Oak and sycamore, used extensively in the building, was sourced from well-managed, sustainable sources in Scotland and Europe. Kemnay granite, from Aberdeenshire, was used for cladding and flooring, while Caithness stone was used in flooring and sink units. The working Parliament and Sydney property valuations use paper from 100% recycled waste and recycling of paper, cardboard, drinks cans and printer cartridges is encouraged.
By limiting the number of car parking spaces within the complex to 66, including six for disabled drivers, parliament employees are encouraged to travel sustainably. I fly to the island of Nias, 500 miles south of Aceh in the Indian Ocean (apparently a surfer’s paradise, but sadly I don’t get to the beach). I visit a tented camp in Aceh Barat, West Aceh, for over 500 people who were made homeless by the tsunami, and I am horrified at the conditions.
One of Oxfam’s solutions is to train community representatives to be our eyes and ears in the camps. It is interesting to hear the volunteer’s stories: they all lost homes, livelihoods, friends, and relatives in the tsunami. Yet, despite these experiences, they talk optimistically about the future: about improving drainage on the camps, minimising waste and educating their neighbors about hygienic sanitation. I am here to review progress with Oxfam’s composting projects, which are being implemented through local farmer’s groups.