It seems like an odd thing to do, but the couple are passionate about sustainability, and as Egyptian migrants, passionate about Australia:
“We love this country Australia and [so] we begin to do some changes in our daily life,”
Shoukry explains. So far, that’s been everything from taking shorter showers to getting a rainwater tank.
The couple live in Mill Park in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and are two of the Arabic-speaking people trained as assessors for Environment Victoria’s GreenTown program. Through the program they have delivered free sustainability assessments to more than a dozen homes in the Arabic speaking community, as well as local businesses.
Shoukry says that he got involved in GreenTown because he was becoming aware of climate change and the environmental problems related to it. It was a decision based on a growing interest in environmental issues and making a difference: “I decided to join it to learn more.”
Since being involved in GreenTown, he’s proud to say that their five person household now uses less water than an average three person home. The whole family is encouraging each other to keep making small changes to live more sustainably: they keep an empty bucket for greywater in the shower, and Shoukry says his “kids ask for one if it is not there”. He’s even created incentives for his family to make a habit of switching off unnecessary the lights: a fine of 20 cents to be paid by any family member for leaving the light on behind them. What’s more, Magda and Shoukry have started to enjoy using public transport. After all, it’s much more environmentally friendly and relaxing than driving a car in traffic.
Shoukry emphasises that although there is a need to act on a global scale for our planet’s future, he recognises that changes is our daily lives are the first necessary steps “to help our nation first, and our world”.
Story by Benita Auterninen