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QODE: Trial by Fire – Environmental Challenges Unearth 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 her Trial by Fire: Social and Environmental Challenges Unearth Global Rewards’ keynote speech at the QODE Brisbane 2020 event. 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’.

Trial by Fire: Yas presenting SDG goals

‘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!

Yas & Leanne presenting

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 ‘trial by fire’ 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.

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)

Queen of Shoes

Hunni – I don’t walk I strut, strut, strut and then sashay (okay)! And that’s exactly what we did last Thursday night when we took over the Wintergarden Brisbane for Queen of Shoes.

Pumping out the tunes for us all night was DJ Dolly Llama!! And didn’t she look fantastic!! With a great mix of old and new she kept us all grooving all night long!

And of course the one and only fabulous Dunghutti drag star, Chocolate Boxx – winner of Miss First Nations 2019 – performed Strawberry Kisses (Nikki Webster) and Buses and Trains (Bachelor Girl) to a delighted crowd. Her performances were hugely entertaining and she really showed us how to werk it in those heels!!

Many of Brisbane’s Drag Nation Queensland competitors filled the aisles enjoying the music and trying on all the glamorous heels that go up to size 49! The Drag Nation competition is currently running at the Wickham Hotel on Friday nights, so be sure to get along and check-out these amazing performers.

A massive thanks to all the volunteers who helped on the night at Queen of Shoes, and of course the Queens of Brisbane for supporting If The Shoe Fits and showing us how to strut and sashay in those heels!! #IfTheShoeFits #CircularEconomy

Car Free Day

Last month was #worldcarfreeday, an event organised by the World Carfree Network, the hub of the global car-free movement. Every year on or around 22 September, cities across the globe celebrate World Car-Free Day, encouraging motorists to give up their cars for a day.

Photo: Getty Images

With vehicle emissions being one of the main sources of outdoor air pollution, particularly in cities, this is an excellent initiative and one we applaud. Ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, according to the World Health Organization.

The World Carfree Network says that the World Car-Free Day can be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars… 365 days a year. We couldn’t agree more and to prove it, our family has nearly spent a full year without a car.

When we returned from our family gap year and sold Larry the Landcruiser, we chose not to replace him (it) and opted to try living car-free. Coming up on the one year anniversary of making that decision I thought it would be a good time to report on the experiment.

Firstly I should preface this discussion with the fact that we’re fortunate to live close to most things we need. If you didn’t live in a city and even then, reasonably close to the city centre, the decision to live car-free might be too challenging to consider. After taking this all into account we took the plunge and this is how it panned out.

From a professional standpoint we mostly work from shared office space River City Labs in Fortitude Valley about 6km from home. More recently we’ve been working from our new circular economy pop-up shop in the Wintergarden, but that’s only 8 kms from home. There are two train stations and numerous bus stops within a kilometre of home, so getting to work couldn’t be easier.

We’re less than a kilometre from the school both our daughters attend and we have a mid-sized shopping centre a similar distance away. There’s a fruit market, fish and chippery, pizzeria, bottlo and convenience store even closer, which help to fill in the gaps. The organised sporting activities we do — karate, AFL, tennis and hockey, are all local too.

Whether it’s good management or purely good luck, this all makes living without a car pretty straightforward. In saying that, it’s not always easy, but we’ve made changes to our lives to make it work. Everyone in the family has two feet and a heartbeat and so we’ve been known to walk from time to time. We have bikes for when walking isn’t an option and use buses, trains and ride-sharing services like Uber, Didi and Sheba.

More recently we bought an Inokim electric scooter for each family member. After being regular Lime scooter users upon their introduction, we decided to trial our own e-scooter for a few months. Within weeks we’d decided they were a fun, safe and ecologically friendly transport method and bought another 3; call them our fleet of personal Teslas if you like. E-Scooters are ideal for filling gaps between buses and trains and to get to other forms of transport such as car-sharing services.

 

Car sharing services such as Car Next Door and Go Get are perfect for those moments when nothing other than a car will do. They are slightly different in how they work, but essentially provide the same service — a fleet of cars spread across the city and suburbs that anyone can hire at any time. Whether it’s for an hour or two to run some errands or a full day to visit family or friends outside the public transport grid, both do the job well.

We prefer Car Next Door and use the service a few times a month. This service allows car owners to rent out their car when it’s not in use; it quite literally enables you to borrow your neighbour’s car (if they’re a participant) and because you only pay for what you use, it’s far more cost effective than owning a car. With most cars only being used for about 5% of their lifespan, we see this as a great way for car owners to unlock more of the underutilised value in the asset and to help people who don’t own cars (like us) get easy, low cost, sporadic use of a motor vehicle when required.

We should point out that while the Car Next Door app and it’s alternatives are good for short distances, they aren’t very cost effective for longer journeys. The all-inclusive hourly charge plus per kilometre fee (fuel, insurance, wear & tear) is great if you’re ducking across town and back, but a 200 kilometre round trip will set you back $100 or more, using even the cheapest cars on their books.

For longer trips we use car hire and fortunately there’s an app for that too. Rentalcars.com gets us a small/medium car for a whole weekend for about the same money as a long single trip using a car sharing service. We don’t do it often, but once a quarter or so we’ll arrange to pick up a hire car on a Friday, drop it back on the Monday and only pay around $100 for the privilege. We even get our insurance at about 20% of what the car hirer would charge via another app.

With RACQ citing even the cheapest car ownership costs at $6000 per annum in their 2019 Private Vehicle Expenses Report, we think we’re ahead of the game by a considerable amount. Even if we’re not that far ahead of the game in terms of costs, we know that we are miles ahead in the environmental stakes and given what we do for a living, that feels good.

Our family’s time without a car has certainly been an experience, especially after being reliant on cars since we were in our late teens. Knowing we can survive without a car has been priceless, as I’m not sure car ownership will be the norm going forward. With the huge environmental price the planet pays for car ownership, I think improved public transport networks combined with personal transportation devices such as bikes & e-scooters and car and ride sharing platforms, owning a car will become less and less desirable.

Will not owning a car become the default? While it seems far-fetched today, I no longer think it’s out of the realms of possibility. Take a look at your car inventory and see what you might be able to live without!!

Retail’s new disruptor? The resale market!

We’ve known it was coming for a long time! Watch out fast fashion, second-hand clothing is about to overtake you.

According to Scott Galloway New York University business professor and renowned tech pundit, “The new disrupter in retail, the new gangster that’s going to create hundreds of billions in shareholder value is the second-hand resale market.” And who’s driving it? Young people according to Mr Galloway.

Resale statistics

The predicted growth of the secondhand fashion market versus fast fashion. Source: Section4

Yas with one of the first shoppers at If the Shoe Fits

Yas with one of our first shoppers!!

And this concurs with other research we’ve been finding. The resale apparel industry is growing 21x faster than the standard retail apparel industry (thredUP) and millennials are cashing in. 61% of millennials sold something in the last year, compared to 54% of Gen X and 51% of baby boomers. The number of people selling second hand clothing, homewares, games and toys and electronic goods has doubled since 2011 (Gumtree, SHE report), with clothing, shoes and accessories now the most popular items to sell.

Further research from the US indicates that the second-hand clothing market will grow from $US24 billion ($35.5 billion) in the US in 2018, to $US64 billion by 2028. While fast fashion will continue to grow it won’t be at the same rate – from $US35 billion to $US44 billion in 2028.

Now is the time for businesses to be innovating and providing options for consumers to buy second-hand products. In a survey by Amplify talking to 2000 Australians aged 18 to 30, “1 in 3 felt passionately about the environment and sustainability, demonstrating they are actively trying to tackle this problem.”

34% also believe brands should be leading the way when it comes to saving the Planet, with 4 out of 10 want the brands they buy to make the world better and almost the same want the brands they buy to reflect their values.

If the Shoe Fits Popup StoreAnd given the success of ‘If The Shoe Fits’, Brisbane’s first Circular Economy Pop-up, in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD at the Wintergarden this Brisbane Fashion Month the research appears to match resale market demand!

Drop in and visit our friendly team at shop 14 in the Brisbane Wintergarden  for the new circular economy way of shopping – putting your money towards people, planet and purpose!