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Living Lightly column

My Two Favourite Things in Life

By Karen Bowley, Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH) and Wooragee Landcare

“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles.  They both move people forward without wasting anything.” – Peter Golkin, Public Information Officer at Arlington Public Library , USA.

I love libraries.  Not only are they cool in summer and warm in winter, they provide a variety of activities and objects for our use, which are free.  Libraries offer not only an amazing range of books, both fiction and non fiction, but also DVD’s, audio books, magazines, newspapers, community newsletters and cultural activities for both children and adults.  They invite us to hear from authors about their books and the skill of writing. And there are free computers and wifi, with assistance provided should we need it.

Libraries are also environmentally sound as they allow us access to all of the above, without having to buy everything ourselves.  We can borrow what we would like and then return it when we have finished with it.  They are the answer to our rampant consumerism like toy libraries and tool libraries.

My favourite section is the audio books which I listen to in the car or when working in the kitchen.  Cook books encourage us to cook for ourselves instead of relying on fast food, gardening books give us ideas about how to grow our own food and so lead a healthier and environmentally conscious life.  Craft books can teach us new skills and are good for our health as detailed in an interesting article in The Conversation on 27 July 2018 which explores the idea that “craft allows us to enter an immersive state of balance between skill and challenge”.  It is also another way of practising mindfulness which is good for our health, both physical and emotional, in this hectic life we now all lead.  Libraries, like craft, are “an antidote to the stresses and pressures of modern living”.

Bicycles too have a similar role in today’s society.  We can travel from one point to the other slowly, with minimal carbon emissions, while getting fit at the same time. By travelling slowly we can appreciate the world around us, take in the beauty of trees and gardens and enjoy the sounds of birds.  We have lots of bike tracks in and between our  North East Victorian towns that enable us to enjoy our magnificent surroundings without the danger, noise and pollution of the roads.

And both libraries and bicycles can be solitary or family activities so everyone can enjoy them at any time where ever you are in your journey through life.