Menu Close

Festival was the First for our Sustainable Future – but not the last!

Festival was the First for our Sustainable Future – but not the last!

EcoNetwork Port Stephens held its inaugural Sustainable Futures Festival last Sunday 11 September at St Philip’s Christian College, Salamander Bay.

Over 1000 people attended and enjoyed the first sunny day in weeks!

They came to listen, learn and talk about all things ‘sustainability’. Electric cars, enormous whales, roaming giant puppets and local musical groups ensured there was something for everyone.

The headline speaker was Eureka prize winner, Professor Veena Sahajwalla, and she did not disappoint! ‘Waste is a resource to be repurposed’, said the Professor from the aptly-named SMART Institute at the University of NSW. She emphasised that we not only have to reuse, recycle and repurpose, but reform the way we treat what were previously considered waste products.

Other popular workshops included permaculture in home gardens, saving money on energy costs, creating practical and attractive items from recycled plastic and making sustainable choices for homes.

The power of community was a theme emphasised throughout the entire festival.

Participants from a wide range of community groups, conservation organisations, universities, government agencies and eco-businesses created a wonderful atmosphere – engaging with festival goers and entertaining families of all ages.

EcoNetwork President, Iain Watt emphasised, “We wanted to provide a unique festival event providing leading-edge examples of environmental innovation and sustainable living”.

“We hope the festival demonstrated that EcoNetwork is an integral part of the Port Stephens community as we head towards the celebration next year of 30 years as an environmental education and advocacy network”.

The Festival was organised by a small sub-committee of EcoNetwork Port Stephens and the many community members who volunteered on the day.

‘We are very grateful to all the hardworking volunteers who contributed tirelessly before and during the event, to make it such a success’ said festival committee member Roz Armstrong.

Early feedback from those who attended has been very positive.  Rob McCann, Director of South Pacific Sustainability commented:

“This was one of the best sustainability events I have been to (and I’ve been to a lot). To my delight there was no corporate PR, no green washing, no ‘empty suits’. Just great people, grass roots innovations and a very high level of expertise and knowledge. Exactly what an event like this should be. Talks were all excellent …”.

For more information or quotes, please contact EcoNetwork Secretary Kathy Brown on 0422 261057 or President Iain Watt on 0434 411354.

Congratulations to the winners of our inaugural aRRRRRt awards:

Open Category: Anne-Maree Hunter ‘Im-Permanent Frost’.

Secondary: Emelia Thurlow ‘The Flying Book’.

Primary: Emily Clark ‘Caution thoughts’ 

People’s Choice: Jamie Mackintosh ‘Bag Jellyfish’

Artisan Collective with two of the winners Anne-Maree Hunter and Jamie Mackintosh
People’s Choice winner: Jamie Mackintosh ‘Bag Jellyfish’

EcoNetwork Port Stephens is grateful for the support of sponsors Port Stephens Council, Hunter Water, Hunter Region Landcare Network, Salamander Bay Recycling, Boomerang Bags Raymond Terrace,  Boomerang Park Preservation Group, Marine Parks Association, Wollotuka Institute and Koala Eco.