Sunday, 28 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #311 Clean Up Water Waste

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #311 Clean Up Water Waste


This planet of ours has ‘land’ and it has ‘water’ and we’ve managed to pollute both extremely well. It’s time to reverse our damaging ways and begin the massive cleanup. The water systems give us life. Without our fresh water we do not exist. It is counter-productive to pollute the water systems – in fact it’s dumb. We put all kinds of objects, waste, chemicals, plastic, drugs, dead bodies, poisons and human faeces into our water. How much dumber can we get?
It’s time to start cleaning up our water. The first action to take is to STOP putting stuff into it in the first instance. Our next major action is to physically do something positive about cleaning up the damage that has been done. Do an image search on the Internet for ‘water pollution’ and you’ll find enough inspiration to get you going. Check out your local creeks, lakes, bay, or stretch of beach and see what condition it is in. If you can, get in there (taking all necessary safety precautions) and pull out any hard rubbish polluting the water. Take action against local businesses that may be polluting your water with industrial waste and chemicals. Question whether or not you would drink the water in your area straight from the source. If not, then do something about cleaning it up. Create a local action group to gather support. Do whatever you can to clean up the waste in our water and help the planet provide us with the basis of life.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #310 Pull in Your Net

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #310 Pull in Your Net


Our oceans are full of ghostnets, and this water pollution is killing our marine life and endangering species, including sea turtles. Ghostnets are created when fishermen either accidentally lose their nets or purposefully leave their nets behind as waste. The nets can dangle for metres below the surface of the water where they trap and kill marine life. The nets are also hazardous to ships and boats if they become entangled in propellers. Finding ghostnets and retrieving them from the water is a time-consuming and expensive task, but one which must be done. Action must be taken at the core of this problem, which lies with the fishermen who use nets – they need to be educated on the perils created by losing or abandoning nets, as well as provided with solutions for waste retrieval and subsequent disposal or recycling. Not every net is left by large fishing enterprises, so if you’re an individual fisherman who uses a net, remember to always pull it in – completely.
In the north of Australia there are Aboriginal artists who are using retrieved ghostnets to create woven art, giving this deadly waste a new life cycle and purpose. There is a lot of information about how Australia is dealing with the problem at www.ghostnets.com.au where you can also see this amazing art.
How does your country deal with ghostnets?

Friday, 26 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #309 Reel in Your Line

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #309 Reel in Your Line


It’s way too easy to cut a tangled fishing line and let it slip into the water and out of sight. The waterways and the oceans look like giant places where stuff can disappear – you know, that ‘away’ place that exists beyond your rubbish/trash bin. But allowing fishing line, either accidentally or on purpose, to slip into the water is the wrong thing to do, with major consequences for marine and birdlife, and ultimately for us too. Fishing line can be ingested by marine and bird life, eventually killing the poor creatures, that die slow and painful deaths. Entanglement occurs when the line wraps around turtles, disabling flippers, or it wraps around bills, causing birds to die of starvation. Fishing line can also become entangled in propellers and block intake pipes, disabling power boats and fishing boats. Finding fine, clear fishing line in waterways and in the ocean is difficult and expensive, making the cleanup a major issue. So let’s be sure not to leave fishing line in the water at all – ever. Reel in your line, every time.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #308 Keep Calm and Carry On

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #308 Keep Calm and Carry On


I love this slogan and wanted to include it in my 1000 Flowers for the Planet project as an inspirational idea for all to enjoy. The slogan was invented by the British government in 1939 as a propaganda poster to inspire their nation during the impending war (World War II), but was never actually distributed. Eventually the poster was ‘discovered’ in the year 2000 and has since been an inspiration in modern times. With so much happening around the world (yet again), the idea of keeping calm and carrying on is an excellent one and I hope it inspires you when things seem tough. There’s a lot to be changed in this world of ours, from avoiding wars, to environmental issues, to learning tolerance, so as we aim for all of this and more, let’s -
Keep Calm and Carry On

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #307 Bake Your Own Bread

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #307 Bake Your Own Bread


Perhaps the first question that would come to mind when suggesting baking your own bread would be the cost factor. There are many variables to costing a loaf of home-made bread, from the number and quality of the ingredients to the amount of power/energy used to bake the loaf. However, in general, a home baked loaf of bread will cost less than a store bought loaf. So there’s the first benefit. Further benefits are the joy of producing something yourself – some people even become avid hobby bakers – and making something your family will enjoy. Home baked bread can be adjusted to suit your diet by changing the flour used, or adding seeds and other healthy ingredients. Many people love the smell of freshly baked bread – it’s a homely smelly and incites memories of childhood and being comfy and secure.
If you bake your own bread, the planet will benefit too. Firstly, you won’t be bringing plastic bags into your home, which then need disposing of, hopefully through a recycling program, but that uses even more energy in the recycling process, a cost that needs to be added to the initial energy usage of baking the store bread in the first place. The bread also comes with one of those annoying plastic tags used to hold the plastic bag shut. If these end up in landfill, as so many of them do, they become those tiny pieces of plastic that end up in birds’ stomachs. They are responsible for contributing to the death of animals and bird life. If we can avoid them altogether it is better for fauna everywhere.
When we bake for ourselves we appreciate the time and effort that goes into preparing our food, and therefore the value of that food is increased and the food is eaten more responsibly. No one wants to make a loaf of bread only to throw it in the compost when it’s gone mouldy.
Baking bread reduces food waste, produces a healthier product, saves money, protects fauna and water systems, and brings less plastic into our homes.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #306 LOOK at What's Going on Around You

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #306 LOOK at What's Going on Around You


Look! Notice the planet. See what is happening around you, be aware of what is going on, notice what needs to be changed and seek ways to do things differently.
Take a look at what is happening in your own small world. Do you pay attention to how much rubbish/trash you are throwing away? Do you think about your purchases and where they will end up – do you see them as permanent or landfill? Take a look at what’s happening in your community. Do you like what you see? Is there something that needs your action? Take a look at your country and how it is dealing with political, social, environmental, moral and ethical issues. Do you agree? Are there any actions you should be taking?
Take a look at the planet. What do you see? Is it in good shape? How are you contributing to the health of the planet? Are you mindlessly polluting it or mindfully helping to clean it up? You won’t know the answers to these questions unless you first LOOK – then you might comprehend better.

Monday, 22 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #305 Install LED Lights

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #305 Install LED Lights

LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are the newest light source, which is becoming ever more popular, and for good reason. The original incandescent light bulbs we all used last about 800-1,500 hours, fluorescent lights last up to 10,000 hours, but the LED bulb can last up to 60,000 hours, so whilst they are a little more expensive in the first instance, their expected life span provides immense benefit over that initial cost. Therefore, in financial terms, installing LED lights will save you money in the long term. They have to be changed less often, saving time, do not emit any annoying noise at all, do not get hot to the touch, and come in different colours to suit a variety of applications.
Environmentally, LEDs are completely safe and do not contain any poisonous materials or gases that can subsequently be put into landfill or find their way into our water systems. They use far less energy, saving electricity, thereby saving fossil fuels, which is always a good thing. The next time you need to reorganise your lighting, install LEDs and help the planet breathe a little easier.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #304 Install a Living Wall

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #304 Install a Living Wall


Plants provide many benefits to us in the natural environment. Sadly they are lacking in our urban environment, particularly in inner city suburbs. Planting on a vertical plane is a possibility and it comes with many benefits. Systems have been invented that allow us to plant whole walls, either in a courtyard garden, inside a multi-storeyed foyer in an office building or even schools and restaurants. Many different plant types can be utilised, creating habitats for microorganisms, attracting wildlife to an urban environment, and helping reduce pollutants in the air, which creates a better human environment. They also make you feel good just by looking at them. Nature is good for the soul.
So if you have a tiny urban spot and don’t think you can have a garden, think again and check out the possibility of installing a living wall at your place.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #303 Companion Plant

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #303 Companion Plant


Companion planting is used by organic gardeners for many reasons, not least of which is the benefit of reducing the number of pests which may destroy your crop. Some plants emit a strong smell which serves to cover the smell of another plant and therefore confuse any insects which may wish to feed on your crop. Conversely, some plants attract the right insects. Another reason is that some plants have deeper growing roots which aerate the soil, allowing other plants to grow better. There doesn’t seem to be an exact science related to companion planting, but plenty of websites will provide a list of suited plantings and further discussion.
In relation to the planet, though, learning to companion plant will reduce the amount of chemicals used to grow crops at home or keep beautiful garden beds, and keeping chemicals out of your garden means they’ll stay out of the water systems, keeping our drinking water clean and looking after all marine and bird life. It would produce healthy gardens containing good insects, attract bees (the reason for this art project) and provide healthy food for you and your family to eat. If you love your garden (and the planet), then give companion planting a go.

Friday, 19 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #302 Encourage House Deconstruction

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #302 Encourage House Deconstruction


In our endeavours to recycle in the home, and sometimes at the office, it’s surprising that we haven’t really taken the recycling idea as far as we possibly can. Salvage yards have been around for such a long time, and they make fascinating places where we can potter in amongst the old and not so old to make discoveries of wonderful building features from days gone by that we can incorporate into our modern world.
The idea of deconstructing a house before constructing a new one on the same piece of land should surely be one that could turn into a profitable business. I saw it happen on an American television program whereby the house was pulled apart slowly, piece by piece: light fittings, light switches, floorboards, cabinets – everything you could think of. The items were then taken to a large warehouse where they were displayed in sections – bathroom, kitchen, doors, windows etc. – and sold. This makes such a lot of sense. It does mean that removing an old building becomes a slower task than if you simply take to it with a wrecking ball, but the benefits are multiple. The building could be sold to a deconstruction company who makes their money by selling on second-hand building materials and fittings. The owner makes a bit of money in selling the building for recycling. Most importantly, the planet benefits immensely when resources are reused, less landfill is created and people value what they already have.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #301 Support an Elephant Sanctuary

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #301 Support an Elephant Sanctuary


In Africa an elephant is killed every 15 minutes! At this rate there will be NO elephants living in the wild by 2025. At this rate there will be NO elephants living in the wild by 2025. Yes, I did think that was worth repeating.
I’ve already talked about banning the ivory trade (Flower #253). Today I want to talk about providing elephants in the wild with sanctuaries – places where they can live and breed without any intervention by humans; places where they are safe – just to exist, as is their right.
There are many elephant sanctuaries throughout the world where ‘retired’ (e.g. elephants from circuses) or rescued elephants are homed. In order to be economically viable these particular sanctuaries encourage people to come and interact with the elephants, have a ride, feed them, pet them, watch them paint pictures as though they were human, etc. This doesn’t sound particularly like ‘retirement’ to me but it is better than nothing, if not ideal. The thing is, they shouldn’t need these places to exist anyway – elephants should be in the wild, free to roam and behave as nature intended.
The word ‘sanctuary’ means refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger. Having humans swarming all over you may actually be a form of persecution, so think twice before participating in such a sanctuary. Let’s get this right. Let’s work as best we can to save these magnificent creatures and allow them their piece of the planet.
Do some research on the Internet to find a sanctuary, perhaps one in your own country, and support them in some way. Or I’ll make it easier for you and point you in the right direction: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been working hard since 1977 to stop poaching, rescue animals and provide sanctuary for them before releasing them back in to the wild. For more information go to http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org and support them in their endeavours. And if you really want to put your efforts into this cause go to www.iworry.org and utilise the resources there.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #300 Mulch Your Garden Beds

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #300 Mulch Your Garden Beds

Mulching your garden beds is a terrific way to improve the health of your plants, reduce weeds and save precious water. There are many different types of mulch to choose from, including but not limited to: pea straw, lucerne, bean and cane straws, wood chips and bark. Which one you choose will depend on the look you prefer and your budget. There are also non-organic mulches such as river pebbles, scoria and gravel which look good in certain applications but can become very messy if they are in areas where leaf litter is a problem. Organic mulches have the added benefit of breaking down and providing further nutrients for the soil. The most important reason for using mulch, though, is water conservation. Mulching your garden should reduce water usage by 60% and help prevent the topsoil from drying out, saving our most precious resource whilst at the same time creating a lovely garden to enjoy.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #299 Look for the Common Link

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #299 Look for the Common Link


The planet has about 7 billion people on it – all different races, colours and creeds. Interestingly though, there is one word for every one of us, one group, called ‘people’. If only we could learn to look for the common links we have with each other, maybe the world would start to be a better place. Most people believe in one God. They might worship God in different ways, but ultimately the belief is in ‘One God’. Why can’t we see that truth as the link that keeps us together? We all have the desire to be happy, to laugh and smile, and those things can be shared with each other even if we don’t speak the same language. Why don’t we do that?
With your neighbours you have the common link of your community. With your work colleagues you have the common link of your workplace and working together to produce excellent goods or services. When you follow a football team you have your team as the common link with all sorts of strangers who also barrack for that team. You might come from different cultures but share a love of embroidery and be able to enjoy learning new techniques from each other. You might have opposing business practices but enjoy golf, and the golf course can be the link that pulls you together for sharing ideas.
There are all sorts of things that can be our common link, so instead of fighting each other over our differences, lets concentrate on looking for that common link that draws us ‘together’. Lets focus on the good things we share and learn to live in harmony and peace.

Monday, 15 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #298 Buy Quality

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #298 Buy Quality


It’s so easy to decide to spend as little money as possible when making purchases, and for some there is not a great deal of choice. However, saving a few dollars in the first instance is often a false economy. Buying cheap goods that last a short length of time probably means you’re spending more in the long-run as you replace those items far more often (depending on the item). When you buy quality you buy goods that will probably last a long time. Quality clothes not only last longer, they make you look better because they hang properly. Quality furniture will last a lifetime (antiques have to start somewhere you know). Quality workmanship in building is another area where paying a bit more for a better job will save money and provide a long-term asset. When you buy cheap goods and services, you not only spend more money over time, but you waste more resources, add more to landfill and create more pollution. Take the time to research good quality goods and services, save up for them and help the planet by wasting less.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #297 Buy Products Not Tested on Animals

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #297 Buy Products Not Tested on Animals


Would you use a product if you knew it was tested on animals? Is it okay to ‘use’ rabbits, dogs, cats, mice and other animals by burning them, poisoning them, putting them through pain and even killing them? If you don’t think that’s okay, then take a hard look at the brands you use and demand change by NOT purchasing products made by companies that allow testing on animals. And there’s another catch: some companies don’t actually do the testing on animals themselves, BUT they sell to countries that have laws requiring the product to be tested on animals before they can be sold in that country. This is really using a loophole! Fortunately the European Union has banned the importation and sale of any products tested on animals. The rest of the world needs to follow suit. Surely we have become clever enough by now to work out other ways of testing products. Or maybe humans shouldn’t use the products anyway. Maybe we need to question what we put on our faces, our skin or in our stomachs.
Animals Australia has worded it far more eloquently than I have, so take a read at http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/animal-testing-list.php
But for those of you who can’t be bothered doing a little more research: 1) You can download an app which gives you a list of companies that test on animals, and use it when shopping to know what products to avoid. 2) Here’s a list (not exhaustive) for you to look through and think about. This list gives you the companies that use or allow animal testing and should be avoided.
COSMETIC:
Aramis
Aveeno
Avon
Band-Aid
Biotherm
Bonjela
Braun
Cashmere Bouquet
Chapstick
Clairol
Clean & Clear
Clearasil
Clinicare
Clinique
Colgate
Covergirl
Decore
Dove
Durex
Elizabeth Arden
Estee Lauder
Eulactol
Fruitrience
Garnier
Gillette
Giorgio Armani
Gucci Fragrances
Head & Shoulders
Herbal Essences
Hugo Boss
Impulse
Johnson & Johnson
Jurlique
Lacoste
Lancome
Lemsip
Listerine
L'Oreal
Lux
Lynx
MAC
Mary Kay
Max Factor
Maybelline
Mum
Nair
Neutrogena
Nice 'n Easy
Nurofen
Olay
Old Spice
Oral B
Palmolive
Pantene
Pears
Pert
Ponds
Radox
Revlon
Rexona
Savlon
Sensodyne
Shiseido
Stayfree
Steradent
Strepsils
Tampax
TREsemme
Vaseline
Veet
Vicks
Wella
Wella Balsam
Zest
HOUSEHOLD
Aeroguard
Air Wick
Ajax
Ambi-Pur
Armor All
Baygon
Bloo
Brasso
Cold Power
Comfort
Crisp
Cuddly
Dawn
Dettol
Domestos
Drano
Drive
Duck
Dynamo
Easy-Off BAM
Exit Mould
Fab
Fabulon
Fiesta
Finish
Fluffy
Freedom
Glad
Glade
Glen 20
Handy Andy
Harpic
Hurricane
Jif
Kiwi
Marveer
Mortein
Mr Muscle
Mr Sheen
Napisan
Nifti
Omo
Oust
Pea-Beau
Pine O Cleen
Pledge
Preen
Raid
Sard
Scotch-Gard
Silvo
Soft Soap
Spree
Steelo
Vanish
Windex

Saturday, 13 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #296 Plant a Tree

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #296 Plant a Tree


Where I live used to be a densely planted area with a huge number of trees, both native and European. We couldn’t even see into our neighbours property for trees and vegetation. Twenty years on and the trees are mostly gone as development takes over, with house blocks now consisting of three or four townhouses where once there was a single home. As population grows, new housing developments are popping up everywhere, with all the vegetation bulldozed to make way for concrete jungles with not a tree in site. Brazil and Indonesia are countries with high profiles for chopping down their rainforests to make way for industry, particularly the palm oil industry, which we all use in one way or another. These are to name only a few examples. None of us are guiltless in the destruction of forests worldwide – we all use products that come from that destruction.
Let’s counteract our destructive behaviour by planting a tree. Plant one tree for every person in your household. In Australia that would be 23 million trees – there would be so many more in other countries worldwide. If you don’t have your own property on which to plant a tree, or enough space, join a tree planting project in your area. Search the Internet for projects in which you can participate. If you simply cannot physically plant a tree yourself, donate to a tree planting project such as Carbon Neutral at http://www.carbonneutral.com.au/individuals/plant-a-tree.html or The Nature Conservancy at http://www.plantabillion.org/. Get your relatives and friends involved and if you have aged parents who cannot participate, plant a tree on their behalf.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, so don’t delay – plant one today.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Latest novel: "The Glenvale Challenge Quilt"

Announcing the launch of my latest novel in the
Australian Challenge Quilt Series:
THE GLENVALE CHALLENGE QUILT

This is the 5th novel in the series and can be purchased from me direct. I'm working on adding it to my website at www.margaretrowe.com.au but in the meantime you can email me at rowekeys01@optusnet.com.au to organise your copy.

Better still, come and meet me tomorrow at the Beaconsfield Quilters Exhibition, support the Beaconsfield Quilters and the CFA and get your copy of The Glenvale Challenge Quilt.


1000 Flowers for the Planet - #295 Listen

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #295 Listen


My personal experience with the world is that everybody loves to talk, but few bother to listen. People speak at me every day in my job, and many a time I’m asked a question only to be spoken over the top of. People have forgotten how to listen. With this Internet world where everyone can have their say at the keyboard without much in the way of repercussion, the trend is taking off in the oral world where people let loose with their mouths and don’t pay attention to anything that’s happening around them.
It’s important to listen. You may have valid points to make but so does the other person, and if you expect to be heard, then you must also listen. Talking over the top of each other is not a conversation, nor a debate, it’s just noise and no one walks away any the wiser. Just being quiet while the other person speaks is no good if your mind is concentrating on the next thing you want to say, without hearing what the other person is saying. If we stop, pay attention, and listen to each other we are better able to understand each other, and understanding leads to a better world. We don’t have to agree, we just have to listen, learn, and understand. It works on every level, from two people talking to each other, to governments debating the best options for their country, and to religious people hearing what someone else has to say – listening is important. Of course, you also have to hear what the person is saying – take it in, understand, learn.
Through listening, we can create a better world.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #294 Use Gift Bags Properly

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #294 Use Gift Bags Properly

Gift bags were supposed to be a revolutionary invention. Their intention was that they should be reused, and often they are. But they were also meant to replace wrapping paper, which is usually a single use product, unless you’re the type who carefully unwraps a present to save the paper and use it again. Even then, the life span of a piece of wrapping paper is limited, and gift bags were supposed to be the answer to that. However, many people still wrap their gifts before putting them into the gift bag. This is not the proper way to use the gift bag. Here are the instructions: pick up your gift, pop it into a gift bag, present it to the recipient. There’s no need for fancy tissue paper fluffed up over the top or any other form of wrapping paper or concealment. The bag hides the gift. Then the bag may be reused over and over, reducing landfill, reducing the use of valuable resources and saving money.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #293 Because We 'Can' Doesn't Mean We 'Should'

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #293 Because We 'Can' Doesn't Mean We 'Should'


There are a lot of things going on in the world that we need to question. Unfortunately it will never be easy to find answers to moral and ethical questions with our different world views, but perhaps dialogue should be opened and sensible discussion and input allowed. Because we ‘can’ clone life, does that mean we ‘should’ do it? Because we can genetically modify plants, should we? Because we can create weapons of mass destruction, should we? Should scientists be allowed to search for anything they wish to search for, or should we ask them not to go down some tracks at all? Should we be looking for ways to read people’s minds? Should we be creating robots to replace people, while the world’s human population explodes? Should we be putting people on the planet Mars to create a new colony, instead of cleaning up the planet we already have? Should we spend our money like there’s no tomorrow and put countries into economic ruin, leaving it for the next generation to fix? Should we keep manufacturing, producing, making, building, like the resources are never going to run out, without thought for the future and the price our descendants are going to have to pay? There are so many questions with no easy answers, but I hope today’s Flower at least opens your mind to thinking about these things, and more.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #292 Turn Off Your Phone

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #292 Turn Off Your Phone


It’s okay. I assure you, it really is okay to turn off your phone. The world won’t explode if you flick that tiny switch to ‘off’. It is not essential to life that you can be contacted by all and sundry, 24 hours a day. If you think it is, then you probably have delusions of grandeur. Everybody needs to sleep, and that precious time for your body and mind to rejuvenate is essential. Turning off your mobile phone will allow you to sleep peacefully without interruption. It will still be there in the morning, when you will wake up properly refreshed and ready to start a new day with vigour. Be the person who looks after you the best way possible and give yourself time away from the demands of other people. It can wait until tomorrow – I promise you.
Apart from the health benefits for body and mind, turning off your phone will use less energy, making your battery last longer and requiring recharging less often, or if you recharge daily, then not as much time to recharge. Saving energy, in any form, is a good thing for the planet.

Monday, 8 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #291 Think About Angora

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #291 Think About Angora


Angora is a beautiful and luxuriant fibre that comes from the angora rabbit. It is valued for its softness and warmth and therefore commands very high prices. Sadly, though, obtaining it is a nightmare story for the angora rabbits that provide this prized commodity used in the fashion industry. Clipped fibre commands a good price, but fur that has been pulled from the animal is sold at even greater prices. In China, where 90% of the fibre is produced, there are farms that use the obscene practice of pulling the fibre from live rabbits while the rabbits scream in pain throughout the process. Another method has the rabbits’ paws tied and the animal stretched while the fur is shaved off. The rabbits are kept in small cages and don’t see daylight.
The best way you can help these rabbits is to refuse to buy any product that contains angora. If you cannot make that stance, then think about angora rabbits before you purchase any item containing it, and ask questions about how the fibre was obtained. Think about screaming rabbits before making that purchase. Do we really need angora, and if we do, isn’t there a better way?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet- #290 Fight Poaching

1000 Flowers for the Planet- #290 Fight Poaching


Poaching is an ever-increasing disaster in a world that cares more for unscientific potions and sexual prowess than it does for the sanctity of life. But how can we prevent it, besides giving animals bodyguards? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/9525512/Rhinos-under-24-hour-armed-guard.html) Putting a stop to it is a complicated business, but it needs our attention and support. Poaching is BIG business, and makes a lot of money. Laws against poaching exist in some areas, but the ramifications are too insignificant to be a deterrent to the practice. Re-education is probably the best way to approach the problem, from the people who actually kill the animals to the people who buy the body parts and the people who are the end users of products such as tiger bone wine, medicines made with tiger whiskers and aphrodisiacs made from rhinoceros tusks, to name just a few examples. The benefits have been scientifically proven to be non-existent. We need to educate the end users that these products can be replaced by synthetic or other more sustainable ingredients. Only by eliminating the demand can we eradicate poaching. Education is the way, opened by mature dialogue by intelligent people with intelligent listeners. The poachers themselves need to be redirected into other lucrative employment, which may be as simple as making the existence of the animals a tourist attraction.
The biggest problem is corruption – and I don’t think I have the answer for that. But if enough people educate themselves sufficiently, and put enough pressure on the end users of animal products, we may be able to make a difference. And why do we need to do this? Imagine if our grandchildren were never able to see a rhino or an elephant? It may even be our children who never get to see some species. What right do we have to slaughter any species until they are all gone? Let’s start fighting to eliminate poaching, and save the animals.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #289 Upcycle

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #289 Upcycle


I’ve already written about upcycling clothes (Flower #32) and now want to encourage you to upcycle anything else you can think of: computer cases, suitcases, furniture, whitegoods, bicycles, doors, fence palings, wooden pallets, bathtubs, car parts. The list is practically endless.  Anything you have lying around not longer being used for its original purpose can be upcycled with a bit of imagination. If imagination is the hard part for you, hop onto the Internet and search ‘upcycle’ and you’ll find plenty of sites to help you with ideas. You could even be more specific with your search and type in ‘upcycle x’ with’x’ being the item you have in mind. For example, a search for ‘upcycle suitcase’ reveals repurposed suitcases, which are now: pet beds, set of drawers, footstool, medicine cabinet. The more we upcycle, the less we put into landfill, and that’s always a good thing. We use less finite resources, save energy and save money. Try your hand at some upcycling and share your ideas on the Internet.

Friday, 5 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #288 Use a Soaker Hose

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #288 Use a Soaker Hose


After the seriousness of the last few Flowers, something a little lighter in mood for today: If you cannot afford to install an expensive watering system in your garden or a timer for the tap, try using a soaker hose. They are inexpensive to purchase and waste less water than when you stand in the garden holding the hose, with water going places it doesn’t need to be. A soaker hose allows you to water slowly, ensuring every drop is soaked into the soil where it’s needed. You can also set it up and leave it on for an appropriate length of time while you go off and do other things, saving you time. Financial savings will also be made because less water is wasted. Water is our most valuable resource and needs to be used wisely. Try a soaker hose and do your bit for the planet.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #287 Find Our Humanity

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #287 Find Our Humanity


When you watch the news on television, it’s hard to see ‘humanity’ in the humans that are portrayed in each news item. War rages everywhere, and if it’s not actually bombs and bullets, it’s cruel words and damnation. Let’s find our humanity once more. Maybe some synonyms will help: compassion, brotherly love, fellow feeling, kindness, consideration, mercy, leniency, benevolence, charity, generosity, tenderness. It’s time to start thinking about how we treat each other, no matter what our race, colour or creed – to think of these words and apply them to our actions. We need to find our humanity towards all the other creatures on this planet too – mind how we treat pets, wildlife, marine animals, and the environment. Ultimately, if we can find our humanity, we’ll give ourselves better lives.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #286 Cherish Natural Heritage

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #286 Cherish Natural Heritage


Our natural heritage has existed for millions of years and is a gift without price. It could also be referred to as our ‘natural inheritance’. Think of our wild areas, the coral reefs, Antarctica, the magnificent forests such as Kakadu, the Tasmanian Wilderness, the Norwegian Fjords, the Himalayan National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park and so many more. Heritage is that which is inherited from past generations, maintained in the present, and bestowed to future generations. It would be a sin to destroy this natural heritage, which cannot be replaced or brought back once it is gone. It is our duty to be grateful for that which has been given to us from the past, to concentrate our efforts on maintaining it in the present, and ensure future generations receive it in as good, if not better, state than when we inherited it. We have no right to destroy the future. There are ways you can help through volunteering or donations. Check out UNESCO on the web for lots of information and a full list of sites at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #285 Knit Jumpers for Penguins

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #285 Knit Jumpers for Penguins


Oil spills are deadly to many marine creatures. One popular local fella is the ‘little penguin’, a beautiful bird unique to our part of the planet here in Australia. Each penguin can be killed by a small patch of oil the size of a thumb nail. Imagine the devastation from a large oil spill. When a penguin is affected by oil, their feathers are separated and matted, allowing water to penetrate and cause the penguin to become very cold. When fortunate enough to be taken into human care, a special penguin jumper is put on them to prevent them from preening and ingesting oil, until they can be washed thoroughly and released back into the wild. You can help the little penguins by knitting a penguin jumper when they put out a call for them following a serious oil spill. Unfortunately I had thought of this Flower suggestion months ago, and now I have come to it, the penguin foundation has recently undergone a big publicity drive, including a jumper competition, and has now requested that no more jumpers be sent at this time. However, you could still help out by making a financial donation while keeping your eyes open for the next callout for jumpers. www.penguinfoundation.org.au
Meanwhile, how are the marine animals rescued and protected following an oil spill in your country? Let me know.

Monday, 1 September 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #284 Get Together on Things

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #284 Get Together on Things


Millions, probably billions of dollars are gathered around the world through donations and fundraising activities for research into cures for diseases. Cancer is a major killer around the world that is constantly raising funds for research. Why can’t we get together on things? (I know why – it’s because pharmaceutical companies want the cures to themselves so they can make billions of dollars in profits.)
The world would be a better, healthier place if we pooled our scientific and technological resources and got together on things. The best scientists from around the world could collaborate their research into cures for diseases – one pool of funding required, one lab, one team working for one human race. The same could be done with technology whereby the best of the best from around the world collaborated to solve problems faced by humanity e.g. new energy sources. Having one team would allow that team access to the best resources for their research with fewer funds than when ten different countries (or companies) are all trying to find the same solution. It’s time to get over being the first person or first country to do something – the world’s too small for that now. We need to work for humanity, not for individual recognition, for profit or for control of the solutions.
Getting together on things can also happen at a local level whereby communities come together and support one another to resolve local issues. Let’s think about the greater good and look after this planet.