Do Your Award AND a Good Deed

16 09 2011

Doing your Duke of Ed is super rewarding, how else do you have the chance to do something that benefits you, but also manages to help out others, or in this case Mother Nature! Yep, we are chatting about The Duke of Ed, the Environment, and how you can not only do your Award but also a good deed.

David Spiers is a Friend of the Lower Field River AND the Environment!

To complete your Duke of Ed, all participants have to get down and get dirty and get volunteering. While your volunteering choices are limitless, a number of our Duke of Ed Award recipients have opted to volunteer to save the planet.

David Spiers, a Duke of Ed Gold Awardee (and a member of our National Board) from South Australia started small with helping the environment with the idea growing into something far bigger!

Whilst completing his Duke of Ed, David recognised there was an issue with polluted water in his local area. David set about developing a water project to address the problem – Friends of the Lower Field River. This program was all about raising awareness of the water pollution to the wider community as well as developing a plan to improve the quality.

David used a public awareness campaign and secured funds for this conservation work as part of his Gold Award. David focussed on practical works on the site of the river and organised community engagement activities. In addition to this, David planted thousands of trees, shrubs and grasses. The Friends of the Lower Field River group connected with local schools, ran a successful youth forum, launched a website, produced 20,000 brochures to hand out within the loical community and developed a strategic plan to guide the groups vision.

While David’s story is about seeing a need and doing something about it, we know it’s hard to know where to start when you’re searching for your volunteering project! You might be new to The Duke of Ed, or not be aware of the environmental issues in your area.

Some great starting points are:

  1. Look Local – find out the local environmental groups in your area. Most are always on the hunt for eager volunteers. Trees for Life in SA already has a number of Duke of Ed Participants volunteering for their Award and you learn some great skills along the way such as learning to care for bushland and planting native seedlings and plants. http://www.treesforlife.org.au/
  2. Chat to your Council – it’s likely that your local council will be able to help you out when searching for a great volunteering project to be involved with. Contact your council and ask about the activities already underway, or the projects that are soon to start.
  3. National Organisations – there are a number of National organisations that are focussed on the environment. Landcare Australia and Coastcare have thousands of groups nationally with a broad focus on Australia’s resources; including coastal, urban and remote areas of Australia. http://www.landcareonline.com.au/

Remember, a big component of your Duke of Ed is focussed on giving back to the community. What better way to give back, go green and feel like you are making a huge environmentally friendly difference than selecting an environment volunteering project when completing your Award!

Are you volunteering as part of your Duke of Ed? Tell us about it… 

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5 Ways to Save the Environment

12 09 2011

The Environment really is in your hands!

At The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Australia, we are huge environment lovers. I know that most people freak out. “Saving the environment,” you may be saying to yourself as you read this, “but I’m only one person! How am I supposed to save the world when I have school/work/my Duke of Ed/every other activity under the sun to do? It’s too hard.”

Well, that’s where you are wrong! Here at The Duke of Ed, we all do little things that we incorporate into our lifestyles to do our bit and change our office aura to a bright (environmentally friendly) green!

1.       Recycle.

In 2009, 99% of households engaged in some form of re-use or recycling. You can do it simply, such as separating your recyclables from your normal rubbish, or if you enjoy a challenge, you can even start your own compost heap.

Did you know that if you recycle one aluminium can you can run your television for three hours? For more information on how to get recycling (you can even win awards), visit http://www.recycleaustralia.org/.

 2.       Less Paper = More Trees.

Did you know that worldwide paper consumption has risen by 400% in the past 40 years with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper? Woodchipping to produce paper pulp is a huge environmental issue in Australia. How can we help this?

Back in the days when my artistic skills were more of a scribble, I remember being told to use both sides of the paper. Why? So I could halve the paper and do double the drawing! Another way to get saving is in your printing. Be sure to print double sided at home, school or at work to use less paper. Think before you print!

3.       Don’t Let it Run.

Australia is the Earth’s driest inhabited continent and has had a number of chronic water shortages as a result of drought. Other than stopping the old fashioned “sprinkler run” in the middle of Summer, here are some everyday ways to save water:

  1. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and you will save up to 18 litres of water per day.
  2. Take a shorter shower for a simple way of saving water. Every two minutes you save on your shower, you can also save more than 37 litres of water!

4.       Switch it Off.

Conserve energy (and save on your electricity bill) by turning off your appliances! Turn off your computer at night and save up to 40 watts of electricity per day. Likewise, turn off your lights when your leave a room. Experts say that electricity production has increased gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This occurs faster than natural processes can remove them, leading to global warming and climate change.

5.       Wash, Spin, Dry.

Household tasks like washing and drying our clothes effect the environment. Wash in cold or warm water instead of on the hot cycle. It’s proven that if all houses in the USA were to switch to the cold-warm cycle, it could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day! Only washing clothes when you have a full load is a great way to conserve energy and water.

Finally, hang drying is the most energy efficient way to dry your washing. Use a clothesline or a clothes rack to dry your clothes using air and sunlight. Not only will it benefit the environment, but also your wardrobe – your clothes will maintain colour and fit and will last longer too!

If every household in Australia recycled and used less paper, water and electricity, there would be a huge difference in our own Australian environment as well as globally.

Are you already glowing green? Share your tips on how to be environmentally friendly with us!