How many lightbulbs does it take?


We’ve all been hearing about how the Climate is a non-linear system and how things can change rapidly, suddenly and unexpectedly. Life is much like that too. One day you feel as though everything is moving very slowly and the next things can suddenly take on a new momentum.


Two major things have happened today. I met with Green Alliance and suggested that Blackheath Climate Action Now and the Blackheath Public School join forces for a “Give Your School A Solar Panel Project”. They liked the idea, I ran it by the principal of the school, rang the Blue Mountains Gazette and now a journalist is coming to do a story to launch it in next week’s paper. Yeeha. The way it will work is that we all start signing people up to have their houses converted to energy efficient lightbulbs and showerheads. These are provided and installed for free and the school gets $5 for every house completed. We will use the money raised to buy solar panels for the school, which will then further reduce carbon emissions and, in the holiday periods, earn the school money putting energy back into the grid. All the households will go on to have reduced energy bills so it’s a win-win situation. This can then happen for all other villages and schools in the mountains and elsewhere. On top of all that I got an email to say that our application for a team of Greencorps workers to come to the school for 6 months, to establish it as a model for urban sustainability, has been granted. They start in one month and will build biodiversity and permaculture gardens, paint murals, make videos, teach the children all these skills and inspire the community. This is a project funded by the Federal Government that is really GREAT!


Compared to all the above my personal action is a very small one. I’ve been disturbed by my crocs wearing out and what to do about them, so have tried turning one into a hanging planter. I’ve lined it with part of an old plastic shopping bag, filled it with dirt and a few water crystals and planted it with an alpine strawberry. It’s now hanging on the back

wall of the house where it will get morning sun but not the hot drying afternoon sun. It’s also next to the back door so it’s easy to remember to water.


In my beautiful garden the first broadbean shoots have come up and I’m STILL picking tomatoes – I’ve had four different types this year.


8 thoughts on “How many lightbulbs does it take?

  1. Gail

    Don’t forget to put some drainage & air holes into the strawberries plastic bag

  2. Tim Kelly

    Lis, can you tell me how you got these projects up and running, who provides the lightbulbs and showerheads and where does the solar panel come from. We could do this in Millthorpe. As president
    of the MIllthorpe Village Committee these are avtivities that Millthorpe
    could link into. Can your group and mine work together? Tim Kelly

  3. Lis

    Absolutely Tim, we’d love to work with you on this… how would you like to go about it?

    Hi Kati – I actually did try and join solar schools last year and spent a few days on the phone (I’ve recorded it all because I got so angry). At that stage, even though they continued to advertise it, and even though people still donated money from their Integral Energy accounts to support it, it was no longer operational! It was a windmill I didn’t have time to keep tilting at … I just hope they’re back in action again now …

  4. Lis

    Further on the Solar Schools Programme (oops you probably shouldn’t have got me started on THIS ONE!), instead of giving schools free solar panels they’re giving them air conditioners! How’s that for long term thinking and getting your priorities right … I guess it helps keep the coal companies in business to balance the reductions the rest of us are trying to make.

  5. Lis

    Tim, I’ll outline how easy it is to do what we’re doing:
    1. Choose the school you’d like to get solar panels for
    2. Contact me for a sign on form and box of booklets
    3. The school faxes off their form for a registration number
    4. Everyone then just starts signing people up
    5. When the lightbulbs and showerheads have been installed in a house, $5 goes to the school
    6. When you’ve signed up enough people you get the solar panel …. more to come

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