drawing the line

In Sydney’s Elanora Heights, Dick Clarke, 50, a building designer, lives with his wife, Bronwyn, and two of his three sons (Peter, 20, and Tim, 17) in an environmentally friendly house.

Clarke’s upstairs home office, perched among gently swaying melaleucas, is a kind of nest for the sustainable man. “A sustainabe lifestyle guides so much of what I do,” says Clarke. “But it’s a journey with no end point.

You have to come to grips with where you want to draw the line. we have water tanks, solar power, but we don’t grow any food, which is a priority if you want to live sustainably. But I can’t do a vege patch, I work 18 hours a day.”

Clarke seems to have an involuntary reflex that switches off lights and computers a he moves through his house.

“Things seem to magically turn on as the kids walk past,” he says, shaking his head.

“They call me an eco-nazi. Sometimes I lose it and hide the amp lead, take lights away from them. But sometimes you have to turn a blind eye to a 20-minute shower.”

The Sun Herald (Sydney), 29 Jul 2007 – screen copy held by this website