JCU Sustainability Symposium
Many people in Cairns and Townsville found out how to reduce their waste and live more sustainably.
James Cook University opened its doors on Friday, April 11 to hold a Sustainability Symposium and Fair.
At the fair, people learned about the implications of rising consumerism in China; discovered what it’s like to live without spending a cent for six months; how “voluntary simplicity” may soon be made redundant by the need for involuntary simplicity; and how a couple of Townsville businesses are revolutionising urban food production and turning food waste into a valuable product.
The event focused on Challenging Consumerism: The War on Waste and looked at the environmental and social impacts of the modern-day consumerist culture and how people can change their everyday practices to reduce wastefulness.
JCU’s Adam Connell – Manager, Environment – said the Sustainability Fair showcased local businesses and organisations that are doing their bit to reduce waste and challenge consumerism.
The fair featured live music from local outfit Tabi Sari along with a variety of recycled, and creatively upcycled local businesses.
Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
Attendees were invited to ride the Food Rescue bike, to mix and sample a smoothie made from rescued excess fruits, or get creative and make a recycled PET bottle flower. They also had the opportunity to view the stomach contents of a whale, or drop into a short workshop on hot and cold composting and worm farming.
The symposium also hosted a range of expert local and international speakers, who looked at issues of consumerism and consumption in a series of short talks and a panel discussion, starting from 10 a.m. and finishing with the keynote evening public lecture at 6 p.m., with Professor Kim Humphery from RMIT University.
Speakers included Professor Kim Humphery, author of Excess: Anti Consumerism in the West; The Simplicity Institutes’ Mark A. Burch, author Linda Cockburn (Living the Good Life); and James Cook University’s Professor Stewart Lockie, Dr Maxine Newlands, Dr Hongbo Liu and Dr Brenda McCarthy.
The sustainability symposium ran concurrently on both the Cairns and Townsville campuses and provided the public with an opportunity to engage with a broad range of waste-related issues.