Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Audrey’s Story

Have you changed your life to live more sustainably, and if so, what has been the key motivator of that change?

Yes. The key motivator is my awareness and growing understanding of the severity of the impact climate change is likely to have on society and our ecosystems. This is coupled with an understanding that each of us needs to ensure we learn about this complex issue and do whatever we can to mitigate our impact on our environment while joining with others who are aiming to do likewise. I see this as a responsibility we all share.

What changes have you made?

  • Installed solar hot water
  • Installed 2 large rain tanks (20,000l capacity in total), drip irrigation
  • Changed food purchases to organic and local where possible – with a strong emphasis on local and reducing to nearly nil purchases of imported food and products.
  • Don’t purchase any household cleaning products apart from vinegar, do purchase “earth friendly” toilet cleaner, laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent and powder.
  • Staying a one-car family, regularly use walking, bike riding and buses as an alternative to the car.
  • Purchase 100% green choice electricity.
  • All new appliance purchases are with electricity consumption in mind (check stand-by power etc) and we repair existing appliances whenever possible, even if it might make economic sense to buy a whole new item.
  • Use newspaper as bin liner!
  • Insulated home (including walls) and improved shading to reduce summer heat build up.  Heavy curtains and insulating blinds installed.  Have not purchased air conditioner (only house on my street without).
  • Small monthly donation to Australian Conservation Foundation.
  • Provide my time to SEE Change to assist in growing the group and implementing projects.


Electricity consumption (installed solar hot water in 2008-09)

  • 1999 – 3699 kWh
  • 2010 – 2756 kWh
  • Saving 943 kWh/yr

Gas consumption

Went from single wall mounted gas heater in house to ducted gas, set at 17.5 deg Celsius and not used overnight or when out of the house.

  • 1999 – 13655 MJ
  • 2010 – 25846 MJ
  • Using 12,191 more MJ/yr

How do you feel about the change and how much further do you intend to go?

I feel these are good changes that must help in reducing our household footprint but there is a lot more to do.  We would like to:

  • hook up tanks to house for toilet flushing and laundry (can’t use as drinking water because of concrete tiled roof)
  • reduce car use further through bike riding more
  • grow more of our own food (do already but nowhere near what we consume)
  • reduce our dairy consumption (household consumes next to no meat (average of 150 grams a week) but dairy is quite high).
  • buy into local solar electricity generation in some form (doesn’t have to be on our roof)
  • look to extend and renovate our home in the next few years, looking to do that in a way that has the least environmental impact even if there may be extra financial costs involved in making that choice.
  • engage with others more about the changes I’ve made and the reasons for this.

What has the change given you that you did not expect?

A stronger appreciation of what is important in life; health, well-being and connection with others.  Being active in doing your bit has given me a more positive outlook on the future despite the grim possibilities.  The process of learning and taking some action has been empowering.

To what extent has being involved with SEE-Change contributed to this change?

SEE-Change has been the catalyst for that change, it has allowed my household to embrace a bigger concept than doing your small part in your home, and it has connected us with great people and wonderful ideas. Being part of SEE-Change provides ongoing motivation to remember the bigger picture and try to do that little bit more.  Knowing there is a network of valuable advice, like-minded people and a community is wonderful.

With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government