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

Mark’s Story

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

To not take from the world and nature anymore than nature can restore and regenerate. I was influenced and motivated by my mother’s approach to saving hot water, finding multiple uses for what were designed as consumable items, having respect for all things and all people. I also spent much time being in nature and taking young people and adults into nature to learn about themselves and be more resilient. I became more aware of the source of energy, food, water and materials and the cycles they go through supporting humans live. I experimented with trying to live and operate effectively without consuming more energy and resources.

What changes have you made?

  • Installed ceiling insulation
  • Renovated home to have communal eating and cooking areas
  • Installed solar hot water with temperature readout in house next to manually controlled timer switch for electric boosting
  • Installed solar PV panels and inverter
  • Rode bicycle to study and work but drive car more now
  • Buy food at food coop
  • Installed 5000l water tank and pump with connection to inside toilet
  • Purchased energy and water efficient front loading German (high quality and long lasting) washing machine
  • Purchased 100% green energy for 3 years before installing pv panels
  • growing some apples, plums, apricots, cherries and tomatoes, spinach rhubarb and other veges and herbs
  • shared plants and gardening knowledge with neighbours
  • Installed wall insulation
  • Installed heavy curtains and sealed airleaks at external doors
  • Recycle and reuse building materials and packaging
  • Use wood as a source of heating in slow combustion stove
  • Purchased energy efficient refrigerator (now 20yrs old)
  • Designed and made some furniture and house from sustainably harvested and recycled timber
  • Purchase offsets for air travel but aim to minimise air travel
  • Developed sustainable supplier policy for small business buying services from other providers
  • Build relationships based on values trust and high esteem to minimise waste and make collaboration efficient, enjoyable and rewarding
  • Seek to purchase food that is created with respect for people and nature and is local and seasonal
  • Seek to create and acquire household objects that have low embedded energy and low life cycle cost of use
  • Regularly maintain all machinery and cars to safe and efficient standards of operating. Keep machines and cars for a long time operating efficiently rather than discarding and getting new ones (maybe some life cycle costing inefficiencies here that need more data to test best strategy).
  • Minimise cleaning car with water.

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

I feel very positive about enjoying living in a house and minimising waste energy, water, food and materials. I take an engaging interest in watching my water tank fill with water and my solar panels generate electricity and export it to the grid. I plan to continue learning, designing and changing to regenerate ecosystems, soils, buildings, energy and food systems.

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

A deep pleasure at observing how the systems that operate my home work in partnership with nature.

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

I enjoy being with a community of people who are trying new ways to make a simple difference to build community and co-create a new friendly and healthy post-industrial local economy.

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