The Secondhand Saturday Project. Photo by Raquel Duron Perez, Uniting Harris Community Centre, 2017.

Our unsustainable consumption of resources and waste generation is creating conflict locally, nationally and internationally.

Yue (Frankie) Zheng, community development advocate and UNE Master of Arts and Environmental Advocacy student, is working to bring ecological peace to her inner Sydney community and maybe even the world.

“Aggressive war language is often used to highlight the urgent need to address our waste issues and conserve natural resources. There’s talk of combating a war on waste. Instead, I’m looking for ways we can work together peacefully to change our daily attitudes and behaviour, to create social cohesion and harmony between communities and environments,” she says.

“Everything we do, from our shopping choices to government population policy, is affected by and has an impact on the environment.

“Achieving ecological peace is the foundation for lots of other peaceful resolutions, because looking after our environment means we’re also looking after each other.

“Since 2016 I’ve been a program coordinator of the Secondhand Saturday Project in inner-city Sydney with dozens of passionate organisations and community groups. We’ve built on a long-running collective garage sale to offer an environmental education fair advocating for sustainable living. We’ve incorporated the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals into everything we do – we’re acting locally but thinking globally. By challenging social and political issues from the bottom up, I hope we are inspiring hope and empowering people to connect with their environment and play their part.

“I’m now finalising an event management toolkit that we will make available to anyone in the community so they can run their own Secondhand Saturday event. Maybe we’ll even create an environmental peace-building movement.”

Frankie’s peace wish: That Australian businesses put environmental peace and sustainability high on their agenda to positively influence resource use and waste management.

Find out more:
Peace studies at UNE