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A Small Artisan Business Going Carbon Neutral

For quite a while I’ve been thinking about going carbon neutral for Creatively Belle and I’ve finally made the decision to make this happen.

For years now I’ve had my household electricity usage at about 55-60% of the standard household for my size and I’m also a home based business so I think that is a good, consistent achievement.

As I have my electricity bills to show me a year’s worth of consumption I will be able to calculate what is needed to counter balance that usage.

I purposefully have a fuel efficient car as it is affordable to run and I already know what my average yearly number of kilometres are and how much petrol I use.

Figuring out the public transport costs seems to me a bit tricky and needing some research.

I’ll also need to figure out the electricity consumption for firing the kilns. I share the firings with others as my pieces fit around their homeware ranges.

Over the years I’ve learnt that it is better to work towards a goal rather than waiting until everything is perfect and you have all the answers. For a start, perfection is a myth, it doesn’t exist, and you never get to have all the answers, life  is too fluid for both.

So I will start with the low hanging fruit of my electricity bill, that tells me fairly clearly what my consumption rate is and shows my track record.

My initially thoughts of how to balance my carbon footprint is to get involved with an organisation like Australian Bush Heritage. I love the work they do and it is making a real difference to local environments, both with flora and fauna.

Again more research is needed, hence it being a 12 month project, but I think the key areas to look at are consumption and the methods for balancing that consumption.

Experience has also taught me that you never fully understand the full cost of a project until after it is finishes, or more accurately, with 20/20 hindsight. Therefore it might take more than a year to gain a full understanding of what really is the carbon consumption of my micro business. Probably adding a 10% buffer onto estimations will help with that 20/20 hindsight issue.

My reasons for doing this are fairly straight forward, none of them are particularly high brow, but they are much more about aligning my behaviour with my values.

Living in a big city that is rapidly growing with apartment blocks going up all over the place, streets feeling more crowded and consumption of fast clothes and furniture demonstrated with overflowing charity bins has me feeling like my city is becoming something common, it is losing some of its beauty. Ok, the harbour is much cleaner and that  is deeply important, but the areas close to the city and many of the suburbs around the train lines are getting jam packed with the really unattractive large apartment buildings.

It  is no use whinging about the changes happening to my city that has been full of character, there are still pockets of loveliness, but I do find much more inner peace being out of the city now. With my ageing parents I need to be in the country more and I want to be in that open space, I’m finding it more inspiring.

Being more aware of my environment and again being pleased with myself for the low consumption of energy for my household got me thinking about being even more effective with it.

I know from weekly experience how vitally important it is the decisions made by each of us about the where and how we spend our money. If it wasn’t for people coming to The Rocks Markets and choosing to shop with micro businesses run my artisan makers I would not being living the creative life I do. Every single person who makes that powerful decision to shop with me makes a real difference in my daily life. We all have this immense power. It may look small to some, spending $40 with one little stall but it adds up. Every sale adds up.

My little creative business going carbon neutral will help with the adding up for the environment I want to support and that matches my value system. That helps me live my own authentic life in a very real way. How I spend my money earnt from what I make and sell is really powerful.

I love the idea of contributing to building wildlife corridors so enabling others to do the work that helps them live their own lives with authenticity by reconnecting vital areas of the environment sounds good to me.

Now all I need do is figure where to start and devise a plan for the year ahead.

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