Australia, Community, Environment, Food, Gardening

REKO – Covid safe drive through food

By the time the humble spud or apple reaches your supermarket shelf from its trek from the farm, it could be up to three weeks old, due to storage times, days waiting for freighting in trucks, sitting in the open air at wholesale markets, transportation to distribution centers and then to individual supermarkets. Then there is the shelf time waiting until the customer selects it, for purchase.

It doesn’t help the consumer or the farmer.

We have come to expect produce to be available year round, but this comes at a cost in terms of nutritional content and quality. Some fruits that grow naturally in warmer/colder climates have been genetically modified to lengthen the growing season. In the 1970-‘s a range of foods were genetically modified to ensure a longer shelf life, or make fresh crops more resistant to pesticide attack in the non-optimal growing months. Food quality has changed.

As we all know fresh is best, how can the fresh food supply chain be compressed, so that produce reaches us sooner and in better condition?

vegetables tomato salad

Alternatives to the Supermarket

A farmer led online co-operative company called Food Connect, was one way I sourced fresh produce sooner than the tired offerings at my supermarket. This company guaranteed to get fruit and vege to your point of collection from the farm within three days.

The range is limited to seasonal produce, (which is the way it should be), so the boxes has a set selection of product. Customized boxes cost the customer a lot more and were supply dependent.

But now there is another alternative.

What is REKO?

Reko is an online farmers market where the supply chain involves the farmer or producers selling directly to the customer with zero wastage and minimal delays in transportation of goods.

This concept originated in Scandinavia, by a Finnish gentleman and has now grown to more than 500 local groups in Scandinavia, Canada and North America.

The reach and success of online farmers markets such as the Reko model have been made possible by technology. A positive is that Covid has helped this model flourish. And it supports your local growers!

The Reko model means more time available to farmers tend and develop farm animals/produce – a job that is always 7 days a week.

How Reko Online Farmers Markets work

Customers read the Reko Facebook group posts for their area, each week on social media to see what each farmer or supplier is offering.

If there is something that appeals, the customer orders by posting a comment, indicating the quantities they’d like, sends through the payment via direct bank deposit, (ie no credit card fees), and collects the produce at the nominated time and pick up point. Voila!

Straight from the farm to your fridge all within 24 hours.

Reko offers more than just fruit and vegetables.

A home gardener who has excess produce may sell via the REKO group and if you are selling cakes or prepared meals, you must have a commercial style kitchen. When we grew zucchinis in our home garden, we planted so many plants, we could have fed an army, so this option would have been a way to share our produce and make a little money for more seeds! If only it had been possible then.

Advantages of Online Vegetable and Produce Ordering

  • A way to stay Covid safe in a variant outbreak!
  • Pick up from your car appeals too!
  • Local growers supporting local community
  • Hand made or home grown sold by person growing it
  • A supply chain model that makes food or products available as fresh as is humanly possible
  • Farmers get cash directly and there is no excess wastage of product

Less wastage = lower prices + a better environmental outcome.

Costs are reduced as farmers don’t need to spend time away from their farm, spending hours in the hot sun/cold rain setting up and sitting at an outdoor markets, or selling to wholesale distributors, fiddling with cash and change. There’s less wastage as they don’t take more product to sell than is required, as the grower in the you tube video explains.

Why is it different from a farmers market?

  • No sitting out in the rain
  • Farmers only harvest as much as has been ordered
  • Less transport time and fossil fuel emissions
  • No signage, change, Point of sale machine, tent or tables needed as pick up is direct from the farmers car boot or truck
  • Farmer received the money directly – keeping costs down and cash flow is instant
  • Supports local growers
  • Minimal effort to source
Blog logo on transparent background
Australia, Book review, Environment, History & Traditions

Maralinga – Australian Author Judy Nunn

In the 1950s the British military detonated a total of 21 nuclear weapons in various sites in Australia. Maralinga is the most infamous of these sites.

British soldiers were told working at Maralinga was a ‘secret’ assignment and despite the displacement of some local Aboriginal people, many indigenous folks were still exposed to high levels of radiation and later became sick or died. These reports were not publicized.

Australian author Judy Nunn’s Maralinga is a fictional account based on true events.

The novel starts with a love blossoming between a British soldier and female journalist in their home country before a confidential mission changes everything. While their story is the most prominent in the novel, several Aboriginal voices are also peppered throughout the text. Maralinga is character-driven as well as very much centering itself in two starkly different landscapes.

There may be a misconception that this is a book for the female demographic. It isn’t. This book has wide appeal for those interested in Australian and English history, romanticism, the 1950s, war, feminism and vivid landscapes.

While those that are already hard ’n’ fast Judy Nunn fans are sure to love it, it’s a good introduction to those that haven’t been driven to pick up her titles before.

However, if you are like me, you may find you are sufficiently incensed at the violation of sovereign Australian territory and the complete lack of regard for the health of those involved and the health of the local indigenous population.

Times were different then, but not so different that they did not take certain precautions. The personnel involved were told to don sunglasses and turn away from the blast to provide protection. Some onlookers wore shirts and shorts! Incredible now with the hindsight of time that the English organizers could think this was safe practice.


Documentation on Maralinga and the contamination can be found here.

It’s been ten years since I started Something to Ponder About, and the reproduction of this early post is quietly marking that occasion.

Judy Nunn
Source: Google
Environment

Simple Sustainable SOLUTIONS to Reduce Waste and Plastic

According to the [U.S.] EPA, the average person produces approximately 4.9 pounds of “solid waste” or trash per day. Thankfully, you can recycle many everyday household items to help promote a cleaner, greener environment.

porch.com

It really isn’t that hard to Reduce your waste and Recycle. But rather than focus on the problems, spreading the word about easy solutions is more palatable for me.

Waste Solutions

No doubt you have heard it all before and you may have already adopted some measures. You don’t need to be a hard-core zero waste advocate. Start with a minor changes and add one more each week.

Get your friends on board. You can set the example for your family, friends and workplace because we need to do better than the following graph indicates.

Simple Waste Solutions

Take Care or Take your Trash Home

• Eliminate your need for bins in forest areas. Birds and animals may spread litter from public trash cans around and it ends up contaminating waterways. When you visit a park or beach, remember to take your trash with you. Keep trash and recyclables in a bag or backpack until you can put them in a proper receptacle.

Public refuse bins in Japan are almost non-existent. You won’t see any trash in Japanese streets either. Japanese citizens take their rubbish home so it can be sorted to Recyclables, compostables and refuse.

• Keep a Litter bag in your car. Be like the Japanese people.

street in Tokyo with umbrella

Choose Re-usable and Compostable Packaging

• Carry your own Re-usable stainless steel straws or decorative re-usable Water Bottle and Travel mug instead of buying bottled water or coffee in polystyrene cups.

• Avoid one-use plastics – they can’t be refilled unless you are happy to swallow micro-plastic.

• Use Beeswax Wraps instead of Plastic wrap – or make your own Beeswax Wrap

• Polystyrene litter such as disposable coffee cups or packing materials can be eaten by animals who mistake it for food. Polystyrene can poison and/or clog stomachs leading to death by either toxicity or starvation.

Once released into the environment, polystyrene products does not decompose to a non-recognizable form.

Reduce Litter at Home

Keep backyards clean and free of things that can blow into the street and become litter.

Tie up garbage and recycling bags securely so loose papers and other items cannot fall out and become litter.

Avoid overfilling your bins and ensure the lid is properly closed after depositing your trash or recycling inside, preventing accidental spills and overflows contaminating local waterways – endangering wildlife.

Recycling in the Kitchen

Cloth napkins and kitchen towel, for spills and cleaning, rather than paper disposables. They are much more absorbent and easily washed out for re-use many times over.

• Compost food scraps

Start a Worm Farm for food scraps and cardboard packaging. My worms love devouring cardboard. Break it up and wet it. A cardboard box is a good alternative to buying worm blankets.

• Use your consumer power to influence choice: Avoid buying food or ancillary items with excess packaging when you shop. This will decrease litter from the start.

Plastic shopping bags take between 10-20 years to decompose.

Wildlife such as Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them causing suffocation, drowning and gut obstruction. Do not accept plastic bags for items you purchase, if you can carry your purchase without them.

Alternatives to Plastic Carry Bags

Refashion the scrap fabrics into re-usable bags or use natural canvas or fibre bags for your groceries and errands. Keep several reusable bags handy, in your car or handbag/backpack, so that they are always handy whenever you might need them.

Plastic beer can holders or bags can entangle an animal swimming. It may suffocate or drown. Six packs rings causing 6 million sea bird deaths a year and over 100,000 marine mammal deaths.

• Support companies who promote bio-degradable and compostable packaging. Peanut’s shell was constricted for six years before it was found.

www.customearthpromos.com/eco-blog/eco-six-pack-rings

Eco Six Pack Rings, started in 2017 by three different groups, are made with all-natural ingredients. These include both straw and wheat fiber. While sturdy enough to hold six full-size cans, Eco Six Pack Rings are intended to fall apart if accidentally littered. This prevents them from creating the same environmental damage their plastic forefathers did. According to the company, “the product will degrade in less than 200 days (depending on the ecosystem).”

www.customearthpromos.com/eco-blog/eco-six-pack-ringss
whale choking on plastic

Plastics used in six pack drink rings takes 450 years to decompose!

Re-purpose and Recycle fabric, Towels or Sheets

• Repurpose adult clothing into clothes for children

• Up-cycle a Used Towel into an apron and a hooded towel for bathing baby

• Turn pretty squares of fabric into Beeswax wraps

Sustainable solutions

If you are in USA, and you are into visual learning, here are heaps of solutions. I especially noted the online shipping options: who knew Amazon/online options were so wasteful? Choose slower shipping to save cardboard.

Smoking in the Workplace

Cigarette butts, are made of a form of plastic and can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.

• Do you have a “no smoking” policy at your house or workplace? Containing cigarette butt litter is facilitated by requiring smokers to use only designated areas or not smoking at all.

• Do not dump anything toxic down a storm drain.

Marketing Flyers and Advertising Leaflets

• Remove flyers or take-out menus promptly from your post box/front door or windscreen before they are blown away and become litter.

• You can stop litter at the source. Reduce your junk mail by writing to Direct Marketing companies to request no junk mail to be sent to your address.

• Participate and promote local recycling programs such as kerbside cleanup (Australia).

Here are some more ideas on reducing and recycling waste:

Metal: Old forks and spoons, as well as cans, are perfect for making a variety of unique items like a custom key holder, beautiful jewelry, or a fun mirror. Old cans make excellent cookie cutters, too.

Clothing and bedding: Get creative and use an old pair of jeans to make a funky “jeans chair.” Old bedding can be torn or cut into smaller pieces and used for cleaning rags. Any type of fabric is also great for reupholstering furniture if you’re really feeling crafty.

Coffee grounds and tea bags: You can use coffee grounds as fertilizer or dried coffee grounds or tea bags [plastic free tea bags, of course], in the freezer as a deodorizer, too.

How to recycle

Do it Right – Dispose of rubbish properly


Talk to your family and friends about recycling to reduce the amount of material you throw away. Spread the word, and not the litter.

This is not hard to do at all! Tell your family and friends about recycling and what you are doing to reduce the amount of material you throw away.

This may influence them to adopt more sustainable practices. It is vitally important. Our planet depends on it.

poppies in norway against a rock wall
blogging, Environment

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Wildflowers

Keukenhof is spectacular in bloom, Toowoomba is stunning during the Carnival of Flowers, as is Japan in Cherry Blossom season, but right now I’m thinking of Wildflowers, especially those that grow in the most unlikely or unusual places.

To say, I was initially surprised, to spot blossoms hard-to-grow-in-Australia, growing spontaneously, by the road in the coldest of countries, was an understatement!

These beauties were busting their glorious blaze of colour beside a street light in Helsinki, beside a bridge support, or vacant hillside in Norway, or idly cheering up an industrial lot in Denmark; their location was a mere afterthought of nature, thriving as they were, with ne’er a green finger or hint of fertilizer, in sight.

Knowing their time was short, these blooms took full advantage of the extended summer sunlight, exploding into intense hues that had me gawping at their vibrant intensity. Even simple grasses and weeds seemed aesthetic.

Enchanting architecture and backdrops increased the aesthetic appeal of the wildflowers.

Wildflowers on the roof in Sunnfjord, Norway

What are these flowers called? Does anyone know them? They were almost buried in a patch of grass in a disused paddock.

Here in my country, the native flowers are showing their best winter coat.

Unusually for Australia, parts of our country are in a snap Covid lockdown and due to that fact and it being winter, it’s more difficult to get out and appreciate the world, but not impossible, and there’s always the archives, isn’t there? The native blooms such as Banksia, Swamp Mahogany and Xanthostemon put on a display.

WordPress has added a feature in the image photo block where by you can add a tonal colour to your photos, using shadows or highlights. Why not try this out this fortnight? It is a blogging challenge is something in which both hemispheres of the world can participate, no matter the season.

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Prompt – Wildflowers

Breaking News – Third Host for the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Team

Sandy and I have been having a ball hosting the Friendly Friday Challenge, we’re really excited to welcome Sarah from the blog, Travel with Me, to our Blogging Challenge team, as host, every six weeks. Sarah is a blogger who loves landscape, architecture, wildlife and street photography. Here is a little more about Sarah:

Those of us with the means and inclination to, [travel], are rewarded with amazing opportunities to learn about different cultures, different landscapes, different environments. And in seeing those differences I think we discover something very important, which is that however different our lifestyles, at heart people have more in common than you might think. We learn to value diversity, to respect other viewpoints and to rejoice in our similarities ~ Sarah

www.toonsarah-travels.blog/who-am-i/

Sarah will be posting the next Friendly Friday prompt in two weeks time, ie. Friday 16th July, over at her blog, Travel with Me. She will concentrate on a particular theme for her prompts. Are you curious to see what that theme might be? Sarah will be posting clues on her blog, next week, so keep an eye out for that post.

Find the next challenge at: toonsarah-travels.blog/

Instructions for Joining the Friendly Friday Blogging Challenge

  • Write and publish a post inspired by the prompt, remembering this is a challenge not restricted to photography only. It can be a recipe, story, (fiction or non-fiction), or art in visuals or words: For this prompt it might be a snippet or anecdote of somewhere you visited or even an image of a pressed wildflower you may have received long ago. You are only limited by your imagination.
  • Please remember to Tag your post – ‘Friendly Friday.’
  • Include a ping-back* to this blog post adding a comment, (with the url of your published post), here on this post.

*NB. You must ping-back to this WordPress post itself, as link or ping-backs to the home page of a WordPress blog doesn’t trigger a notification to the host blogger. That’s why posting a comment here is good practice, so that your hosts can always find your post.

This Friendly Friday Wildflower Challenge runs until 15th July.

Friendly Friday Challenge 16th July – Host Blogger Sarah at Travel with Me

Friendly Friday Challenge 30th July – Host Blogger Sandy at The Sandy Chronicles.

Further instructions on joining in are found on the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge Page.

Early morning sunrise photography
Environment

Solar Energy in Australia

When visiting Germany in 2010, I was staggered to see solar panels on so many roofs and farms across the country, especially in the rural areas. It put my own country, Australia, to shame. Why?

sunrise photography

With plenty of strong sunlight year-round, Australia would presumably be at the forefront of engaging with solar technology early on, right? Especially when the solar cell was invented on these very shores.

Sadly, the answer was no. It wasn’t.

Coal Fired Power Generation in Australia

With its vast swathes of coal and fossil fuels, historically it has been far cheaper and easier for Australia, to mine coal and export surplus abroad, than to explore alternative energy sources.

In fact, around half the Australian economy depends on coal mining. This mammoth industry menas whole towns and cities are built around the economies of coal production and consequently, coal-fired power has been the electrical generation system of choice in Australia.

Yet it comes at a heavy price for the environment and our planet, as most of us already know.

Coal is becoming far less desirable as an energy source and has become a four-letter word in environmental circles. China, our biggest importer, no longer wants coal, as it turns its attention to the free energy source, the sun.

Solar Systems for the Home

At the Home by the Sea, we’ve just installed 17 new-tech Hyundai Solar panels – a 6.6 kW Solar system with a 5kw inverter. Our second home solar system.

solar panels on houses with sunrise

Previously, we had 14 panels producing 3.6 kW. Solar system technology has advanced to almost doubled the capacity and efficiency in ten years. When we first installed solar in 2011, it would take 3-5 years to pay back the installation price. Now we will pay it back through savings after the first 18 months!

Saving Trees and Reducing Coal and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Today, a few weeks after installation, the “you-beaut” app, which is installed with our new solar energy system, tells us we have saved not only 40 trees but have also saved 280 kgs of coal and thus 280 kgs of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Solar power app

Amazing. Yay to that!

Rise in Solar Systems Installations in Australia

I do have a reason to celebrate, because last year, more than 1/4 of Australia’s total power generation came from solar power generation, much of it from small-scale homeowners, investing in solar systems to power their houses.

1 in 5 Australian homes now produce energy from solar systems. Yay!

And why not?

When our climate is conducive to solar power generation, almost 365 days a year.

In addition, 76 large-scale wind and solar projects are under construction, “representing more than 8 GW of new capacity and employing over 9000 Australian workers.”[source: cleanenergycouncil.org.au]

This surge in uptake has been boosted by Government rebates and ridiculous hikes in electricity bills for consumers making alternative technology more viable. Ironically, the coal and fossil fuel generation industry is clanging its death knell by trying to maintain its competitive edge by lobbying politicians and raising prices.

new houses with solar panels
Twelve more houses in the street have solar systems compared to last year

Looking around this year in my new suburb, it seems that the figure for home-based solar systems, in Australia, is more likely to be 1 in 2 or 3.

Australia’s home solar power revolution has been nothing short of phenomenal..in 2009, there were just 85,000 solar systems connected to the mains grid in Australia – and Australia’s first solar farm was yet to be built.

Fast forward to 2021 and more than 2.65 million solar panel systems have been installed on rooftops throughout the nation and gigawatts of large scale solar energy projects are in place, being developed or in the pipeline.

In fact, more solar panels have been installed on rooftops of homes in this country than there are people in Australia.

http://www.solarquotes.com.au/australia/

In 2019, the solar industry created over 13,000 new jobs. There is really no reason why certain politicians don’t get fully on board. It is the future energy source.

The table below has a few years of aberrant figures where exponential growth slowed. It correlates with some political decisions of a pro-fossil fuels and anti-renewables leader in Government trying hard to destroy the Solar industry and the renewable targets.

Source: http://www.solarquotes.com.au/australia/

YearSystems InstalledRunning Total
2001118 
2002251369
20036641,033
200410892,122
200514063,528
200611154,643
200734808,123
200814,06422,187
200962,91685,103
2010198,208283,311
2011360,745644,056
2012343,320987,376
2013200,4071,187,783
2014180,1391,367,922
2015141,4901,509,412
2016132,6771,642,089
2017174,7611,816,850
2018224,8382,0416,88
2019283,9522,325,861
2020333,9782,659,839

This repressed environmentalist is smiling a little more now.

#Weekly Smile

More about Solar Energy

Environment, History & Traditions, Motivational

Sunday Sayings – Planting Trees

Toowoomba street and painted bird with lavender

“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Greek Proverb

Goodreads.com

The Chinese sages also appreciated their value:

Chines proverb about planting a tree in a voice bubble

Let us not forget the importance of creating nature; fostering and nurturing Mother Earth.

Trees provide so many benefits to our everyday lives. They filter clean air, provide fresh drinking water, help curb climate change, and create homes for thousands of species of plants and animals. Planting a Billion Trees can help save the Earth from deforestation.

Helping to Plant Trees

Depending on location, it costs between $1-$3 to plant a tree including ongoing maintenance and stewardship. Including organizational overheads, I see this as a real bargain, especially for something that might last 70 years!

The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign is a major forest restoration effort with a goal of planting a billion trees across the planet.

So you don’t have the time or don’t want to get your hands dirty? I hear you, but you can still support the various organizations around the world depending on your preferred location.

Tree Planting Organizations

Landcare – Australia; (not for profit)

Greening Australia – 20 locations around Australia (also not for profit) 25 million plants established; 15,000 hectares of habitat restored; 150,000 tonnes of carbon sequestered per annum

Reforestnow – based in Byron Bay Austalia (not for profit) -planted  105,227 trees to restore rainforest in Australia on behalf of donors from around the world (as at 23 Mar 2021).  $5per tree.

Onetreeplanted – a global not for profit organization working against deforestation. $1 per tree.

Graph Source: One Tree Planted

Plant a billion trees initiative – South America, Africa and China

stpa logo

Go Ahead.

Our planet depends on it.

Australia, Environment, History & Traditions

April Fool Ghost

“So I woke up and my beautiful Schnauzer pup is laying on the back patio covered in dirt with a rabbit in his mouth. The rabbit’s not bloody, just dirty. My neighbor’s kids raise blue ribbon rabbits. I instantly knew it was one of theirs. 😢

I took the rabbit away from my dog, rushed inside, and brushed all the dirt off it before my neighbors could come home. It was stiff but I heard some animals play dead when they are afraid, but I couldn’t remember which ones.

I quickly took it and placed it back in one of the cages in their back yard then I ZOOMED back home. (Don’t judge me 😒)

Not 30 minutes later, I heard my neighbour screaming like she’s seen a ghost, so I go out and innocently ask them what’s wrong?

They tell me their rabbit died three days ago and they buried it, but now it’s back in the cage.” 😳

April Fools!

Found on social media, this was not my story. It just might be a work of fiction, or an old joke, but I wouldn’t put it past a Schnauzer to go after a rabbit!

Apparently this very thing DID happen with another Schnauzer, their owner and a guinea pig. I am giving this author, (Kathy W.), the benefit of the doubt, but it is April Fools Day, isn’t it?

Not many folks have pet rabbits in Australia. Keeping them is illegal and there are fines unless you have a special permit. Without a natural predator to control numbers, introduced Rabbits decimated Australia’s bush in the early 20th century reaching plague proportions and thus were banned.

It is legal to keep the following variety, and give them to your Schnauzer!

home made fabric easter bunny
kangaroo
Australia, Environment

Kangaroos Hopping Down the Street

I never thought I’d be confirming an urban myth – that kangaroos hop down Australian streets.

Australia’s a first world country, (with a few exceptions), with over 22 million occupants, clustered in a few sprawling metropolises hugging the east coast. Noone still believes kangaroos hop along our city streets, do they?

It seems I was wrong.

Walking the dog around our new Home by the Sea, yesterday, I wasn’t quick enough to snag a photo of the Eastern Grey Male Kangaroo hopping down this street between the rows of newly built homes.

(I did get a video of the sweet creature, as you will see below).

What he hoped to find to eat along the street, I wasn’t sure. Kangaroos eat a range of grasses, herbs and shrubs. Perhaps Mrs Baldry’s lavender was to his liking?

The roo was headed in the wrong direction for grass, so I tried to shoo it back towards the Eco Corridor and wetland areas to the west and away from the traffic as you will see in the following video.

Eco corridor

(Hopefully the embedded video works. Let me know if you can’t see it or it says unsupported which can happen on mobile phones).

Kangaroo in the Suburbs

We all know that rain can make the grass grow, while you are watching it. During rains, the water that runs off from the road surface collects in the verges along the edge of the streets and roads, resulting in a flush of lush, green grassy growth. Grass that many Australian herbivorous animals enjoy eating. Especially Kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.

I think you can guess what happens when they feed on these verges, after rain. Roadkill stats rise, not just in the wake of floodwaters ravaging their habitat, but also the lush growth that entices the animals out towards the roadside verges to feed.

Then this happened on my way home yesterday. Apologies for the poor quality of the dashcam footage.

Sliding Kangaroos on a Wet Road

Drunken Kangaroos

There might just be another explanation for the sliding kangaroos, which from my perspective appear unhurt by the incident and hop away okay.

As I discovered, reading an ABC article, kangaroos can become slightly drunk or disorientated on eating too much lush new grass, (which we have plenty of at the moment), and especially so, if a particular form of pasture grass has been consumed.

This can be known as Philaris poisioning syndrome, making kangaroos disoriented, clumsy and loose balance. Which is fairly critical when jumping if you are a roo!

Michelle Mead, from Central Victoria’s Wildlife Rescue and Information Network, said the ailing kangaroos resembled someone who was under the influence of alcohol. The wildlife worker said the animals were indeed intoxicated and that it was likely a type of grass that was to blame. Known as phalaris or bulbous-canary grass, the introduced plant species is a common pasture crop grown to feed livestock.

The syndrome was more common in areas with limestone soils, which contained less cobalt than basalt soils, Dr Rendell said. Dr Rendell said Phalaris staggers were also more common when lush grass growth occurred, because animals digested less soil, and therefore less cobalt, in those areas.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-21/grass-to-blame-for-staggering-kangaroos/9886884?nw=0
kangaroo
Close up of our local Skippy

Kangaroos Physical Attributes and Adaptations

Kangaroos have all kinds of fascinating physical adaptations for existing in dry country, including suspending pregnancies and foetal growth in drier weather, inducing them to coincide with the grass growth after rainfall, as well as methods for keeping themselves cool in intense heat.

They are not usually active in the middle of the day, conserving their energy. Seeing them jump around at 1pm on some idle Tuesday was unsual.

Some myths and truths about Kangaroos

One can hope that this doesn’t happen too often as they are likely to run out of luck crossing that road.

stpa logo
flooding
Australia, Environment

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

river flood
Flooded creek near where I used to live. It is normally a tiny stream which often runs dry.

For several years, Australia has languished under extreme drought and water was severely rationed; last year we experienced bushfires on an epic scale that decimated the countryside. A year later, extreme rainfall and flooding on a Noah’s Ark scale!

This is the Australian climate.

Six months of rain fell in just one day and a half. Even by Australian standards, this is severe.

10 million Australians currently under a weather warning as two major systems collide.There have been hundreds of rescues and thousands across the state have faced evacuation orders as huge downfalls have caused rivers to overflow in recent days.The BOM said every mainland state and territory except Western Australia is impacted by the weather event.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-floods-rescue-operations-mid-north-coast-people-trapped-ses/58e50cdd-27b4-4b9c-9dc5-06568e5217b5

Streets in Brisbane city regularly go under with each and every summer storm, and housing close to riverfronts may be picturesque in the drier times, but remain extremely vulnerable in summer rains and excessive rainfall, such as we are experiencing now.

This is my former local shopping centre car park. Cars floated away with the water.

flooding

In the country, the land is extremely low and flat. The floodplain for a river can be a kilometre or more wide. So there will be problems. Emergency services are busy.

  • Around 15,000 people have been evacuated on the Mid North Coast
  • 3,000 people evacuated in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley region
  • Up to 38 regions have been declared natural disaster areas
  • Severe weather warnings issued for southern and western Queensland
  • Heavy rainfall is expected to continue
  • The equivalent of all the water contained in Sydney Harbour is pouring out the country’s rivers each day.

Luckily, we are safe, good rainfall is welcome, for the minute, because all too soon it will be dry again, Very dry.

Further south, particularly in New South Wales, they are in trouble. Big trouble. There are landslips, severed flooding and roads have been cut. Communities have been declared disaster zones and are isolated by floodwater. Farm animals left to fend for themselves as people have no alternative but to leave their homes.

Event the insects are evacuating seeking higher ground.

Another one in 100 year event, is a term I am hearing on an all too regular basis.

Yet another indication of the effects of climate change. Our planet needs help again.

stpa logo

today technology
blogging, Environment

Reliance on Power and Technology

When the circuit breaker blew on our home’s power connection, my explanation to the then-teenager as to why nothing was working in the house, included telling her wide-scale electricity generation was not available in our area until the 1930- 40’s.

Furthermore, I explained, her own Grandmother remembered the introduction of what was referred to as, “the electric light.” On hearing this, my teenager responded with a pained, then incredulous look, before asking, “So you grew up without electricity?” (Certainly not, I retorted. I was born well after the war!)

Life before Cell Phones

The teen then continued to ask how our generations could possibly have managed social arrangements and meetings without even a mobile phone to help us! If no one turned up at the agreed time, what did you do? she asked. I explained how we’d:

  • wait or wander off nearby, feeling either disappointed and confused and come back to check a short while later
  • find a payphone and call the person, if we knew their home phone number, (which we often did), or if the phone book was in-situ, we could look the number up. [How long has it been since anyone saw a phone book in a payphone box?]
  • go to their house and find out what happened
  • give up and go home
history

The conversation made me acutely aware of how reliant modern society is on energy and information in the form of the world wide web and cell phones. I wondered:

Could we cope without cellular or internet connections?

Fifteen years ago, such a question would have been superfluous, but now I’m not sure. My older sons certainly act as if their jugular vein has been severed if the internet connection drops out, for more than a few minutes. (In Australia, this may be fairly commonplace). Without mobile phones towers operating, we are effectively shut off from technology and information.

Consider for a moment,  how really powerless and vulnerable the modern world is without the internet, cellular networks and electricity?

Years ago, we never knew any different, particularly in rural areas. Scores of people throughout the world still live this way. Would I now find it hard to go for or days without internet access or a few hours without a power source?

Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash

GOING OFFLINE and OFF GRID

Feeling determined to reject the confining chains of modern society, and re-acquaint with my inner hippie, I decided to experiment with a personal challenge to go OFFLINE and OFF-GRID – ie. voluntarily go with out power and technology for a day.

As soon as the challenge began, I was having problems.

I needed a phone number to call a tradesmen so instead of searching the net for the phone number, I tried to look it up in the phone book. No luck there as the hard copy of our phone book was not only out of date, it was buried in the darkest recesses of the junk cupboard, never to seen again.

Instead, I thought to do some holiday planning… Nope: that didn’t work as I needed to look up accommodation venues on the net.

I decided to continue with my genealogical research and reading, only I needed census information and names to cross-check details and dates.

Forget that –  I will make a nice meal/dessert if only the oven would work without power.

For food: I kept the refrigerator on but tried to eat food from the pantry that did not require refrigeration.

Make a cup of tea? – How would I do that?

Perhaps I could chat to the neighbour? No luck there either, as she’d gone out somewhere or was already asleep. This was not going well.

Watch some TV? Nope! Wasn’t possible.

Do some sewing/embroidery craft hobbies/ paint/fix something. Not enough light after 6pm.

Read a book or write in my journal?

YES!- I could do that – but it was night-time. And who can see by candlelight once you are past the age of 40?

Only one thing left for my other half and me to do, I guess. Go to sleep.

No wonder people had so many children before the advent of electricity.

Our reliance on energy and connectivity is obvious.

Could you take the challenge to go powerless for a day?

Earth Hour March 27

The Earth Hour initiative began in Sydney in 2007 by WWF and is now an annual worldwide environmental event.

Held every year on the last Saturday of March, Earth Hour engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories, switching off their lights to show support for our planet. 

But Earth Hour goes far beyond the symbolic action of switching off – it has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people and collective action. 

Earth Hour is open-source and we welcome everyone, anyone, to take part and help amplify our mission to unite people to protect our planet.

https://www.earthhour.org/our-mission

Switch off your lights for an hour on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm your local time.

Take up the challenge to Go OFFLINE and OFF GRID

For 12 hours:

  • Turn off your mobile phone
  • Turn off or refuse to use powered appliances.
  • Blog about your experience.

It is not as easy as you think.

#SwitchforNature

“Take part in the Digital switch off” in 2021

The Earth Hour global organizing team is recommending all individuals to take part digitally when possible, and to wear a mask and follow local guidelines if you are planning to be in a public space or are thinking of spending the ‘Hour,’ with friends and family, outside your home.

https://www.earthhour.org/take-part

 David Attenborough speaks on Climate Change

Watch Greta Thunberg introduce one of our biggest allies against climate change

stpa logo
Environment, Photography

Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Recycling

Japan is a very clean country. You won’t see or find litter in the streets. Why?

Several years ago in Japan, a bomb placed in a busy commuter station waste bin exploded and this on top of a 1995 domestic terrorist attack using deadly Sarin Gas also in a garbage bin, led to the removal of most bins, from public spaces, in Japan.

Japanese Garbage Disposal

Since then, the Japanese people have been responsible for the disposal of their own rubbish. Most carry a bag and take their trash home with them when they are out and about. Consequently, you will see nothing but a clean streetscape without litter of any kind. And if you do find a public bin, it will be separated into recyclables and combustible garbage all ready for recycling.

Despite the huge population, you won’t find trash anywhere on the streets of Tokyo or Kyoto.

Not even at Shibuya, the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world.

Nor will you find any rubbish or litter in Arashiyama, Nara or at the steps of Mt Fuji.

Recycling Garbage in Australia

Australians are fairly new to the waste recycling game with only a small portion of the 70 million tonnes of waste we produce, being recycled. The rest ends up as landfill or is shipped to willing countries, usually in the third world in exchange for hard currency! Surprising? It is true and as an Australian, somewhat shameful.

Think New Product, Not Waste

Think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us – until this happens, we simply won’t award recycled goods the true value and repurpose they deserve.

www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-27/other-ways-to-dispose-of-recycling-besides-putting-it-in-bin/11350488

There are many things that might be recycled if we considered them a resource for the development of new products, rather than waste.

Paper, cardboard and plastics can be, and are, upcycled to new products; food and garden waste biodegrades in backyard compost heaps/bins; books are re-used, via book exchanges or free services such as Bookmooch.

Even Second-hand clothing can be recycled via thrift store donation bins or increasingly refashioned into new clothing and other items. Clothing giant, H& M are transforming old clothes into new items by recapturing the raw materials and spinning the fibres into new yarn so that something old can become new again, but importantly – without the added environmental cost.  

A suburban street was recently resurfaced by recycling old car tyres, saving on carbon emissions and toxic landfill space. It was a delight to drive on.

Australian street re surfaced with recycled car tyres
A road resurfaced with used car tyres in Clontarf, Australia

It’s estimated about 130,000 tonnes of Australian plastic ends up in waterways and oceans each year through littering. Especially problematic are products like wet wipes are being flushed and plastic flying away from landfill processing. 130,000 tonnes! No wonder the oceans are dying.

Do you know what happens to the waste you dispose of, in your country?

Global Recycling Day is observed around the world on 18th March each year, and thus the theme for the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge is:

RECYCLING

Up until Thursday 25th March, the challenge is to share photographs, a story or a blog post about what recycling means to you, on a circular economy, or what is happening in your local area?

Instructions on how to participate.

Include a comment below, tag your post Friendly Friday Recycling and pingback myself and Sandy, who will host the next challenge on Friday 26th March.

Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year the ‘Seventh Resource’ (recyclables) saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030. There is no doubt recycling is on the front line in the war to save the future of our planet and humanity.

https://www.globalrecyclingday.com/about/
Photo credit: Facebook
Australia, Environment

More Environmental Initatives for Recycling

In my locale, over 22,000 used tyres have been recycled into a new product, called Carbonfelt, to resurface700 metres of road that would normally be dumped in a toxic landfill.

In the process, 93,000 kgs of carbon have been drawn up and saved from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Racing champion, Paul Morris, says Austek’s new product, ‘Carbonfelt,’ is durable, absorbs road-noise, cost is no different and grips in the wet. “This should be everywhere.”

I love hearing stories like this.

https://fb.watch/3ZqVKuxkIo/

More about waste-education in our area.

stpa logo
Akaroa
Environment, Motivational

How to Talk About Climate Change

Thanks largely to social media, much of the world already knows the basic facts – the planet is warming, carbon emissions are increasing, biodiversity is decreasing and all this and more threatens mankind’s existence on planet earth.

Martin Fredricks of IVWords was a recent guest at StPA, writing about how we talk about the climate crisis, and the reactions of others, in everyday conversations.

Do climate sceptics, or those in authority, want to hear more shocking statistics and dire warnings? Will it galvanise support for change and encourage the immediate action that is needed? Possibly. Possibly not.

More likely is that some will turn a deaf ear, place it in the too hard basket or choose not to believe it will happen, at least in their lifetime.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Repeating facts, figures, and ghastly predictions is merely preaching to the choir, and can actually be counter-productive by provoking anxiety in those who already know the planet is in danger. We don’t need to reiterate that things are getting worse.

Endless and ongoing debate with climate deniers wastes time, precious time as it a sceptic’s own confirmation bias skews their perceptions and blinds them to any logical explanation.

So what might increase awareness and understanding of the climate crisis?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Personally, I believe we need to focus on solutions. Hope for OUR future is in finding solutions to climate change and reversing environmental damage.

I want to hear ideas and suggestions of things the ordinary man and woman can do, or have already done, in their own corner of the world. Ideas, positive ones. Give us solutions and tips on how we might at least stabilize the environment deterioration, if not improve it.

Context and expert guidance on steps we can enact for ourselves or in collaboration with authorities and others, that is relevant to each individual area is vital.

“I have learned that you are never too small to make a difference.” Greta Thunberg

For it is when we sense that feeling of community, of connection and of common goals, we are more likely to succeed and others, even sceptics will join us in positive action and change.

Please share in the comments below the positive initiatives happening in your corner of the world. Here is some initiatives in mine.

‘Green’ Environmental Initiatives in Moreton Bay, Australia

In my own little area I find:

  • Habitat protection on private properties – Grants for Land dedicated for Wildlife
  • Reforestation and mass tree plantings and maintenance with recycled water by active Bushcare groups
  • Glass recycled for re- use in the manufacture of new glass bottles and conversion to glass sand for use in asphalt, filtration, drainage, coating, resin and sandblasting applications.
  • Plastic collections for recycling by residents, as well as general recycling in Council kerbside collection
  • Walk to school days promoted to discourage use of petroleum driven vehicles
  • Over 75% uptake of solar power panels by new and established homes aided by Government subsidies and rebates
  • Innovative technology to convert landfill gas into green energy, providing alternative power generation. Generators at landfill sites are producing electricity to power over 4,000 homes in the local area each year, saving 75 million cubic metres of the greenhouse gas methane that has been converted to energy.
  • A municipal sustainability policy
  • Reduction of plastic straws, cups and disposable cutlery in cafes

What Positive Change is Happening in Your Corner of the World?

Please share this in the comments below.

stpa logo