Living Sustainably Helped With the Property Investor Credit Crunch

This is a blog topic I thought would never be covered on my sustainability ‘GreenerMe’ blog.

However last week it happened – the correlation between living sustainably and a property investing benefit.

The media has been so focused on the Sydney property boom that little is reported about the current property investor credit crunch.  Combank, NAB, ANZ and Bankwest have announced that they are tightening lending criteria for property investors and raising interest rates on variable investment loans (new and existing).  AMP have even announced that they will stop lending to all property investors indefinitely. 

This post is not about why this is happening but about our own experience with the restrictions in seeking a loan. 

One way lenders are tightening their  lending criteria, is by asking investors to prove their monthly, personal spending.

We were given a budget form, to fill out what we spend on food, clothing and household items etc. We filled the form accurately however once completed we were concerned. My husband stated what we were both thinking “they are going to question the small amount we spend in these areas”.  Therefore after discussion we decided we would add notes on the form explaining that we value sustainable practices i.e. buying 2nd hand, recycling, reusing and restoring.  These practises not only save the Earth’s resoures but also our savings.

Having a public blog of my sustainable living journey since 2008, certainly backed up our personal spending claims.

Despite the credit crunch our loan was approved and I am sure our sustainable living helped – even if just a little.

image

Organic home grown mandarins - the joys of sustainable living.

Advertisements

Why Everyone Shouldn’t Eat Dairy with Spinanch or Meat?

Spinach grows all year, in our Australian temperate zoned garden.  Therefore spinach accompanied the sustainable fish we cook last night for dinner.

Here is my easy recipe for spinanch and other seasonal vegetables, that I cook regularly.  It is a surprisingly enjoyable recipe that even our toddler will eat.

image

Thinly chop a clove of garlic and lightly fry.  Add the spinanch, some green string beans, cherry tomatoes, saltanas and pine nuts.

To ensure my body is able to absorb as much iron from the spinanch, I use Nuttelex dairy free butter for frying as dairy decreases iron absorbtion.  Being dairy intolerant is an advantage when it comes to iron absorbtion.

Adding cherry tomatoes not only adds a tangy flavour to the vegetables but also adds vitamin C to your meal.  Vitamin C helps with the absorbtion of iron.

I add other vegetables at different times of the year but the spinanch is always a constant. 

Good nutrition simple, easy and tasty.

Do You Desire to be a Catalyst?

Within a chemical reaction, a catalyst will increase the speed of the reaction.  A catalyst does this with less energy and often with only a small amount of catalyst is needed.  The catalyst is never consumed.

The parallels between these chemistry characteristics and that of sustainable, visionary leadership, inspires me.  Inspiring ‘chemical reactions’ for positive change. 

Sharing the vision and promoting the possibility, then allowing others to be apart of and own the vision.  In so ensuring the vision spreads, grows and strengthens while ensuring one doesn’t  burn out or become consumed.

Being a visionary catalyst is about ‘giving birth’ to belief. Then like a ‘parent’ you will nuture, support and care for your belief ‘child’.   Your child at some point will mature and like a parent you will need to let go.   Micro managing is not the visionary catalyst’s role.  Micro managing will kill the visionary and vision.

Let go and trust your communication of the vision.  Trust those who believe and support the vision. Trust is empowering others to become leaders.

Regardless if you are a leader in a work situation or a leader in an environmental mission or voluntary community group, the lesson is the same. I wish I understood this lesson in my earlier leadership roles.

image

Why is there a photograph of Autumn leaves accompaning this post? I can't think of a connection - I just like Autumn leaves.

Do You Think Climate Change Influences Property Purchases?

Almost twenty years ago, I inspected a property for sale on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  It was beautifully located right on the water – at sea level.

The real estate agent rang me afterwards to follow up.  “It’s a lovely home but I would be worried about climate change and rising sea levels”, was my response.  Today you may consider that a reasonable concern but twenty years ago, it probably was ‘out there’ and hence the agent unashamedly laughed at my feedback.

Not so long ago I had the opportunity to revisit that same property.  I stood and stared at the back yard which now has approximately five metres less garden than twenty years ago – it has simply eroded away.  I wonder if that real estate agent still laughs at climate change concerns from potential buyers?

This got me thinking to our home purchase almost two years ago.  Eventhough the house was located kilometers from the ocean, we still had a list of ‘must have’ features that were motivated by climate change and our desire to live more sustainably.

* Large north facing roof line for solar PV
* Ample north facing garden space for growing vegetables
* Area for below and above ground, rain water tanks
* A large undercover clothes drying area

Though not on the original list, having mature fruit and nut trees would also be on our list today.

I sense there are many other people today, who’s home must have feature list, has changed over the last twenty years.  Or am I still the strange ‘out there’ minority, that real estate agents laugh at?

I’m really interested to hear from real estate agents on this one – have you noticed any change to buyer’s needs due to climate change or the environment?

image

Our large undercover clothes drying area - enough space for four large washing loads.

image

A special thankyou, shout out to my Mum, who yesterday extended our undercover clothes drying area. Now the space dries even more clothes! Brilliant with all this rain we have had!

Visiting Family – We Needed to Buy an Enviro Aero Bed

image

There is a point in time when you realise ‘I might not have enough beds’ for visiting family.  That point for me was a week before family were due to arrive.

Here is an insight into my ‘sustainable’ thought process when I realised we needed to acquire another bed:

1)  Can I burrow a bed from a friend?
No ➡

2)   Can I purchase a bed, second hand from Gumtree, Ebay or a second hand store?
No ➡

3)  What can I purchase new that would be best for the environment and sustainability?

With this bed needing situation, we proceeded to number 3) – needing to buy something new, when I failed to borrow a bed from others or source one second hand.

I jumped on Google to search ‘environmental air beds’ and discovered The Green Mom Review blog.  Don’t you love sustainable Mummy bloggers!

Anyway I purchased ‘the original Pakmat AeroBed’ because it’s PVC and phthalate free, hence making it more environmentally friendly (and non toxic).  I liked that it came with a manual hand pump and that reviews were favourable to it’s comfort level.

When you have to buy brand new, think of your money as a vote – voting for the best sustainable, kinder and environmentally friendly option available.

Wild Slippery Jack Mushrooms

image

Wild Slippery Jack Mushrooms are new to me.  I have been educated and enlightened by my friend at Little Field Mice Farm.

These yummy free delights grow wild on her farm, underneath the pine trees.  My generous friend gave me lots to take home, last time we met for our local Seed Savers event.

Foraging for wild food is something I enjoy, however mushrooms to date have been out of the question – dangerous with my lack of knowledge. 

Don’t you think it is cool that my friend teaches her children about wild mushroom foraging on their farm?

These Slippery Jack mushrooms have now been cooked up in my homemade soups, quiches and stir fries. Everyone in my family ate them with no fuss or complaint.

I just needed to peel off the skin from the top of the mushrooms, remove the stems, wash them, then squeeze out the water (slippery jack mushrooms are like a sponge).

Interested if you forage for any wild, free food?  What is your experience?

Biodynamic Composting – a Very Basic Description

Saturday I spent the day with my friends at MacArthur Seed Savers group.

Not only do the Seed Savers share produce and saved seeds with each other but they also run workshops about growing edible food.

Yesterday’s workshop was on ‘biodynamic composting’.

Honestly I have never heard of biodynamic composting but as always keen to learn.

One of the benefits of this particular composting technique is you don’t need to ‘turn’ the compost mixture once competed.

From listening, it apperas biodynamic composting is based somewhere between science and spirituality (a little like moon planting). However like most things in life, some people will stick to the pure techniques and philosophies while other people will only be interested in applying the basics to their gardening skill repertoire.

One workshop doesn’t give me the best understanding to share an expert, detailed description of the biodynamic composting process (especially when I was taking photos).  So if you are interested to know more, this website would be my recommendation.

Otherwise sit back and enjoy the photos and be slightly amused at my lack of descriptive information – hover over the photos (if viewing on a computer but not sure how to ‘hover’ over the photos on a mobile device so you can view the description – any ideas?).

Have you ever heard or tried biodynamic composting? Very interested to learn from your experiences with it!!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image