Bag Lady's pleafor Mountains residents to make March the Month of Living ASAP

With a virus taking hold of our lives, causing local and global closures - on the back of the bushfires, Blue Mountains veteran environmental campaigner Shirley Lewis said it is a "perfect time to slow down".

"Look around and see what changes, big and small, we've made and can make to ensure that in this latest crisis, the environment is not forgotten, but actually appreciated more and cared for, better," Ms Lewis said.

"The Blue Mountains can and must now lead the world in living ASAP - As Sustainably As Possible'. We must cross all the old political, religious, race and cultural barriers and do everything we can, for our children's future. They're counting on us, and ready to help."

Ms Lewis said this can be as simple as asking: 'What am I doing, that I'm proud of? and What do I need to do better? Then take a photo to illustrate this, and send it in to her team@futureasap.com. It can also promote your school, business or organisation.

The Northern Ireland ex-pat has gained a reputation as the Baglady, in her efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags. She launched her alter-ego (draped with plastic bags) as part of her the Howard government-funded Plastic Bag Awareness Day, which she also initiated.

Her newest mission to encourage sustainable living is a commitment she is asking all Mountains residents to make. That means taking more care with what and how residents' recycle to reduce to amount of waste to landfill.

Ms Lewis uses reusable beeswax instead of cling film to cover food and does not purchase good with excess packaging. The grandmother of two rarely puts out her recycling bin and only puts her garbage bin out every four or five months

"That's how little I use. Both of those bins are hardly ever filled up," she said. "As grandparents ... we need to take responsibility."

Ms Lewis's futureasap.com/blog already shows some members of the Mountains community posting on how they are working to change the world in their own small way.

MP for Macquarie Susan Templeman said she was collecting excess shower water in a bucket to water their plants. She hopes to "do better" by linking their solar panels to a battery. There's also advice from the Blue Mountains Food Coop about plastic-free living.

Ms Lewis has been 'Living ASAP' - which includes grow, shop, cook, eat, clean-up, relax, travel, energy and health - since 1995 when she "woke up wondering what her children would say if she didn't".

"These things can happen much faster now, because they need to. For example, Corona is bringing to an end the eternal 'flying is fabulous' fantasy. We have the technology to talk to the world at a click, on phones and laptops. So we'd better do it. My message has not changed much: it just bigger and more urgent."

Living ASAP is a Baglady world project which was piloted in Ballymena in Northern Ireland in 2002. She is spreading the word via media and word of mouth, around the world.

Ms Lewis recently featured in an artwork at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre by Amy Bell.

Ms Lewis travels to promote the message through the global sustainability movement Eco Schools.

File photo: Shirley Lewis (aka the Bag Lady) and Cr Romola Hollywood with a sample of lids that can be recycled. To Katoomba's Shirley Lewis ASAP does not mean as soon as possible. In fact quite the opposite - it's about living as sustainably as possible.

File photo: Shirley Lewis (aka the Bag Lady) and Cr Romola Hollywood with a sample of lids that can be recycled. To Katoomba's Shirley Lewis ASAP does not mean as soon as possible. In fact quite the opposite - it's about living as sustainably as possible.

Amy Bell's work. The urgent speech of Bag Lady: Join the Revolution 2019.

Amy Bell's work. The urgent speech of Bag Lady: Join the Revolution 2019.