Whoever said it isn’t easy being green never spoke to a senior. It’s all we’ve ever known.

When you think about it, environmental sustainability is a pre-industrial idea in shiny new (recyclable) wrapping.

Don’t throw stuff out that still works or might come in handy again one day. If it’s broken, have a shot at fixing it before buying a replacement. Because you know from experience the new (cheaply made) thing might break sooner, or not work at all.

Repairing is no modern invention. Nor is repurposing – making a gadget you need from a gadget you don’t. Imagine the quizzical reactions of our grandparents to 21st century sustainability? It would remind them of stuff that was drummed into them as children – things like saving the washing up water for the garden or switching off the light when you leave a room. Or watching dad attach new handles to old spades and mum using bowls inherited from her mother.

The sustainable behaviours our grandchildren learn in school are old habits for us. Hopefully we still practise them, even if most affordable things in the shops are now unfixable plastic. Admittedly, trying to glue snapped frames on your glasses is a thankless task, but whether you can or can’t fix something isn’t the point. The point is seniors are empowered with a sustainability mindset – so let’s use it to combat climate change. Let’s lead by example so younger folk can appreciate the value and pleasure of restoring, reusing and repurposing.

Climate change is a chance to see ourselves in a different light – to bring out our best through ingenuity, says Banksia Environmental Foundation’s Chief Executive, Graz van Egmond.

When it comes to managing climate change, all the ‘silver bullet’ solutions have their own social, economic or environmental ripple effects. Even solutions that seem sound, such as electric cars, have huge hidden issues. For example, making a battery takes almost much energy as the carbon you save driving your hybrid car.

So we need to think smaller and smarter to create real, achievable, everyday solutions in our own backyards, garages, kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Which is where we come in – the generations raised to fix, reuse and repurpose. Generations famous for figuring out ways not to spend and consume.

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