Rather than simply dreaming of a Sydney where edible gardens abound and the city is there for the people – Sally Hill is doing what she can to make it happen.
In her quest to fire up local environmental action, Sally Hill has her finger in so many pies, we’ve lost count. Sally’s the brains behind Sydney sustainability blog Sustahood, is part of the Youth Food Movement, helps put on Sydney’s monthly green drinks, GreenUps, and is a creator of last year’s The Moving Feast. It’s hard to imagine she fits in a day job forging corporate sustainability partnerships for WWF Australia as well!
Well, the more you read, the more you realise we’re in big trouble. I’m talking about everything from climate to food security to the carrying capacity of the planet. Call it a perfect storm, climate ‘code red’, whatever the name, we’re in deep doo-doo. That’s why I’m really only interested in transformational change – not tinkering around the edges. And if absolutely everything has to change, I see no choice but to live and breathe it.
Tell us about Sustahood.
I returned from the UK last year to find, to my surprise, heaps happening on the ground in Sydney around sustainability. I was perplexed that I hadn’t heard more about it, so I set up Sustahood. I wanted to showcase the coolest of what was going on here, bring the most inspiring of the world to Aussies, and draw together networks of people passionate about sustainability.
What recent project do you most like to talk about?
A film called This is George. Friends and I won a grant to communicate climate change and were given four weeks to turn around an animation. We cobbled together what turned out to be an amazing team of illustrators, designers and animators. It was an enormous challenge to make something like that with no experience, but it was proof that it pays to have a go and you can do whatever you set your mind to!
I’m also really proud to be involved with the Youth Food Movement – this group is so dynamic. Food really encapsulates all of the sustainability challenges we’re facing and the far-reaching impacts of our society’s nature deficit disorder.
How do you see the future for Sydney?
I believe the future is now, and it’s co-created by the actions we take every day. To have the Sydney we want, we can’t afford not to dream big. We don’t want a city that’s designed by accident or by default, we want one that’s designed with consideration.
My Sydney utopia consists of bike lanes, trams and light rail, a sea of green roofs, and multi-purpose, collaborative, community spaces. Changes in land use (like car parks becoming edible gardens), lots and lots of trees, and a crazy mix of cultures across multiple ‘hot spots’ from the CBD out to Parramatta. The good news is: it’s happening, we just have to keep shepherding it in the right direction.
Tickets to hear Sally talk ‘Pecha Kucha’ style on Monday 5 March as part of Pop Sydney are sold out. But you can still enjoy Pop Sydney by day. More on that next!