Every new mother wonders what she’ll pass onto her child. Her sense of humour? Her intelligence? Maybe her curly hair? For Brooke, 40, she couldn’t help but wonder about the kind of world she’d be passing onto her new bub.
"After my second child, I started to see things differently. I noticed the rubbish and pollution more and I started thinking of ways that I could help the situation. I’ve always been environmentally conscious but the fact I was bringing another little person into the world kicked it up a gear."
When we’re eco-conscious we become mindful of our everyday activities and their impacts on the environment. Making a conscious decision to buy less, recycle more and live more sustainably helps us focus on the bigger picture. Being aware of our surroundings and the impacts of our actions also helps us sort out our priorities and put things in perspective.
While taking her long service leave in 2016, Brooke and her young family moved to the picturesque town of Stanthorpe, Queensland. They finished settling in and with some free time on her hands, Brooke decided to put them to work and started the eco journey she had planned for years.
"I’ve always been environmentally conscious but the fact I was bringing another little person into the world kicked it up a gear."
“I explored the local area and it was really such a beautiful place but what I found was that there was A LOT of rubbish. Particularly along the road. I spent hours cleaning it up but it became pretty clear to me that I wasn’t going to be able to do it all. I knew I could make a difference if I could find other people who were passionate about this problem too. That’s what led me to go online and research different environmental groups.”
Brooke stumbled upon Boomerang Bags, a grassroots initiative that sees volunteers come together to sew donated fabric into beautiful and unique reusable bags for the community. Their aim is to reduce landfill by having less plastic bags in circulation. It was exactly the kind of environmental initiative Brooke had been looking for.
“The Boomerang Bags model instantly clicked with me. I knew there would be like-minded people in town so I put some notices out and Boomerang Bags Stanthorpe was born! Now four years on, we have 10 members and have just celebrated making our 10, 000th bag!”
Not only is going green good for the soul, but it can also stimulate your mind to perform at maximum capacity, boosting concentration, productivity and activeness. When we’re helping the planet, we’re also helping our mental wellbeing.
“Since volunteering with Boomerang Bags, I’ve realised that it’s also an investment in my own mental wellbeing. It gives me purpose and friendships in a creative, productive and meaningful way. It feels good to be doing something for a problem I’m so passionate about."
"It gives me purpose and friendships in a creative, productive and meaningful way. It feels good to be doing something for a problem I’m so passionate about."
Brooke also says that conversations at the Boomerang Bags meetups are often the highlight of her week.
“Having a place to go to talk about things really helps. You can have conversations under your own roof at home, but sometimes it's nice to get together with other people and listen to their issues and hear their problems. I think that quality time together has probably been one of the loveliest and most unexpected benefits of coordinating the group. Sharing stories and conversations is really meaningful.”
"I think that quality time together has probably been one of the loveliest and most unexpected benefits of coordinating the group. Sharing stories and conversations is really meaningful."
Although she has returned to university, and has less free time on her hands, Brooke says she has no intention of easing up. In fact, Boomerang Bags Stanthorpe has started to host school holiday workshops at the library, teaching kids how to make pencil cases from old curtains.
If you’re interested in joining or starting Boomerang Bags in your town, you can use the Find A Community tool on their website.