Real sustainability is good for planet, people, profit … and pleasure
An early rise brings me from my morning walk to a walk on the market of Eumundi. “Grow it, Sew It, Make It, sell it” is the adage of the market in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The human terms for real sustainability: good for planet, people, and profit.
Today is all in team of the thin line between culture and nature, between sustainability and all the other values that are on the table.
I love strolling over the Eumundi market in the early morning. The softly awakening buzz of the first arriving customers together with the awakening market vendors who give the finishing touch to their market stalls.
The warm, inviting smell of roasted coffee beans, accompanied by the tender tunes of an early guitar player. The soft voice calling us softly to start the day at a high note.
Eumundi is a small country town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, but the market is huge and known far beyond the Glasshill mountains and the lush hills of the Sunshine Coast.
Not only are most of the products locally and self-made, grown, or sewed – as the adage goes – a lot of them seem to be made sustainable as well.
I’ve always been fascinated by everything made of bamboo, from furniture and huts, to clothing, bed sheets, socks, and smaller objects from kitchen tools to toothbrushes.
Considering the number of toothbrushes that actually ends up in the ocean, as what I’ve seen on various beach clean-ups in the Whitsundays, one can consider the latter as crucial for our aquatic ecosystems.
There’s this interesting market stall, Eumundi Bamboo, which sells bamboo sunglasses – such as the one I have – and phone cases – such as the one I had until I dropped my phone way too many times and the bamboo was turned into mulch. But the most fascinating item they have is a bamboo case for wireless phone charging.
I love bamboo; honestly, therefore, I wrote a lot about it in other blogposts, and there is much more to come, but it probably will distract me at this point from ‘my journey’. The most important thing to know is that bamboo can be a real sustainable gamechanger considering the fact that it grows really fast, which makes it not only a fast-renewing material, but as well a fast-renewing material that stores carbon dioxide at the same time.
Moreover, bamboo survives harsh – read episodes of drought and flooding – circumstances, and might therefore be a crop which is more resilient to the changing climate than others.
On top of that, bamboo is such a strong material that it even can be used on construction sites as supportive material, or to build entire houses, such as The Green School in Bali and the one in New Zealand. Thanks to its hollow rounded shape, it can carry a multitude of its own weight. Hence, bamboo in a nutshell has a lot to offer, and here it is.
Bad for nature, is bad for us
Besides bamboo there are various natural and organic health and cosmetic products such as soap bars – from goat soap to sea salt – and cosmetics made of Aloe Vera, or other natural ingredients. A natural way to avoid laundry products, and one to keep even pools clean without chlorine.
Frankly, too many products we use on a day-to-day base contain chemicals and potential harmful ingredients which are actually harmful not only to the planet, but also to us. Replacing them by natural and organic products doesn’t only serve the planet, but us as well.
I understand the economic side of the picture is the one that withholds must of us to make the switch, as well as availability and convenience. However, I’m sure that these three aspects will be resolved over time, when demand rises and hence the principles of economy of scale will resolve these aspects by not only making these products more convenient to use, available to buy, but also to decrease the price.
After Eumundi I go to the farmers’ market in Yandina, another town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Here I find mostly plants, vegetables, and fruits. This produce comes straight from the farmer’s, and the money goes straight to them as well.
Hence, it saves them and us money, and logistic hustle. What’s more is that most of this produce is fresher than what you can find in the supermarket. Because it is short-chain, seasonal and local, you cannot find everything, but everything you find is fresh. You can taste the difference!
Moreover, these fruits and vegetables don’t look perfect, but they taste perfect. The produce we find in the supermarket, looks mostly the same, because the ones with an out-of-norm-shape have been filtered out before they reach the supermarket. An unnecessary waste of food; or a luxury problem to be honest.
The supermarket chain Coles even sell these ‘off’ fruits and veggies as ‘The odd bunch’, they are cheaper because they aren’t perfect, but what does it matter eventually? What does matter the shape and the colour when the inside is perfect; a pear is a pear regardless its shape, size, and colour. But isn’t that more a lesson in humbleness for our societies in general, way beyond fruits and vegetables?
Planet, Profit, People, ….. and Pleasure
After all, real sustainability always takes the planet, people and profit into account; and when it is exposed at the Eumundi market or the local farmers’ markets, even a 4rd ‘P’ is added to the list: pleasure! And maybe the last keeps us sustainable in the long-term.