Page 4726 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 19 October 2011

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Ride to work day

Living Green Festival


MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (6.31): I would also like to talk about a few activities I have indulged in in the last few weeks, the first of which is ride to work day. It was a glorious day on ride to work day this year, as distinct from the year before, when it was raining cats and dogs. I was very fortunate to be joined by Mr Coe, Dr Bourke and members of Pedal Power. We went round the proposed Civic cycle loop. Unfortunately, it is still only the proposed Civic cycle loop, but we and Pedal Power will keep chipping away on this and hopefully it will soon become the actual cycle loop. This could be a great addition to Canberra. Ride to work day had a record number of registrations around Australia this year—45,000—which is great. It is showing that people can enjoy riding to work and that riding to work can really make a difference to our transport system.

On Sunday I went to the first ACT Living Green Festival. It had as its by-line “a kinder shade of green”. For those of you who might not have realised what a kinder shade of green is, it was promoting cruelty-free and environmentally friendly products, services and food. When we say “cruelty-free”, basically we are talking about vegan or vegetarian. We are talking food, products and environmental things which do not involve exploitation of animals.

It was really great to be there. I have been a vegetarian for 20 or 30 years or so, so I was quite at home. One of the real achievements there, I would have to say, was vegan cupcakes. If you have not tried making vegan cupcakes, let me tell you that that is one of the reasons I am a vegetarian and not a vegan: it is hard to get a lot of your baked goods really working without the little bit of egg to keep it going. They had some incredibly good ones. And if it happens—

Mr Barr: Egg substitute just doesn’t cut it?

MS LE COUTEUR: No, it does not, I am afraid, Mr Barr. If it comes back next year, what I would highly recommend to everyone is the raw food chocolate dessert. They are little things; they are absolutely yummy chocolate.

Anyway, it was not entirely food, although that was a big part of it. There were yoga demonstrations; there were solar panels; there was massage; there were cleaning products. There were a lot of things along those lines. They had a program of speakers. I was one of them; I did speak about how vegetarianism has some really positive environmental pluses as well as the ethical pluses.

The last thing I would like to mention is SEE-Change. Last night I went to SEE-Change’s annual general meeting. The “SEE” stands for society, the environment and the economy. It was started quite a few years ago in Belconnen by Bob Douglas. It started off with some incredibly ambitious aims. One of my friends was in one of the original suburbs, and they were aiming to reduce their CO2 emissions in that suburb by 30 per cent in about five years. I am afraid that it has not managed to quite achieve

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