Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis on the little things making a big difference in Ipswich

That incredible beard, the natural know-how – Costa Georgiadis brought his green star power to Sustainable Ipswich Week.

“People often ask me why am I so positive? Well, all we can do is live, breathe, believe and conceive of positive things, and if we live by these positive things, then we are an influencer.”

In a world that at times feels submerged in negativity, in disaster and catastrophe, the energetic host of Gardening Australia is like a beacon with his passionate belief that life and nature are intertwined, that we all have power to change our lives – and our world – for the better.

When Costa Georgiadis presented to Ipswich students at the Youth Sustainability Summit and to adults at the EnviroForum during Sustainable Ipswich Week (August 6-12) he brought that message loud and clear.

“It doesn’t have to be this massive backflip on every corner of your life, just one thing at a time. (Such as) I’ll deal with single use drink containers by getting a water bottle. I’ll deal with buying warm beverages in single use cups by having a keep cup. I’ll never take a plastic knife and fork again because I’ll always have my wooden ones with me,” he said.

“I can influence people by giving that as a gift, I can give keep cups, or knife and fork sets, or Boomerang Bags, or things that don’t necessarily require physical stuff – the gift of a bushwalk, the gift of lunch on the beach. There are lots of little things that if we do them every day we will change the world around us.”

That message is central to the city’s first Sustainable Ipswich Week, which brings together many ways people can make those individual changes.

“If I had to find an underlying theme around (Sustainable Ipswich Week), it’s really that we are growing a lifestyle,” Costa said.

“It’s a lifestyle with a new rhythm – but it’s an old rhythm and a reliable rhythm, and a rhythm that’s going to be there long after we’re gone. The sooner we tap into it, the longer we will be here.”

For Costa, backyards are a place to contribute to that greater good. Through his eyes, a backyard is a laboratory to experiment and connect to nature, a space for beauty, for edibles, flowers and pollinations – but also for mental health.

“That’s becoming more important as more people become overwhelmed by the fast, relentless pace of the world we live in,” he said.

“The backyard, or a pot plant, or a vertical wall, can be the difference between people regenerating at the end of the day, or people slowly wearing themselves out.”

Costa Georgiadis presented at the 2018 Ipswich Enviroforum

Friday, August 10

Ipswich Civic Centre

And if there was one thing Costa could get everyone in Ipswich to do right now, it would be to harness the holistic power of the backyard through composting.

“Food scraps are not waste, they are a resource that can grow the soil, which grows your plants, which becomes the mental health medicine you self-prescribe,” he said.

“But it comes from a ‘waste’ – something we have become conveniently used to putting in a bin. And as you start to get into worm farming and composting and growing your soil, you become a different person.

“Even if you don’t have the capacity to make your own compost, you can jump on an app like ShareWaste and find someone near you who is a host, and take your scraps around regularly to someone who wants them. That way you become the change maker.”

The theme of the 2018 EnviroForum is ‘from little things, big things grow’. For Costa, who travels Australia unearthing incredible projects for Gardening Australia, that phrase evokes a strong sense that every idea matters.

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