Kirsten McCulloch

Kirsten McCulloch is an Australian mother of three living in the suburbs. She has a background in writing and editing, particularly for the web, and a life long interest in living sustainably. On her journey to reduce her energy and resource consumption, she makes her own non-toxic cleaners, keeps chooks, has a few fruit trees, and a mostly organic vegetable patch. She is learning to knit and crochet but she can’t sew to save her life. She is trying hard to declutter her home. Slowly. She is trying to teach her children to value the natural environment and not to waste resources, with somewhat patchy success to date.

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Making a Gingerbread House from Scratch

Gingerbread house decorated with white icing and ginger bread shapes.

Making a gingerbread house has become a bit of a tradition in our household, and last year we perfected the recipe. So here’s how to make one from scratch. Note: You don’t make a gingerbread house from scratch in one sitting. The dough needs to be refrigerated before rolling out, the pieces need to harden…

How to Have a Green Christmas Season

Standing 3D Gingerbread Christmas tree, with icing snow.

For many people around the world, this is a time of giving, of family and of renewal.

Whether you celebrate Diwali in October or November, Saint Nicholas Day on December 6, Hanukkah, Winter or Summer Solstice, Christmas, or even just New Year, it’s likely there’ll be some kind of gathering of family or friends, possibly involving gift giving, almost certainly involving one or more large meals.

While these celebrations can provide an important time for renewing relationships, personal introspection and joyful participation, sometimes they can feel like a mass of over-consumption.

How to Make a Simple Citrus Cleaner, Plus Nine Awesome Blog Posts

quartered lemons emersed in white vinegar in a jar

I’ve just made myself a couple of jars of this citrus cleaner, which just involves steeping lemon peel (or other citrus peel) in white vinegar for three weeks. Often I just put a little vinegar in a spray bottle with a lot of water and let my kids have at it. I know they will use far more of whatever spray I give them than necessary (especially my six year old!), so a little goes a long way. But I am looking forward to everything having a lovely lemony smell instead of vinegar!

Where Does All the Mercury Go?

Mercury emissions by light source (en)

There is no doubt that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are more energy efficient than their predecessors, incandescent light bulbs. But the issue of their mercury content ending up in landfills is very real. The Australian Government’s FluoroCycle scheme is a voluntary system supporting industry in recycling fluorescent lights, thereby keeping mercury pollution from entering the…

Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World

Made by Hand, Searching for meaning in a throwaway world, by Mark Freuenfelder

There are at least three driving forces behind the cultural movement towards DIY activities. One is frugality. Another is the desire to live more ethically and sustainably. A third driving force is a certain disenchantment with aspects of modern life. It is a desire to slow down, smell the roses and feel the texture of the wood. To develop a stronger connection to the world around you, and a better understanding of the items you use everyday. It is largely this desire to experience life more fully, or at least, in a different way, that motivated Mark Frauenfelder to become a do-it-yourselfer.

Prominent Climate-Change Sceptic Converts

Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, looked at all the climate-change research and found some problems. Pieces of the puzzle that didn’t add up, or studies that didn’t stand up to scrutiny. “It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical”, he rightly states in a recent article for the…

And We Have a Winner…

One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square by Lolo Houbein

My ten-year-old son Liam did the honours today, drawing a name out of a hat, to determine the winner of our giveaway of One Magic Square. In front of exited onlookers, Liam drew out the name… (Drum Roll Please) Dani So our winner is Dani of Ecofootprint ~ South Africa. Congratulations Dani, I hope you…

Vote for Swap Shuffle Share!

Swap Shuffle Share

Swap Shuffle Share is “an online community who swap their backyard bounty at meet-ups, shuffle carrots for cabbages and rhubarb for radishes, and share home-grown tips and tricks about home-growing.” This is a grassroots organisation, up until now solely funded by founder Natasha Kuperman, and exactly the sort of important movement I think Paul Gilding…

You Are Not What You Own (and Neither am I)

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life. Francine Jay

‘The compulsion to identify with consumer products reaches deep into our lives – from our choice of homes to what we put in them.’ (The Joy of Less, Francine Jay, 2010) I’ve been reading (the kindle edition of) The Joy of Less: a Minimalist Living Guide, by Francine Jay, and also her short ebook Miss…

Is ‘Slow’ Essential for a Sustainable Life?

Hand made sign saying "drive slow" in front of a tree.

‘I’ve realised wanting to do too much is almost as toxic as wanting too much stuff.’ (Tricia Hogbin @ Little Eco Footprints) I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of ‘slow’ lately, as embodied by the slow movement, and I’ve been wondering: is our fast paced lifestyle inherently unsustainable? I don’t mean unsustainable only…