thirst to erase your preconceived notions about Australian history and Indigineous culture and re-build your knowledge with an undeniable truth that has been hidden for a long time. Before I stop talking about the book though, I would like to share a couple of quotes with you which resonated with me, from chapter seven “The Australian Agricultural Revolution”, as I feel there are two principles by which we should all be living, Continuance and Respect, two values which are at the heart of all sustainability practices.

 

The life of the clan was devoted to continuance” 

and

There was an underlying conservatism in this approach, a concern for people they might never meet, and a respect for the prey species embedded in the spiritual and cultural fibre.” 

 

Source: Jorna Newberry – Waru Tjukurrpa (Fire Dreaming)

 

With all the fires, floods and hail storms that have struck our beautiful country recently, destroying our land and ecology, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if we still lived in a world where Indigeneous cultures were not only celebrated, but were guiding us on how we use our resources and work with our land.

 

Today, I’m lifting a SOBAH beer (Australia’s first non-alcoholic craft beer, Aboriginal owned and led) to the people who came before us, the original implementers of sustainable practices, the first farmers, scientists, astronomers, geologists, ecologists and engineers, the Indigineous people of Australia.

 

Become an ally! Ask, research, make an effort.

Find below some recommendations and links I have discovered on my journey of educating myself and writing this blog.

 

 

By: Wassim Sayegh

 

Picture Credits: Japinka Aboriginal Art Online Gallery

Pictures as they appear in the post:
  1. Doris Gingingara - Emu and Bush Turkey
  2. Dennis Nona  | Mal lag Ar Apark AW Whural Ar Idal (State 1)
  3. Jorna Newberry - Waru Tjukurrpa (Fire Dreaming)

Quiet Heroes: Australia’s Volunteer Firefighters embody Australian spirit and true leadership

It’s hard to know what to say in the face of the bushfire crisis in Australia. We’ve written about it before and been warned by experts both scientific and in the fire fighting arena to expect it. But it’s another thing altogether when it actually comes to pass.

With 26 lives lost, over a thousand houses gone and significant damage to communities and infrastructure, it’s hard not to despair. Add to this the fact that over 8.5 million hectares of Australian land and flora have already burned – more than the Amazon and Californian fires combined – and an estimated half a billion animals have been killed in New South Wales alone, it’s clear to see the path to recovery will be a long and committed one. And the fires are still burning.

Out of all of this has emerged a quiet Australian hero.

The Volunteer Firefighter.

In their trademark orange/yellow suits and hats with sturdy boots, hose in hand against a backdrop of unforgiving blazes, they have quietly soldiered on to keep our communities safe. They literally are the salt of the earth.

 

 

 

Having worked with volunteers for many years, we have witnessed the quiet selflessness that these people bring. They come along guided by something bigger than themselves and offer true acts of service. Australia would be a very different country without them.

The volunteer firefighter appears to be a rare and special breed and their work never ceases to amaze. Work that is hard, back-breaking, dangerous, strenuous and at times heartbreaking, takes a special kind of person.

They have always been there, every year, every fire season, quietly managing the fires and keeping the general populous from harm. Their untiring efforts in the face of this year’s unprecedented infernos are the humbling quiet acts of service that demand immense gratitude and respect.

 

 

We could all take a leaf out of their books – both government, business and community. There is no greater example of the Australian spirit and true leadership than selfless acts of service to help others, the animals and the land on which we live.

And it’s more of this that we’re going to need in the coming months and years as we set about the changes needed to address #climatechange this decade. Less bickering. A bi-partisan approach. Committed effort together for actionable solutions.

To all the volunteer firefighters of Australia, your example points to the latent capabilities of generosity that lie within us all. Thank you for reminding us that true leadership is an act of service to others.

Dive into Defining Decade with 2020 Vision

It’s ironic really, that one of the most critical decades for humanity – some would argue the most critical – kicks off in the year 2020. Poetic really. We’re all familiar with the term 2020 Vision – completely seeing the truth of a situation. And by golly that’s exactly what we’re going to need for the next 10 years.

Time to take off the rose coloured glasses. No more denial. No more blinkers on. No more heads in the sand. With only 10 years left at current emissions (or only 9% of the carbon budget left: Global Carbon Project) sound the alarm wherever you are – #climateemergency. The coming 10 years are also imperative for fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 agenda, many of which address climate change.

 

Source: Global Carbon Project

 

Recent fires burning in Australia are a clarion call to all, with scientists saying the fire conditions this year are unparalleled on several fronts. Scientists predicted our current plight many many years ago and we just didn’t listen, or at least the ‘powers that be’ of the time didn’t. Worse still, I suspect it was covered up – too much of a threat to the dominant industry of the time. A threat that was too far in the future and most likely would never come to pass. 

As early as 1896 Svante Arrhenius published a scientific paper regarding carbon dioxide emissions and its effect on temperature and global warming (see here), followed by Edward Olson Hulburt [de] in the 1930s (see here) and Guy Callendar. 

And still many continue to ignore or silence some of the brightest individuals on the planet: our scientists. Recently more than 11,000 scientists co-signed a letter in the journal BioScience, calling for urgent action regarding the climate. World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency is a holiday must read. Easily digested over a coffee, the facts of climate change are presented, with one of the most striking comments:

 

The climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle. The most affluent countries are mainly responsible for the historical GHG emissions and generally have the greatest per capita emissions 

 

It goes on to detail “six critical and interrelated steps (in no particular order) that governments, businesses, and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change”: Energy, Short-lived pollutants, Nature, Food, Economy and Population.

Reducing global warming is a war that will need to be fought on many fronts. There is no silver bullet, no vaccine. This genie isn’t so easily put back in the bottle. Just many different solutions that will all need to be implemented simultaneously. Some will work, some won’t, but we have to act, however imperfectly initially – iterate, rework and strike again until we tackle the above issues. 

Our work at World’s Biggest Garage Sale lies mainly within the Economy section, where the scientist’s state “Excessive extraction of materials and overexploitation of ecosystems, driven by economic growth, must be quickly curtailed to maintain long-term sustainability of the biosphere.” The way we produce, consume and manage end of life products needs to change fundamentally at a systemic level leading to increased resource efficiency and a reduction in energy consumption at all steps in the production process.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation “45% of emissions comes from producing the cars, clothes, food, and other products we use every day. These cannot be overlooked. The circular economy can contribute to completing the picture of emissions reduction by transforming the way we make and use products.” Systemic change.

As you participate in the ritual of gift giving at Christmas time, consider the many sustainable options that are available and perhaps give a repurposed or pre-loved gift instead. Our recent circular economy popup ‘If The Shoe Fits’ has demonstrated that the tide is turning with regards to second-hand goods, with consumers looking for sustainable purchasing options. If you do end up with some gifts you don’t want or need over the festive season, then hold onto them for our next garage sale coming up in early 2020 – we’ll help you find another home for them.

 

There is something within all of these six areas the 11,000 scientists recommend that we can all be working on in business and personally. As the festive season closes in and we’re enjoying time with loved ones, living in an era our ancestors would argue was one of immense privilege (what they wouldn’t have given for hot running water, electricity at the flick of a switch and comfortable beds, not to mention the ridiculous number of gifts that abound at Christmas), reflect on the day to day choices you make that could have a positive effect on people & planet.

 

Look at the faces of your loved ones, especially the young ones, and think carefully about the future planet and society we’re leaving them with. If you’re in a position professionally to do something, then please speak up. And more importantly act.

 

To quote the Dalai Lama:

Taking care of our planet, is a matter of looking after our own home. We can no longer exploit the earth’s resources—the trees, water, air and minerals—with no care for the coming generations.

 

Thank you for your support throughout 2019. Wherever you are and whoever you are with this Christmas, honour and cherish your loved ones and appreciate and respect this amazing planet that we all call home – there is no Planet B. All the very best for the coming decade – let’s make it one where we can look back and say “We did all we could and are immensely proud to be human”!!

 

2020 Vision  | 10 years |  People, Planet, Purpose

By: Donaugh Austin

Volunteer for an Inclusive Future

“The diverse and dynamic role of volunteerism in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals merits strong support from Governments and other stakeholders. On this International Day, I thank volunteers for their efforts to leave no one behind.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres

World’s Biggest Garage Sale wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment expressed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. We fully support the pursuit of equality — including inclusion — through volunteerism, highlighting United Nations SDG 10, with the theme for #IVD2019 being “Volunteer for an inclusive future”.

Our recent venture ‘If The Shoe Fits’ in at the Brisbane Wintergarden simply would not have been possible without the generous support of volunteers who believe in our mission and give of their time freely in pursuit of a better world. We want to take time today to honour their contribution and to express our gratitude for their efforts.

Volunteering provides opportunities for people, particularly those often excluded/marginalised, to play a constructive role in their communities building confidence. We recently held a Queen of Shoes event to include the LGBTQ community of Brisbane and provide an inclusive space for them to shop for shoes. When asked about one of his favourite moments in-store, WBGS super volunteer Wassim, said:

“I had a great moment in the recent venture at If The Shoe Fits, where one of our amazing return customers came up to me and said “Thank you so much! I have never felt confident or safe to shop for shoes. Thank you for having this space.” I was in tears because it doesn’t take much to be kind and inclusive. This goes to show the heart and realness of what is being done here beyond the shoes, the money and the environment. It’s not a coincidence the logo is a Heart, it’s the core of all this business’ values.

We welcome everyone at World’s Biggest Garage Sale. Our company’s practices echo the thoughts of the United Nations who say “Through volunteerism, communities around the world often experience strengthened solidarity and inclusion”, and we welcome everyone at World’s Biggest Garage Sale events. Our inclusive community provides a role and safe space for everyone.

Why Volunteer?

  • Help the Environment: volunteering with WBGS absolutely helps to better your community and the environment through landfill diversion, creation of the #circulareconomy and raising much needed funds for causes.
  • Improve your Wellbeing: It also helps to better you as an individual. Volunteering is a free way to feel good about yourself and build confidence in skills outside of your normal work. The best part is that you get to share that positivity to fellow volunteers and develop new friendships and a sense of connectedness.
  • Reduce Stress: It’s a great way to reduce stress that may come from work or other relationships.
  • Build Hard & Soft Skills: You can build hard skills and experience in an area you would like to move into. And volunteer tasks will involve working with a diverse mix of people, giving you a chance to improve teamwork & communication skills, so you can gel better with others. You’ll inevitably run into various roadblocks at some point allowing you to hone your problem-solving and creative-thinking skills.
  • Fill-in Employment Gaps: If you’re in between gigs, a great way to stay engaged and proactive is to volunteer at WBGS. There are brilliant opportunities for networking and who knows, a volunteer stint with us could lead you to your next job!!

To all the volunteers out there, thank-you for your hard work, the laughs, the mucking-in, the solidarity and for making WBGS the special organisation that is. If you’d like to volunteer with us at Brisbane’s first circular economy Pop-up, we still have slots available at If The Shoe Fits and several events planned for 2020 — you can volunteer here! Have a fantastic International Volutneer’s Day and here’s to many more great events together in 2020!!

#volunteer4inclusion #IVD2019