Armchair Activism – 7 Things You Can Do

spoof on superman

Permaculture designs a greener lifestyle. And we have a wealth of techniques to reduce our impact on the environment. But for once, lets sit back and explore what can be in the comfort of an armchair. Get comfortable. Don a knee rug. Grab your glasses. And join in.

Greg Knight Quality Engineer, BMet Host of WhyNotWollongong,
Founder of Wollongong Power and Renew Illawarra Convenor

7 Armchair Actions

1. Invest in Someone

Traditionally we leave money in our will and have no idea how that will be spent. But there are other options. We can invest in green technologies for your beneficiaries and help them create a greener future. For example: Buy solar panels for a friend or your adult children’s home. For $6k in the bank you would be lucky to earn about 1% = $60 interest for the year. You can buy a solar panel system for about the same amount of money.

A generous act like this has compounding benefits. It will save your adult child $750 per year in reduced power costs and export tariff. Not only have you saved your child money for decades but you have also greened the grid. Even little investments like solar toys spark their imagination and build a better future. These include little gifts like a solar-powered torch. Your gift makes a change for many people and for nature.

2. Make Your Super Truly Super

Move your money away from ecologically damaging investments. Change your super fund category to green. If your fund doesn’t offer a green and ethical category, change funds. Super is a powerful tool for mature investors.

3. Green Your Investments

Green your share portfolio. Forget currencies that guzzle valuable energy. Look at what the super investment companies are choosing for their green funds.

Abandon fossil fuel assets. These will eventually become stranded assets. And their value is likely to plummet, not slowly decline.

4. Lobby

Lobby for change. You can lobby on a national scale for example Australia could save a lot of energy by simply upgrading the voltage of the national grid. And the USA could save a huge amount of energy by allowing people to dry their clothes outdoors.

“Your local Council is capable of making fundamental changes to our living systems in a way to improve our climate. Understand the actions your Council is taking on your behalf. Read their climate plan. Find ways this can be improved. And lobby your local Councillor. Write letters offering a fresh perspective, background research and creative solutions,

Thinking globally, subscribe to newsletters of the Climate,  donate to their cause or join their campaigns. The Citizens Climate Lobby offers training on how to influence politicians and start a conversation.” Greg noted.

5. Support Sustainable Technology

Australia is leading the wor\ld with solar panel installation. This is because it works. One family after another has invested. They have discovered the pay back on investment is around 5 years. After that you can enjoy free electricity.

Support sustainable technology such as electric cars. These can be powered by your solar system. When the time comes, replace your current gas or old electric hot water system with a timed heat pump system. Heat/cool your house with an air conditioner. Their clever use of physics provides 3-5 times the heating/cooling power than conventional systems. Investigate ways to stop air leaks and air movement in your main living room. How many bodies (at 100w each) does it take to heat your living room?

King Henry is surrounded by a dense crowd of kneeing subjects. Everyone is heavily cloaked in the dim, austere hall. They ask: Is the room warm enough now?
How many bodies (at 100w each) does it take to heat your living room?

Downsize and get cosy. Use smaller rooms as a winter hideaway or snug. And rug up. Retrosuburbia has lots of ideas on how to downsize and be closer to your family and friends.

6. Get Collective

Community power collectives include the Windfarm in Hepburn. What project could your street get into?

7. Upskill

Even from your armchair, you can make a difference. When you are happy in the armchair, you buy less and learn more.

Learn more about your community waste and how it can be repurposed. Also, learn how to improve and manage your home. Your home is not a box. It interacts with the climate outside. You can open the sunny windows or blinds in the morning and close them in the afternoon.

Learn more with our online method. We provide a wealth of course notes, videos and personal mentorship.

Happy Giving

Why Give Gifts?

Gift giving is up there with the biggest consumer spending frenzies of our lives. It is as emotionally charged as buying a home, a car or a holiday. Some people might think the easy answer is to stop spending and stop giving gifts. Some might think that it is better to give money so the recipient can choose to spend it how they wish. But giving money is giving up on all the trimmings that go with the act of giving.  We give each other things to show we have thought about them, want to share things with them and give them surprises. In contrast to this – being mean makes people more isolated, more distrustful, less caring and self-centered.

Generosity is an up-ward spiral of positive thoughts, an enriching psychological experience. When we are generous, we are kind and say encouraging things and act to support others.  We can turn the gift-giving into an opportunity to good for others, for producers and for the planet.

Gifts For The People You Love And The Planet You Treasure


Instrument craftsman in Peru

Locally handcrafted gifts are three way gifts – They give to monetary support and encouragement to
1. your loved one
2. the planet, and
3. your local artists and economy

Personal Gifts

  • Buying Antiques allows an item to be loved again. Antique collectors value design, craftmanship and durability.  Antique items have character, are unique and often have a life-story to reveal. There are many amazing pieces of history that need a good home, to be dusted, polished and cared for. We don’t need to buy anything new when there is so much stuff from the past.
  • indiana-state-museum-fossilsFossils and other historic items need care, you can give these to a friend who will exhibit and value them OR you could give a gift of membership to your local museum.
  •  Handmade jewellery or handbag jewellery or
  • bookmark or spectacle holder made from recycled necklace.
  • Tickets to see a show (there’s little wrapping or waste, simply pop it in a hand-made card).
  • Hire a ride in a vintage car, this is especially good for people who need a special outing but can’t go out for a long period.
  • Photos of their childhood, family members and travels presented as a small non-plastic ‘poster’.
  • Hand-made photo frames.
  • A real razor blade, not a disposable one.
  • Under-arm de-odorising rock salt crystal.
  • Walking shoes.
  • Handkerchiefs or cloth serviettes instead of paper tissues. These are amazingly handmade jewellerygood finds in the op-shops and markets – You can find some still in their packaging and of a very fine quality linen.
  • A silk pillow case to prevent hair from getting knotty in bed
  • A silk eye pillow with dried herbs and calming oils
  • A basket of homemade ecologically sound cleansers.
  • Cosmetics and toiletries made from natural ingredients and not tested on animals.
  • Their favourite home cooked meal frozen in a resealable serving dish, ready for a weary day. include recipe in a card.
  • A hand made scarf/bow/tie or cloth jewelery bag.
  • A hand-made musical instrument or clothing

Homely Gifts

  • A live potted Christmas tree, that can be planted out after Christmas. This could live potted tree Mt Kembla Permaculture Visionsbe a native pine OR a large chilli plant full of chillis (for a Summer Christmas – southern hemisphere) OR a shrub that is full of flowers such as a rose (to make rose syrup and other delicacies).
  • Home made preserves and chilli sauces
  • A Packet/s of seeds. OR make a suprise packet out of mixed seeds (check they are all edible in case they are mistaken)
  • Subscription to a seed saving group, soft technology magazines, organic gardening magazines, rare fruits association etc.
  • A donation to a charity such as Tear or other like organisation on the recipients behalf.
  • Hand-made compost bay.
  • Worm farm made from found materials. The Potted worm farm looks great with a plant on top and you can water it whenever you pop over.
  • A non-disposable lunch kit with a thermos or drink bottle, lunch box with separate compartments so no wrap is required, cloth serviettes. You can add a few velcro fastners to make a cloth serviette into a durable, washable wrap.
  • A fountain pen and coloured inks.
  • A cup to carry everywhere.
  • Cloth nappies and a pledge to help hang them out.
  • Energy saving shower head.
  • An eco-tour or eco-holiday voucher (you can offer to take them on a bush-walk or holiday or their choice).
  • Durable garden tools.
  • Books on organic gardening, composting, herbs and flowers, native species.
  • Field guides on birds and local reptiles.
  • solar recharger for phone – this is great to take on a hike, in case you get lost! Also include a flint or even a little survival kit.
  • A garden pond with optional solar powered fountain.
  • A fruit dryer.
  • A yoghurt maker.
  • Rechargeable batteries with re-charger.
  • A tent and small, efficient camping equipment. To encourage clean bush walking and adventure.
  • Dried herbs and flowers from your garden and instructions on their use as a tea.
  • Natural wool or angora sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, socks.
  • Hand-made baskets, natural fibre washing baskets, paper waste containers, pot plant containers, picnic baskets.
  • Canvas, string or cane shopping bags, ham bag.  A supermarket cloth bag with a favourite fabric pocket sewn over the logo as well as a bit of elastic inside the sides. These bags are always too wide and floppy.
  • Potted kitchen herbs in organic potting mix (you could make this yourself).our winter harvest Permaculture Visions
  • Edible house plants such as sugar cane for hot spots, mint, shallots, monstera vine.
  • Gift voucher for nursery plants or environmental products and courses.
  • Beeswax or remade candles.
  • Homemade preserves.
  • Hand-painted recycled glassware.
  • Organic Christmas Cake or other special treat.
  • A homemade Christmas wreath of grapevine and other home grown materials.
  • Blankets (cotton or wool) suitable for the lounge and living areas.
  • recycled material turned into Cloth kitchen washers/cloths/ car washers etc. You can simply cut and hem the edges.
  • if you must get something high-tech here is a good guide for Ethical Technologies choices


  • Redeemed  toys (repainted bicycle, trike, scooter, rocking horse). Use safe paints, preferably organic paint products. These items could be antiques but beware of toxicity of old paints and any loose parts.
  • Homemade cushions and bean bags with environmentally friendly safe stuffing.
  • A wooden loom and natural fabrics for weaving.
  • A dolls or action figures tent made of recycled fabrics and stakes.
  • Science series books by David Suzuki.
  • A homemade backyard swing or tree house, a rope climbing aparatus.
  • A small gardening kit, tools and seed.
  • Wooden or cane furniture.prize pumpkins Permaculture Visions
  • seeds for novelty plants such as giant pumpkins.
  • Roller skates or bicycles to encourage energy efficient travel.
  • Recycled or re-used paper fastened as a book.
  • Craft books.
  • Weather proof boots.
  • Pets such as ducklings and hens, Guinea pigs or Rabbit in hutch to mow the lawn.

Wrap gifts in Re-useable materials

  • Children’s Artworks
  • unused photocopied music scores
  • Material Shopping bags
  • Tea towels or Hand towels
  • Biodegradable tablecloths
  • Sari or Beach wrap
  • Scarf
  • Beach towel
  • Picnic rug
  • Bamboo place-mats
  • hand made paper or
  • hand made bags

How To Avoid Wasted Food After Special Celebrations

Plan you menu
Write a Shopping list
Measure your serving sizes or let people serve themselves
Store Food Correctly
Eat the Leftovers
feed the leftovers to your chickens or worm farm