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Archive | Interviews

Suzie Brown: seven steps to sustainable food

Suzie at Suz & Guy UK party1.eJCL_5547 (2)

Suzie Brown cares about sustainable food! The food we eat – and the food we don’t eat – makes up the largest chunk of most people’s environmental footprint.

Suzie – a sustainability consultant and activist – tells the story of how she learnt about the environmental impact of her food choices and uses her expert knowledge to give you seven tips on how to source sustainable food, avoid waste and deal with food choice dilemmas.

Tell us how you started to think about sustainable food

When I first looked into the best way to reduce my personal impact on the planet–how to cut my eco-footprint–it was glaringly obvious that food was the place to start. Add to this the whole health dimension of our food choices, plus human rights issues relating to how it’s produced and sold, and you’ve got a lot to think about! Continue Reading →

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Maylynn Nunn on sustainable seafood, MSC … and motorcycles


Maylynn photo 2

Photo: Alex Craig

What got you interested in sustainable seafood?

I was studying to be a fisheries scientist because I realised how little is known about the marine environment compared to terrestrial conservation. I found that fascinating–I absolutely loved the science side of things–but I realised that you can have the best science in the world but it won’t actually lead to sustainable fishing unless the people who make decisions are onside. That got me into the economics, trade and other policy issues that affect fish and the fishing industry. The Marine Stewardship Council and sustainable seafood is the perfect intersection of environment, economics and trade for my interests.

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Otter Interview: GECA’s Rupert Posner on green products and ecolabels

Rupert Posner

Rupert Posner from Good Environmental Choice Australia talks with Otter about choosing green and safe products, and how ecolabels like GECA can help.

What is an ecolabel and how does it help consumers?

An ecolabel is a useful tool that helps consumers make informed decisions about the products they purchase.

Going green is something we hear about often. Recycle your tin cans and plastic bottles, re-use your plastic bags or better yet, purchase a jute bag and avoid them altogether. These issues are fairly well-understood, but what about buying shampoos that don’t contain harmful substances? Or purchasing a paint that has a lower level of volatile organic compounds? Or what about if we buy toilet paper that is made of recycled paper? Is that all we should be considering? And how do we know with certainty that a product we buy really is better for the environment? Can we trust what is written on the packet? Continue Reading →

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Otter Interview: Patrick Walker’s sustainable home

Patrick Walker

Patrick Walker talks with Otter about how he created his dream sustainable home by renovating an older property. Views of Sydney harbour and the bridge a bonus.

Why did you decide to renovate an older home?

My wife and I love older houses and wanted to renew one, bringing it up to the highest environmental standards, but retaining the essential period feel and character.  The fashion to  “knock down/rebuild” a perfectly serviceable old house and replace it with a new one because it’s “cheaper” is the height of wastefulness. That cheapness, like many other things, does not take into account the environmental impact of not using what is already there. Continue Reading →

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ECO-Buy’s Stephen Reardon on buying printer paper and the value of the KeepCup

Stephen Reardon and his KeepCup


How effective do you think consumers can be in creating positive change through better purchasing decisions?

I think consumers hold loads of power since ultimately  manufacturers need their business. If there was a total boycott of a particular product or company worldwide then that company would go out of business in a few months.

Political democracy is indirect – we vote for a party and then they run the country. But consumer democracy is quite direct. We are constantly voting every time we make a purchasing decision. One dollar one vote! Continue Reading →

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Otter Interview: Anne O’Brien talks good food

Anne by Cathy Xiao Chen

Anne O’Brien talks good food. Slow food, fair food, supermarket food and affordable food.

How effective do you think consumers can be in creating positive change through better purchasing decisions?

I think better purchasing decisions are one tool in the toolbox that we, as consumers, have to build more ethical economies. This is used well in combination with collective actions: when together people call into question the supply chain decisions of companies, and when they build cultures around the different ideal of economy that they want to support. A good example is the farmers market. I don’t have much time or money at the moment to go regularly, but when I do, I am inspired by the way they can nourish people socially, nutritionally and economically. Continue Reading →

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Otter Interview: Alex Neville on surfing and waste

Nevs picture

Alex Neville, surfer and writer, talks surfing and waste, the value of pre-loved boards and the power of researching on the net.

How effective do you think consumers can be in creating positive change through better purchasing decisions?

I think that consumers as a collective can have an immense influence on what is and isn’t produced. It just depends how people decide to use that influence.

The issue is that the consumer needs to be able to make an informed decision, and that has to be done amidst advertising pressures, PR talk and marketing all making noise in the background. It’s a challenge. We’re in a sort of information overload situation at the moment. What we need are better resources that provide reliable and accurate product information, and ideally we need that information at our fingertips. Continue Reading →

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Otter Interview: Suzie Galwey buys local!

Suzie Galwey on Vespa



Suzie Galwey lives in Newcastle with her husband, two children, dog and cat. She runs after-school creative writing workshops for kids and cares about building strong local communities.


Which shopping related ethical issues are most important to you?

Being from a regional centre I believe in supporting local businesses and producers as much as I can. We live near the Newcastle city centre which is undergoing a massive change as the big chain retailers have moved into the suburban shopping centres and small enterprises are gradually springing up in their wake. Purchasing locally makes sense environmentally and I hope it will help my community thrive.

How do you act on these ethical concerns in practice?

It helps that I don’t enjoy shopping centres  – they make my head spin. Continue Reading →

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