Saturday, 31 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #210 Go Rinse Free

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #210 Go Rinse Free


For those who have the luxury of a dishwasher, learn to go rinse free. It is completely unnecessary to rinse your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. The dishwasher will clean them thoroughly for you because that’s what it’s designed to do. All you need to do is scrape off any food waste, preferably into your biofermenter, not the rubbish bin. The time you save can be transferred to that once a week task – cleaning your dishwasher filter (Flower #170).
Not only does this save your valuable time for other things, like spending quality time with your family, it also saves our most valuable resource: water. Furthermore, it saves energy in transporting that water to your house, which benefits the planet, and it saves you money, benefitting your hip pocket. One small act = lots of benefits.

Friday, 30 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #209 Convert to Fluorescent Light Bulbs

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #209 Convert to Fluorescent Light Bulbs


Fluorescent light bulbs use about seventy-five percent less energy than the old fashioned incandescent bulb and have now been available for quite a long time. If you haven’t already converted to them you should consider doing so in order to save energy, reduce your electricity costs and help the planet. By using a bulb that lasts longer, fewer need to be manufactured and therefore fewer will need to be disposed of – another benefit to the planet. Every little bit helps, and switching to these easy to purchase, easy to install bulbs is a step in the right direction.
Fluorescent lighting is particularly suited to warehouse/factory usage where it is mounted quite high above the work space and needs to provide a brilliant light. The down side to fluorescents is that they contain mercury and therefore require safe disposal or recycling methods, so be mindful of looking after the environment when they come to the end of their life.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #208 Turn Off Your Computer

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #208 Turn Off Your Computer


Here’s a way to reduce your computer’s electricity usage by half – turn it off at the end of the day. Even persistent gamers have to sleep now and then, so turning the computer off at the end of play will help reduce the electricity bill. Many of us have become so used to the convenience of leaving a computer on all the time for access at the drop of a hat. We could plan our computer usage by only turning it on when we actually have a task to perform, and scheduling a single point in the day for checking email (after all, did you ever run out to your letterbox every half hour when snail mail was the norm?). This would free up our time and make us less like slaves to the computer. We could utilise this extra time to do those wonderful things we ‘never have time’ for. Maybe we would even spend more time with our loved ones doing family activities that are fun.
The environmental benefits to turning off your computer are the reduced use of energy, less in transportation costs delivering the energy, less carbon emissions, less fossil fuels being mined and then the personal benefit of lower energy bills. Lots of ‘wins’ with this one.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #207 Discourage Exotic Fish as Pets

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #207 Discourage Exotic Fish as Pets


Having beautiful things around us is a very human thing to do. We see something that makes our heart sing, we naturally want to look at it all the time. Tropical, exotic or ornamental fish (whatever you want to call them) are usually very beautiful creatures and make magnificent displays when shown off in a large fish tank or aquarium. However, as suggested in Flower #206 about unusual pets, we need to question if keeping fish as pets is purely to make us feel good or because we genuinely believe we are doing the right thing by the fish. As fish usually swim in large oceans I doubt that putting them in a limited environment could be classified as doing the right thing.
Transporting fish is an unpleasant business, if you look at it from the fish’s perspective. Usually they are transferred into plastic bags containing just enough water and limited oxygen, and then jostled about in their tiny space for the length of the journey, which can vary from local to interstate, or even overseas. There are online stores selling tropical fish with guaranteed delivery. This can only mean they use the mail service. Despite constant guarantees on these sites that the fish are provided the utmost care, imagine being a fish parcelled up in a bag of water packed into a box for shipping, then being left on someone’s front porch in the sun waiting for your new owner to come home.
Leave the fish where they survive best – in those parts of the oceans where they have adapted to particular living conditions, where they are part of their own school, can breed naturally and ultimately be part of the food chain.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #206 Discourage Unusual Pets

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #206 Discourage Unusual Pets


What is an unusual pet? The answer could be anything from a lizard to a lion. Some think of ‘unusual’ as something that would normally be wild, others may think it is a creature that is ‘rare’ (in other words, endangered). Personally, when I see the way people treat animals I think we should ban pet ownership all together. Why do people think it’s okay to dress up an animal in clothing, put large birds in small cages, keep tropical creatures in cool climate zones, ‘train’ animals to do unnatural things or take on human emotional responses. Animals are not humans. They don’t understand jokes or sarcasm, and they don’t care about the latest fashion trends. They do require a life wherein they live with their own kind, are able to exhibit natural behaviour in an environment that suits their needs, and procreate in a natural way.
People like to keep unusual pets because it makes them feel different. It’s more about being able to identify oneself as “tough because I own a leopard”, or “cool because I own a giant python”, or “affluent because I own a macaw”. It’s more about the feeling it provides the owner than the owner feeling they are giving this creature a better life. The best life for the animal is in its own environment with its own kind. One website I came across had a very strong opinion in favour of humans keeping unusual pets, with a firm belief that to suggest humans should not keep unusual pets was “infringing on the freedom of choice and lifestyle pursuits of others.” This is a perfect example of the issue being all about the human and not at all about the animal.
Before deciding to ‘own’ a creature of any kind, think carefully. Think about whether this act is for yourself or because you believe you are giving that creature the best possible life it can have. If, like me, you conclude that most creatures are better off in their natural environment with their own species, then discourage unusual pets.

Monday, 26 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #205 Donate to an Environmental Fund

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #205 Donate to an Environmental Fund

If you don’t have the time or skills to volunteer at a wildlife reserve, consider helping out financially by making a donation to an environmental fund. There are many funds to consider: sumofus.org; savethewhales.org; makeitpossible.com; greenpeace.org; cannedlion.org; cleanup.org.au; seashepherd.org; wspa.org.au; animalsaustralia.org. There are many, many good organisations out there that consist of people trying their best every day to improve the planet, improve the world in which we live, make it a better place for us and make it a better place for other creatures that share it with us. These people need financial assistance to keep going, fighting the fights that so many of us are unprepared to fight ourselves, yet happy to whinge about. Let’s put our hands in our pockets and donate what we can to keep the good fights going. Choose whatever fund/s mean the most to you. Maybe you can only afford a small one-off donation, maybe you can stretch it to a small contribution every month – whatever you can do, do it, for the sake of the planet.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #204 Volunteer at a Wildlife Reserve

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #204 Volunteer at a Wildlife Reserve

All around the world we have wildlife reserves supported by dedicated people who care about animals and their future on this planet. As humans take more and more land for farming and urban sprawl, animals are left with less space to roam, to feed and to multiply. Wildlife reserves are becoming ever more important to the survival of many species, yet often they are not financially supported by governments, or receive minimal funding. If you have a love of animals and a wildlife reserve exists near where you live, consider giving some of your time to volunteer and contribute to the preservation of your native species and perhaps some from distant lands as well. The rewards will be many, as you do your bit towards saving endangered species, or protecting animals from poachers.
Volunteers can take on appropriate tasks that suit each individual. You might be able to offer veterinary assistance, prepare food, become a tour guide, clean enclosures or do general maintenance – every task is as important as the other to make the whole reserve function well. You will meet like-minded people, make new friends, enjoy the company of the animals you’re assisting, learn new things and above all, help save the beautiful animals the reserve is protecting. That’s a good service to the planet.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #203 Install a Possum Box

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #203 Install a Possum Box


In Australia possums often cause eye rolls in conversations about the roof space having been invaded by tiny furry creatures wearing hob-nail boots, who like to stomp around when we’re trying to sleep. It can be a frustrating thing to get a possum permanently out of the roof – the entry point (often a loose roof tile) needs to be closed off, but only after the possum has exited to go and feed, and this will only happen after dark, meaning the roof repair will be a late night affair.
Possums are nocturnal creatures and like to live in cosy places such as tree hollows, where they can snuggle up during the daylight hours, safely away from other animals and the glare of the sun. With many trees being cleared, possums have less opportunity for a safe place to live and may well be tempted to take up residence in your roof. Supplying them with a possum box is a win/win solution, allowing humans and possums to live side by side more peaceably. This government website has all the information you need for building and installing the right type of possum box for your area, whether you’re looking after brush tails, ring tails, or sugar gliders:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/GuideToMakingAPossumHouse.htm
If you can’t make your own possum box there are plenty of people selling ready-made boxes. Just be sure to get the correct type of box for the possums in your area.

Friday, 23 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #202 Put Up a Bumblebee House

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #202 Put Up a Bumblebee House


With thanks to ‘allaboutwildlife.com’ for today’s Flower inspiration. Source: http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/ten-ways-to-help-wildlife
“Another type of creature that has suffered greatly from habitat loss is the bumblebee and other “solitary” bees—the bees that were pollinating America’s flowering plants for thousands of years before Europeans introduced the honeybee to [the] continent. You can help native bees by either building or buying a bumblebee “house” and establishing it in a suitable location. … some plans for a simple bumblebee house [are available at www.allaboutwildlife.com], [or] an internet search will turn up more, as well as more information about these important and fascinating creatures.”

Thursday, 22 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #201 Put Up a Bird House

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #201 Put Up a Bird House

With thanks to ‘allaboutwildlife.com’ for today’s Flower inspiration. Source: http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/ten-ways-to-help-wildlife
“Development by humans has not only destroyed areas where wildlife searches for food, it has also deprived birds, animals and insects of places to live and raise their young. One way we can all compensate for this loss is to replace some of these lost nesting and resting sites.
Probably the most familiar artificial nesting site is the birdhouse. And birdhouses certainly do help, especially if they are built specifically to suit the requirements of one or more of our beleaguered native bird species.
If you plan on putting up a few birdhouses, why not do a little research ahead of time to find out which birds in your area are most in need of artificial shelter—and then build or buy the types of houses that are most likely to attract them? Not surprisingly, different birds have different needs in a house, including preferences in the size of the house, its location, and the diameter of the opening. There are also precautions you can take to make sure predators can’t get into the house to kill the birds or their young.”

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet at Tacit Contemporary Art

1000 Flowers for the Planet at Tacit Contemporary Art

1000 Flowers for the Planet - celebrating 200 flowers


Today I celebrate the posting of 200 Flowers for the Planet - I'm one fifth of the way through the project. Today is also the opening night of my graduate exhibition. I have been studying the Diploma of Textile Art these past two and a half years, we finished classes last Friday and now we host our grad exhibition. This art piece is 50 x 50 cm hand painted silk and the flower is #63 Ban Canned Hunting.
Hopefully all the followers of 1000 Flowers for the Planet will celebrate with me and pass the word along that we need to care for our planet for ourselves and our descendants. Together we can make it better.

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #200 Support Wildlife Rehabilitators

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #200 Support Wildlife Rehabilitators


With thanks to ‘allaboutwildlife.com’ for today’s Flower inspiration. Source: http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/ten-ways-to-help-wildlife
“Most states license specially trained volunteers to serve as wildlife “rehabilitators”—people who care for injured, sick or orphaned wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation requires special knowledge, and you should never undertake to care for a wild bird or animal yourself unless you have that training. Instead, if you find a creature that needs help, you should first take steps to make sure that bird or animal is temporarily safe and secure, and then contact someone who is a wildlife rehabilitator. Your state fish and game department probably has a list of people who can help.”

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #199 Choose Your Bird Feeder Carefully

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #199 Choose Your Bird Feeder Carefully


With thanks to ‘allaboutwildlife.com’ for today’s Flower inspiration. 
 “It’s perfectly OK to feed wild birds. However, not all commercial bird feeds are created equal, and not all of them contain the right kinds of nutrition for many wild birds. It’s good to do a little research into the nutritional needs of the wild birds in your area, and to select a food mixture that will be of most benefit to the species you’re hoping to attract.
In addition, be aware that a backyard feeder tends to attract more birds than would naturally concentrate in an area. If you then stop feeding for any reason, the birds may suffer because there isn’t enough natural food in the area to satisfy all of them. So, if you start feeding, you need to keep feeding, at least until spring arrives and natural food is more plentiful. If you go away on vacation, make sure a friend or neighbor stops by to fill the feeders.”

Monday, 19 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - # 198 Avoid Bug Zappers

1000 Flowers for the Planet - # 198 Avoid Bug Zappers


I'm letting someone else's voice be heard today. Check out their website for fantastic information on how we can improve the planet. Source: http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/ten-ways-to-help-wildlife
… avoid using “bug lights” or “bug zappers” to kill mosquitoes and other biting insects outdoors. While these devices use light to attract insects, mosquitoes, blackflies and other blood-seeking pests are not attracted to light; they are instead attracted to heat and carbon dioxide. The result is that bug zappers end up killing thousands of harmless insects—ones that otherwise could have served as food for birds, bats and fish—while doing nothing at all to curb mosquitoes and biting flies.”

Sunday, 18 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #197 Speak Up

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #197 Speak Up


When you know something is not right, speak up! Have a voice! It is becoming an all too familiar scenario these days to avoid speaking up for fear of being assaulted, whether verbally or physically. We need to learn to speak up about the things that matter, from ensuring the elderly are treated respectfully in public, to preventing war and demanding peace – the issues that affect us all, and those that affect one person in our vicinity. It’s all important stuff.
If you see an old person being abused on public transport, don’t sit there and pretend it isn’t happening – speak up, stop the abuse. If you see someone dumping rubbish in the park, speak up and tell them that’s not acceptable or call the authorities. If you know someone is wrong, speak up. Discuss your point, present a good argument and join forces with like-minded people who are prepared to see justice served and the right thing done.
Let’s ensure we do the right thing by others, and by our planet. Speak up.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #196 Follow Your Road Rules

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #196 Follow Your Road Rules


There’s no point knowing your road rules (Flower #195) if you don’t follow them. For this Flower I need only reiterate what I said before, that poor, anarchical, inconsiderate driving causes accidents, some minor, others serious enough to cause death. Know your country’s road rules, and have the gumption to follow them. This will reduce accidents which lead to human health issues, and vehicles and vehicle parts being sent to landfill, which is a waste of resources all round. The planet could use a little more common sense from all of us.

Friday, 16 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #195 Know Your Road Rules

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #195 Know Your Road Rules


I cannot vouch for how people drive their vehicles in other countries, nor can I comment on how they drive in most of my own country. Coming from personal experience I can say that Sydney drivers are better than Melbourne drivers, here in Australia. The drivers in my home town are disgraceful. One can rarely sit behind the wheel and leave the driveway without putting one’s life at risk because some idiot has decided to create his/her own rules. Anarchy has no place on the roads. It is not negotiable to make up your own set of rules whilst most other people are working on a different set. People need to know their road rules and stick by them. This is the only way the system can work properly.
How does this help the planet? Poor, anarchical, inconsiderate driving causes accidents, some minor, others serious enough to cause death. There is a human cost in the form of hospital stays, medical investigations and long term health issues which become a drain on the health system and the public purse. There is also the cost in finite resources as vehicles are damaged and need repair, often involving replacement parts. Major accidents create landfill as vehicles are unable to be repaired and are subsequently crushed or put into car graveyards. This is a waste of metals, fuel, glass, foam, and many more resources that are often not recycled. A great deal of this waste could be avoided, in every country in the world, if people simply knew their road rules.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #194 Use Rechargeable Batteries

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #194 Use Rechargeable Batteries


The first choice should be to avoid items that need to be powered by batteries. When you throw batteries into landfill they leach toxic chemicals into the environment. So if you need to use a battery powered item, consider its suitability for rechargeable batteries, which are a bit more expensive as an initial outlay, but due to their multiple use, will be more cost effective over the life of the battery. At the end of your rechargeable batteries’ life it’s important to recycle them and avoid putting them into landfill. Remember, though, that this is only a ‘reduce’ solution, with better options often available.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #193 Install a Low-Flow Shower Head

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #193 Install a Low-Flow Shower Head


Water saving devices are always a good way to help protect one of our most important resources. A standard shower head will use up to 22 litres of water in an 8 minute shower. How many of us stay under the relaxing flow for much longer than that? A low-flow shower head will use a third or even up to a quarter of the amount of water as the standard version. This equates to thousands of litres per person, every year that can be saved. Imagine the financial savings as well.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #192 Put a Brick in the Cistern

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #192 Put a Brick in the Cistern


Sometimes you just can’t afford to replace household items and it’s not always an easy job when they require full-on installation, so if you can’t change your toilet to a dual- or low-flush system (Flower #191), put a brick in the cistern. The water only fills within the cistern to a predetermined level. A brick is a good size to place within the cistern to reduce the amount of water that can be contained, thereby reducing the total litres being used for each flush. The overall savings will be noticeable in reduced water use and costs, and you will be saving the planet’s most precious resource.

Monday, 12 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #191 Install Dual- or Low-Flush Toilets

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #191 Install Dual- or Low-Flush Toilets


According to information provided by my local council, a full toilet flush can use up to 15 litres of water, whereas a half flush uses less than 6 litres. Most of the time we only need to use a half flush, which would save 60% of water usage if the full flush was always used. This is a substantial difference. Water is our most valuable resource and needs to be used wisely. Install either a dual-flush system and always use the half-flush when you can, or install a low-flush toilet for a similar result. Water savings will also reduce your expenses, put less pressure on dams that support cities and decrease the pressure on our environment to provide us with water supplies.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #190 Have a Seasonal Diet

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #190 Have a Seasonal Diet


This beautiful earth produces everything we need in a timely fashion. This is called the ‘seasons’ and they exist for very good reason. The food we eat grows according to the seasons and provides the right types of foods for each time of the year. Autumn provides foods to warm us a little, such as carrot, sweet potato, onions and garlic. In winter we really want warming so the earth provides us with potato, carrot, onions, nuts, and eggs. With the arrival of spring we can look forward to new growth in the form of lettuce, spinach and parsley. In summer we can focus on cooling foods like strawberries, apple, broccoli, squash and plums.
With today’s modern transportation methods and freezing abilities we are able to access most foods all year round, but only because they have been frozen and stored. These foods do not come to us fresh from the vegie patch, the bush or the vine. That is the price we pay. But if we look at this more closely, we could be paying other prices for our modern convenience and self-spoiling habits. We have robbed ourselves of the joy of eating food in season, fresh from the source, and for a limited time. When we limit our access to something, we make that thing more precious, a genuine treat to be anticipated. Food can become a thing to be looked forward to, something that marks the passing of time like a birthday celebration, something that is savoured in the moment.
Along with all the personal joy a seasonal diet could provide us, the benefits to the planet would include the reduction of food miles, less in transport expenses, less fuel usage, reduced carbon emissions – a healthier planet. Healthy people too.

Friday, 9 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #189 Support Local Farms

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #189 Support Local Farms


Certainly in Australia farmers are doing it very tough for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps they are doing it tough in other countries too. What better way to help them than by supporting them. Many farmers are selling direct now, either through local markets, road-side stalls or farm shops. We can support them by purchasing their produce whenever possible. By putting our dollar in the hands of local farmers we support our fellow man/woman by allowing them to make a living, creating better relationships between producers and end-users, keeping our cash within the local community, instilling a sense of purpose and value in those that produce the food we eat and promoting dignity and pride within farmers and their families.
When supporting local farms we are able to build relationships within our community, we know exactly where our food is coming from and we reduce food miles. The planet benefits from all of this because it creates happier, healthier people, uses less fuel in transporting goods, uses less packaging which reduces landfill, and ensures that those who actually care for the land remain on it to continue looking after it the way only they know how.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #188 Eat Organic Food

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #188 Eat Organic Food


The first thing you will notice about organic food is the taste. It will fascinate your taste buds! Everything will be a new experience. Fresh, natural, organic foods are wonderful to eat because they have so much more flavour and they are incredibly healthy for you too. Organic foods are grown without the use of chemicals in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. Nor are they produced using industrial solvents, additives or irradiation. Organic foods are grown naturally, using methods our ancestors practiced for millennia – before chemicals became the norm.
The benefits of eating organic food are twofold. Firstly, you are partaking of healthy, natural foods that are good for your body. Secondly, you protect the planet because the farming methods used promote ecological balance, recycle resources – through composting for example – and encourage biodiversity. With no chemicals being put into the soil, your food grows chemical-free. Furthermore, there is no run-off whereby the chemicals are washed through the soil into water systems and on into oceans where they cause damage to marine and bird life, or into dams which is the source of water for human consumption.
We deserve the best food we can have. We deserve healthy food, not full of chemicals. By increasing demand for organically grown produce we can put pressure on farmers to keep our food wholesome, put pressure on corporations to stop interfering with the food supply, and lead healthier lives. Healthier people need less medical attention, which saves governments a lot of money. I know this is a simplified way of looking at it, but hey ... do you want to eat chemicals or good, healthy food?

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

100 Flowers for the Planet - #187 Double-Glaze Your Windows

100 Flowers for the Planet - #187 Double-Glaze Your Windows


To double glaze your windows means to have two sheets of glass in the one window frame. The panes are separated by a spacer to allow air or gas to be trapped between them, thus creating a thermal barrier, resulting in an interior that is cooler in summer and warmer in winter as heat penetration from the outside and loss from the inside are dramatically reduced. For those living in inner city areas, near railway lines or freeways, an added benefit is noise reduction. Double glazing will keep out the sound of barking dogs, loud neighbours, traffic and those early morning lawn mowers.
Not only will double glazing benefit you and your family in terms of comfort, it can save you money with reduced heating and cooling expenses. This, in turn, benefits the planet by decreasing the use of energy, perhaps in the form of fossil fuels or uranium – non-renewable resources – and decreases carbon emissions. Double glazing your windows is good for your house ... and your home – the planet.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #186 Demand Sustainable Architecture

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #186 Demand Sustainable Architecture


With population constantly on the increase, building new homes is a commonplace activity in my area. What is difficult to watch is the slap-dash way in which homes are being built, with the obvious focus being on price and profits rather than sustainable architecture and healthy living environments. Every time a building is planned it is an opportunity for using our ‘smarts’ – we have a lot of knowledge and skills available to us to be able to build the right type of buildings, in the right way, using the right materials and providing the best living conditions, now. So why aren’t we doing this? Why are all these buildings being thrown together without any consideration of the environment?
Architecture can and should consider the environment in which it will sit. Orientation of a building can be designed to make use of the sun for natural, passive light and heat as well as for best positioning of solar panels. The materials used in construction can be sustainable if we choose those that are easily grown, such as wood, bamboo or straw bales. Recycled materials make another good option. Wool insulation is sustainable. Roofing can be designed for efficient water catchment to improve sustainable living. Having some land available for growing food contributes to sustainable living.
Sustainability is about ensuring we manage our resources in a way that ensures we do not inhibit opportunities for future generations. Sustainable architecture is a major opportunity for us to do this.

Monday, 5 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #185 Volunteer

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #185 Volunteer

We all belong to communities – school, work, social, hobby or people with needs. Many groups are in need, not only of money, but time and effort. Volunteering creates a win/win situation. The group you assist through your efforts benefits from what you bring to it: physical work, emotional contribution, skills, knowledge, experience. You also gain a lot by making new friends, improving social skills, improving your self-worth and confidence, combating depression, keeping physically active, gaining career experience, learning job skills, having fun, learning something new, improving your local community and a gaining sense of achievement. There is a lot to be said for volunteering. Pick something dear to your heart and join in. Find the time to give to others and the joy you give out will be returned ten-fold.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #184 Fix Leaking Taps

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #184 Fix Leaking Taps

Leaking taps can be one of the most annoying things that can occur at home, driving you crazy with the drip, drip, drip. They are also a waste of the most valuable resource we have – our water. 99% of the world’s water is salt water or located in ice caps and glaciers. We only have access to 1% so we have to make every drop count. A dripping tap can waste up to 20,000 litres of water in one year. Ensure you fix a leaking tap as soon as it occurs and you will not only save our valuable resource but money as well.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet #183 Avoid Frozen Foods

1000 Flowers for the Planet #183 Avoid Frozen Foods


There have been many debates over the quality of frozen vegetables versus fresh vegetables, but I’m not approaching this Flower from that perspective. If you want to lead a plastic-free life, or reduce the amount of plastic you bring into the home and almost immediately transfer to landfill, then you need to avoid frozen foods. Frozen foods are packaged in soft or hard plastic, or highly waxed cardboard, and most of this is put straight into the rubbish bin at home to be thrown ‘away’ – remember that place that doesn’t exist in some people’s minds? ‘Away’ is actually called landfill and it could do with a lot less packaging tossed into it. If you avoid frozen foods all together, you will find yourself eating more healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, home made desserts, fresh seafood or (heaven forbid!) home cooked meals. Your diet will probably improve, as will your bank balance. What a nice way to do something good for yourself and the planet.

Friday, 2 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #182 Reuse Containers

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #182 Reuse Containers


Plastic containers come in a number of forms, the most common one being the handy takeaway container. Many people are opting not to allow these single use plastic items into their lives, but if your lifestyle means that sometimes you have plastic containers come into your home, then at least try to use them more than once. They can be handy for lots of different things: storing groups of small toys like marbles or dolls house accessories; taking leftovers to work for lunch; giving away a gift of home baked goods; keeping bits of hardware such as screws, hooks and tap washers together in a handy spot; storing cotton reels. The list is endless.
If you do not reuse them they are single use plastic items that go straight into landfill where they do not break down for hundreds of years. They have already used resources, oil, transport, water, energy – so if we haven’t avoided it all together, we can at least make sure the life of the product is extended for as long as possible. The idea is not only for takeaway containers but for any container you receive that may find subsequent uses. Reuse them or avoid them.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #181 Avoid Hoarding

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #181 Avoid Hoarding


Judging by the number of television shows based on the issue of hoarding it would appear this has become quite an issue for modern society. I know that in my own lifetime we have come to own a lot more stuff. I’d suggest that’s the right word for it too – stuff. Just things. Possessions. We should be careful about what or who is doing the possessing – do you own your things or do your possessions own you?
Having lots of stuff can be a way of avoiding the real issues that haunt us. We may be covering up a desperate feeling of being unloved, or an immense feeling of loss after a loved one has died. We may be trying to keep up with the Joneses and didn’t notice when things got out of hand. Whatever the root cause of the problem is, it is important to seek professional help.
For those of us who do not think we have a hoarding problem, or who know we definitely don’t, it is important not to fall into a way of hoarding in the future. Hoarding not only becomes an issue for the hoarder and their family in the short term as people live in difficult or even unacceptable circumstances, there is also a second generation problem, which is that once a hoarder is deceased, someone has to take over the situation and deal with the hoard. Usually all the stuff will be taken to landfill and this has even more knock-on effects that are detrimental to the planet. Hoarding leads to landfill, carbon emissions, financial cost, wasted natural resources and environmental destruction.
Take a good look around you. The best solution is to avoid hoarding in the first place.