Our final day in Cairns started off with a reflection. We split up into groups and brainstormed about what a sustainable city meant to both the individual and the community. It sparked a lot of conversation and debate. Everyone in the group then reflected on what we’d learned and things we planned to change in our lives. It was almost bittersweet in a way as we’d all come so far from where we started at the beginning of the trip. Some of us came from a back ground where we knew next to nothing about what it meant to live sustainably. Now here we were a month later, thinking about the full picture, about what it meant to take a shorter shower, to consider using renewable energy, or even debating about whether or not organic farming was well and truly sustainable! Too see the sides of the organic farming debate for yourself visit this link: http://discover.umn.edu/news/food-agriculture/new-study-sheds-light-debate-over-organic-vs-conventional-agriculture
After reflection, we went out to lunch at a place called Zambrero (read more about it here: http://www.zambrero.com/about )
Zambrero itself is a company dedicated to providing not only good healthy food, but also making a difference in the world. For every meal purchased, Zambrero provides a plate of food for someone in need around the world.
Zambrero, while delivering delicious Mexican food to the public, also offers a convenient way for the everyday person to be more socially and environmentally sustainable, and essentially feeding two people at once. Not only that, but they recognize the importance of sustainability within their own country and offer easily accessible recycling and waste bins.
After lunch, we continued exploring Cairns. With no set site visits we could shop and spend time at our leisure, but all the while keeping our eyes out for ways that Australians encourage sustainable practices. Access to public water bottle refill stations was one. With plastic water bottles piling up across the world by the day (read here about the Great Pacific plastic patch, a growing problem due to human over consumption: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/5208645/Drowning-in-plastic-The-Great-Pacific-Garbage-Patch-is-twice-the-size-of-France.html), Cairns does its part to encourage an alternative.
The rest of the day was spent lounging at the lagoon located on the Esplanade (see all the esplanade has to offer here: http://www.cairnsesplanade.com/index.html ). Due to slight crocodile problem, swimming in the ocean isn’t an option, so the public flock to the lagoon instead. It’s a stunning sight and a great place to relax after a busy month of traveling the country, revegetating rainforests, and discovering what it means to be sustainable.
Once the rain came, most of us retreated back to the hotel to work on our homework or just chill out. For our final farewell dinner we ate at the Cock and Bull, a delicious local tavern. There we thanked our wonderful guide Paul for everything he’d done for us (check out his place, On the Wallaby, if you ever need a place to stay! http://www.onthewallaby.com).
After dinner it was time to pack and prepare for our 5am flight home the following morning. While some of the group would continue their travels to New Zealand and elsewhere in Australia (myself included) the rest of the group were US bound. It had been an amazing journey, filled with once in a lifetime opportunities, friendships, and experiences. Not one of us will return home without the mentality to make a change and do our best to preserve this beautiful planet in anyway that we can. Join us in our quest to live more sustainably as well, here’s a few tips to start you off: http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/15-ideas-for-sustainable-living.php).
See you later mates! Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog and feel free to leave comments and questions! Australia is a country for everyone, don’t be afraid to explore!