Here’s a New Year's resolution for you: how about going green for 2011? Newtown’s the Watershed is leading the charge for a more sustainable Sydney and we at Time Out are eager to jump onto their self-pedalled bandwagon.
A joint initiative of City of Sydney and Marrickville Council, the Watershed was set up in 2002 to encourage a culture of environmental sustainability in the community. This not-for-profit collective boasts a drop-in-anytime resource centre, environmentally friendly bike library and a workshop programme that could turn even the most ardent takeaway consumer into a green-thumbed produce pusher.
Offering an average of two free workshops each week, the Watershed’s green guidance runs the gamut from home grown food to solar panel installation. “The Watershed is not just about information,” says Watershed programme manager Megan Bennett. “It is also about growing the capacity of the local community to live in a more sustainable way. The Watershed’s workshops bring people with a common interest together to learn about the simple things they can do in their everyday lives.”
Over the years, the programme has grown to accommodate the needs of the community. “The workshops evolve to address the community’s changing understanding of sustainable living,” explains Bennett. “And also in response to requests from workshop participants for skills or knowledge in a particular area.”
Those not wanting to attend specific workshops are encouraged to drop in and ask questions about sustainable living. The eager staff can help with everything from natural cleaning products to garden pest control and the extensive resource library is open to all curious and environmentally conscious minds.
The crew at the Watershed are also keen advocates of the changing face of Sydney transport. While promoting the ride-to-work revolution, the Watershed also aim to integrate bikes into other facets of city life. With their extensive library of bikes even moving house on two wheels can be a realistic option. “We provide access to specially designed bicycles that can carry large objects or children,” says Bennett. “Our Bike Library makes a car-free lifestyle possible in the local area.” Erin Moy