Friday, 31 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #339 Put a Tail on Your Mouse

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #339 Put a Tail on Your Mouse


That would be your computer mouse.
A wireless mouse might make the desk look less cluttered and it might feel easier to use, but it can go through a staggering number of batteries. My mouse takes two AA batteries, I switch it off every night when I turn off the computer, yet I only get about 6 to 8 weeks use from those batteries. This means up to 17 batteries are being used every year and whilst I do recycle them, that’s not really the point.
The suggestion to ‘put a tail on your mouse’ means using a mouse with a cord that connects into the back of the computer, thereby powering it by electricity rather than batteries. This will save the cost of the batteries, avoid the need to recycle batteries (never a first choice option), as well as avoiding landfill from packaging. Batteries are an environmental problem all the way along their life-cycle. Large amounts of fossil fuels are used to mine the mineral resources used in the production of batteries. More fossil fuels are used to transport the product from manufacturer to wholesaler to store to consumer. Once home, packaging is often tossed into the bin to go to landfill. Then, if the batteries themselves are tossed into landfill they can leach harmful chemicals into the environment where water systems become polluted. They’re bad news really, so let’s think of every way possible to avoid using them – such as putting a tail on your mouse.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #338 Install Environmentally Friendly Insulation

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #338 Install Environmentally Friendly Insulation


The reasons for installing insulation in your home cover the usual positive results of reducing heating and cooling costs, thereby saving money, reducing the use of fossil fuels and, as a result, reducing carbon emissions, and with quality insulation you also reduce fire risk.
Wool makes excellent insulation, covers all the aforementioned benefits as well as being completely sustainable. It is a natural fibre and can be grown easily (and of course we want it grown in accordance with animal rights too, don’t we?). Recycled denim, which is made from cotton, makes another quality product for insulating your home. It also gains a tick for being a recycled product and for not sending stuff into landfill, but, although cotton is a natural fibre, cotton production uses more chemicals than any other crop, making it less environmentally friendly. However, having said that, considering the mind-blowing quantities of blue jeans being manufactured in China every year, recycling them into insulation makes good sense.
These are just two options, with the second already demonstrating how difficult it can be to find a truly environmentally responsible, sustainable product. Do your homework, find out what is best for your application and purchase the best you can afford. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #337 Laugh

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #337 Laugh


After the intensity of yesterday’s Flower it’s time for a fun approach to helping the plant – through laughter. Laughing makes us feel good. It’s something we all enjoy doing. Some people even choose to earn their living by making other people laugh. What a great job! There are even ‘laughter classes’ at local community houses where people get together for a big laughter session. That’s hilarious!
When we laugh we feel good, and when we feel good we have a positive attitude, we are better behaved and we treat each other more kindly. This can only be a good thing. Once we start treating each other better we can generate a society that cares for and about itself, and this caring will extend to the environment in which we live. Once we care about what we’re doing to each other and the planet, we can begin to fix things. Laughter has that much power.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #336 Query "Carbon Neutral" Products


1000 Flowers for the Planet - #336 Query Carbon Neutral Products


Have you ever heard a bird say, “Shit! I just pooped in my nest. Wait! It’s okay folks – I covered it up with 100% natural feathers, so I can’t tell I’ve pooped in my nest.”
The phrase “carbon neutral” is a misleading one. As long as you are using fossil fuels you are creating carbon emissions. You could go live in the forest without electricity or a car, but as soon as you start a fire to cook or keep warm, you are creating carbon emissions. Nothing can ‘neutralise’ that. You can try to ‘compensate’ for it, but you can’t actually neutralise it. Our marketing people have become so incredibly good at their jobs they can sell fossil fuels alongside a rescue package that doesn’t exist.
In order to ‘neutralise’ our carbon emissions we need to plant trees. We would need to plant 50 million hectares with trees every year to compensate for our current fossil fuel usage. And here’s the catch: in order for those trees to ‘neutralise’ the problem they would have to stay there forever. That means never chopping one tree down, and continuing to plant 50 million hectares every year. To give you some perspective, 50 million hectares is about the size of Spain (get your atlas out). [source: http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/carbon_offsetting_tree_planting.htm] But then, planting trees may not go far towards a solution anyway. Read http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article256-the-carbon-neutral-myth.html for more information.
Stop being one of those people that puts their hands over their ears and sings la-la-la-la in order to avoid being aware of the problem. Acknowledge that what we do has an impact, try to reduce your impact and become more educated. Beware products and companies who make claims that they are “carbon neutral”, because once you shit in the nest, covering it up with feathers won’t make the shit go away. The solution is to not shit in the nest in the first place.

Monday, 27 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #335 Choose FSC Paper

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #335 Choose FSC Paper


FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, and I think the best way to present this information to you is by quoting from their website as follows:
[source: http://au.fsc.org/why-fsc.302.htm]
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, non-profit organisation founded in 1993 by environmentalists, social interest groups, responsible retailers and leading forest companies to develop standards based on the ‘10 Principles for Forest Stewardship’ by which responsible forest practice can be measured.
These standards ensure that environmental, social and economic needs are balanced, and that long-term forest management plans are implemented.
On the ground, this means real benefits so that:
  • Waterways are protected
  • Wildlife habitat and species are protected
  • High conservation value forests are preserved
  • Forest management practices are monitored annually
  • Pesticide use is reduced
  • Worker safety and wellbeing is enhanced
  • The rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected
  • Communities are respected and valued
[End quote] FSC products include those made from wood, such as furniture, so look for the tag stating the product is FSC approved. For this Flower specifically the focus is on paper, which we use in astronomical quantities these days. If your workplace is not using FSC copy paper, suggest they do so and keep at the bosses until they make the switch. Ensure you do the same in your home office. Search for FSC details in your own country and check out the list of products they recommend and the outlets that sell FSC paper. This is an extremely positive way to help the planet.

Friday, 24 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #334 Use Clean Steam to Eliminate Weeds

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #334 Use Clean Steam to Eliminate Weeds


Gradually, more and more local councils are making the switch to green weed control by substituting unpleasant chemical approaches with a clean steam weed control method. Keeping chemicals out of the environment is of major importance, as chemicals used to control weeds, for example, play a large part in polluting our water systems and killing marine and bird life. Clean steam is a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way to control weeds, particularly in large areas. When local councils take this initiative they do the environment a favour, and probably gain some positive recognition from the community too.
Steam can also be used to deal with weeds at home. Always be careful when handling steam equipment and keep children away from where you are working. Be safe. And help the planet.

1000 Flowers for the Planet - Third of the Way Celebration

Yesterday I blogged flower #333 which puts me at one third of the way through my art project of 1000 Flowers for the Planet. So here is a celebratory photo of one of my individual art pieces "1000 Flowers for the Planet #22 - Buy Fair Trade". My art is for sale at my website www.margaretrowe.com.au
Meanwhile - let's remember to treat each other fairly, and be good to one another.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #333 Plant Deciduous Vines

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #333 Plant Deciduous Vines


Deciduous vines, like deciduous trees, offer a terrific opportunity to make nature work to your advantage and help save you money. By planting deciduous vines over a pergola or verandah, they will provide lovely shade in summer before losing their leaves to let the sun shine through in winter. They will help keep the house cool in summer and warmer in winter, giving you financial savings in reduced heating and cooling costs. Furthermore, this will reduce the amount of fossil fuels being used, reduce carbon emissions and help battle the greenhouse effect. And who knows – depending on the vine you choose, you may even reap a harvest of fruit or enjoy a mass of beautiful blooms.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #332 Plant Natives

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #332 Plant Natives


It doesn’t matter which corner of the world you live in, planting your native plants is a great way to assist the natural ecology of your area. Australia is a very dry continent, and as such our native plants have adapted to cope with drought and floods. In times of drought it is particularly important to conserve what water there is available, making natives the best choice for gardens in arid zones. Native plants provide the best homes for native fauna as well, creating the correct environment for insects which become food for reptiles and small mammals, as well as food for native birds. The whole system works perfectly when the right plants are in the right spots. When you plan your garden, think carefully about where you live, what plants you’ll select and where you’ll put them, and give the planet, the environment and all your native fauna a fighting chance.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #331 Use Pyrethrum in the Garden

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #331 Use Pyrethrum in the Garden


Pyrethrum is made from a type of daisy flower and can help in the garden when you have certain pests you really need to be rid of. A word of caution is that commercial pyrethrum sprays may contain possible carcinogenic ingredients, so read the label carefully and know what you’re putting on your vegie plants etc. Make your own insect spray by soaking dried Dalmation daisy flowers for three hours and use the water as your insecticide within twelve hours.
Try to use this less harmful, but imperfect, garden solution as a last resort for getting rid of really difficult pests because pyrethrum is harmful to bees, wasps, beneficial insects and fish, so we don’t want it in our water systems. After spraying it on affected plants, cover those plants with a sheet or some form of row cover for 24 hours to prevent bees and good insects from coming into contact with the pyrethrum. 
It may have its cautions but it's heaps better than using chemicals.

Monday, 20 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #330 Buy Eco Fashion

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #330 Buy Eco Fashion


The fashion industry is one of the highest polluting industries on the planet. The good news is that there are a number of brands that are supplying eco fashion for a world on the cusp of changing its way of thinking. With these eco brands you can purchase garments that have one or several considerations for the welfare of the planet and its inhabitants:
Eco fashion should be made from organic and sustainable fabrics (see also Flower #329). Animals that provide the fibres for our fabrics must be well cared for and maintain the full range of animal rights. The closer the fabrics are produced to the source of the fibres, the better. This reduces travel miles, which use lots of fossil fuels and produce carbon emissions, which create the greenhouse effect. Garments should be made as close as possible to the point of fabric production, again reducing travel miles. Production of fibres, fabric and garments should be fair trade, wherein all workers are given full rights to healthy and safe working conditions, bargaining power, reasonable working hours and fair wages. Using natural dyes is another consideration.
Your eco fashion store will also consider labels and packaging, keep plastic use to a minimum or zero altogether, and offer quality garments that will last a long time, not just a season. Some may even choose to use recycled fabrics, which is another great way of reducing waste and landfill. The full life cycle of the clothing should be considered, so when you’re done with your eco garments, recycle them.
It’s not quite as simple as just buying organic cotton. There’s a lot to think about on this one, but one step at a time we can improve the way things are done. Check out some Aussie options at http://www.purepod.com.au or http://www.gormanshop.com.au or search the Internet for what’s available in your corner of the planet.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #329 Wear Natural Fibres

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #329 Wear Natural Fibres


Natural fibres used in the manufacture of clothing are: wool, cotton, linen, silk, angora, alpaca, camel hair, cashmere and mohair. Before going any further, wearing natural fibres for the sake of the planet is one aim, but taking care of the animals that provide the fibres is of utmost importance too. Always ensure any garment you wear has come from humane conditions for the animals concerned and that animal rights are strictly and vehemently adhered to. Refer also to Flowers 50, 90, 287 and 291.
Natural fibres, in the first instance, are renewable resources, making them sustainable. Raising the animals or crops required for fibre production provides jobs, creates income for families and contributes to the economy. Managed well, their sustainability makes them the best option for the health of the planet. The fabrics produced from natural fibres breathe better, making them healthier to wear, particularly next to the skin. These days, new techniques in manufacturing can produce pure wool cloth that is finer and has more drape than ever before, making it a versatile product for many applications – and it can even go in the washing machine.
A word of caution about cotton: Whilst this is a natural fibre, unfortunately cotton crops use more chemicals than any other crop in the world, making cotton a highly polluting product. When buying cotton, insist on organically grown cotton and push for change so that one day soon we’ll see a time when that wonderful product, cotton, is an asset to the world instead of a health risk.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #328 Wrap Gifts With Flair

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #328 Wrap Gifts With Flair



Try a few recycling ideas for wrapping gifts and be as inventive and creative as you like. Reuse wrapping paper, bows and ribbons – plenty will come your way over the course of a year. I remember my Nanna always saved the Christmas paper, gathering it all up on the day and then giving it to me a few days later to remove the sticky tape, flatten it out nicely and fold it ready for next Christmas. She was from the generation who made it through the Great Depression and knew the value of recycling. There’s nothing wrong with reusing gift wrap.
Alternatively, you can find all types of paper lying around ready to be creatively used as wrapping paper. Try old maps, brown paper, newspaper, or the coloured plastic that comes with a floral arrangement or cut flowers. If you have any leftover paint, even house paint, use it up by painting boxes that come in the mail, or boxes from new products you bought during the year. Set a Christmas challenge, with a goofy prize, for the person who comes up with the funniest or strangest or most inventive wrapping idea.
Of course, we could always decide that presents don’t need to be wrapped. The gift is in the giving, not the wrapping. We could alter our expectations and save the planet from a whole lot of wasted resources and subsequent landfill. Just a thought.

Friday, 17 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #327 Create a Menu Plan





1000 Flowers for the Planet - #327 Create a Menu Plan



The menu plan is an excellent tool to assist you in the running of your household, with many benefits for you and the planet. By making the effort to sit down and work out what is happening in the coming week/fortnight you’ll find that you give yourself a better understanding of where you need to be and at what times. This clarity will prove invaluable to preparing meals daily or in advance, ensuring you provide nutritional foods for yourself and your family. It is also an excellent tool to help you shop once a week or once a fortnight. Combining a menu plan with less frequent shopping expeditions results in a better use of your time, giving back a valuable commodity most people seem to lack these days. Less travel means a reduction in fuel usage, reducing fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions, and saving money. By purchasing the correct foods in the correct quantities, as per your menu plan, less food is wasted, and as 30% of food is currently thrown away in developed countries, this will make a massive difference to the planet in reducing resources, such as water and fertilisers, used in the production of food. Throwing away less food means financial savings as well. So some valuable investment of your time will create many benefits for you and the planet.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #326 Shop Once a Week

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #326 Shop Once a Week


It’s easy to shop once a week, or dare I say once a fortnight, when you have a few things at your disposal: a schedule, a shopping list, enough green carry bags, enough Tupperware or suitable storage containers and an organised pantry. Why should you shop once a week (go on – make it every fortnight)? It will actually save you a lot of time, it will save petrol getting to and from the store/s and therefore it will save money.
How do you do it? First thing is to schedule the task into your diary. If you make it the same time every week/fortnight you will know not to schedule anything else at that time. Next, ensure you have enough carry bags to transfer all your items without having to use plastic bags. Once you have the reusable bags, you have them, and keeping them in the boot/trunk of your car will ensure they are there when you need them. Over time, build up a good Tupperware collection (no, I am not being sponsored by Tupperware to write this – I just think it’s a superior product) to contain all your staple items such as flours, tea, coffee, sugar, pasta, rice, salt, etc etc. Tupperware will keep your foodstuffs fresh for longer than if you leave them in the packets in the cupboard where the mice can get to them. It also promotes an organised pantry which will save you time and money in the long term.
By shopping once a week/fortnight you avoid making multiple or daily trips to the supermarket, spend less money, use less petrol and waste less time. This saves your resources and those of the planet, like finite fossil fuels. It also frees up a lot of your time so you can do more fun things.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #325 Grow Herbs





1000 Flowers for the Planet - #325 Grow Herbs



Herbs are amazing plants with so much to offer. They also grow in the smallest of spaces, making them accessible to almost anyone. Most people tend to use them for cooking, but they can also be used for medicinal purposes and in making your own cosmetics. Thousands of books are available on the growing and using of herbs, as well as boundless information on the Internet. This might seem overwhelming, so a suggestion would be to pick one or two herbs you think you like and try them first. Research how you can include them in your cooking and then try looking at their medicinal qualities to see if you may benefit from them in that way also. Once you’ve mastered one or two, try a couple more.
Herbs have been used by mankind for millennia. They are nature’s contribution to healing. A word of caution: all care must be taken when using herbs for medicinal purposes, and always consult a medical practitioner first. Do your homework thoroughly, but do be encouraged to use fresh herbs in your cooking to add flavour and smarten up a dish. Fresh from the garden will provide so much more flavour than dried options from the store, or any stuff that comes in a plastic tube. Home grown herbs help the planet by reducing the amount of plastic packaging you purchase then toss into landfill. They can be companion planted to aid the growth of other plants and encourage good insects. Growing them can be a positive hobby for children, who would reap fast rewards for their efforts, learn about gardening and be encouraged to cook with their harvest. Even adults may find more pleasure in cooking with their home grown herbs, bringing families together around a table of healthy, home cooked meals. Lovely.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #324 Breathe Fresh Air

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #324 Breathe Fresh Air

For those who live in metropolitan environments, high rise living, or polluted cities/countries this may be difficult to achieve, but it’s important enough to highlight, because breathing fresh air will make a difference, in many ways. If you cannot breathe fresh air where you live and work, make a huge effort to get yourself and your family out into the countryside and a fresh environment as often as possible. Try for once a week – go on a picnic every weekend, sit, relax, enjoy each other’s company, slow down and breathe. For those lucky enough to live in a healthy environment, ensure you take time every day to stop, sit and breathe that delicious fresh air, for at least ten minutes. It could be while you take a coffee break or a short walk, or even when you fetch the mail from the letterbox – be aware of breathing the fresh air. Many people suffer depression and anxiety, and this simple act of consciously breathing deeply the freshest air you can access will increase endorphins and raise the spirits. Improving mental health in this way will reduce pressure on health systems and save precious resources. For everyone’s health in general it will do the same – be happy, feel invigorated, improve health, strengthen family relationships, relax. All of this will lead to a happier community wherein people work for the benefit of everyone, require less medical intervention, use less resources and thereby help the planet. And fresh air is free.

Monday, 13 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #323 Plant Deciduous Trees

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #323 Plant Deciduous Trees


When you plan your garden, or if you have room in your existing garden, think about planting deciduous trees. These need to be in the correct spot in the garden, ensuring they have plenty of room for root and canopy growth. More importantly, when planted in the correct spot, deciduous trees help create a better environment by creating shade to your home in summer, yet allowing the winter light to penetrate after the leaves fall. This will help cut cooling and heating costs all year round, reducing the use of electricity and/or fossil fuels, cutting down on carbon emissions and saving money. The leaves they drop in autumn/fall can be used for mulching your garden, saving water in summer and more money. Unfortunately the best time to plant any tree is twenty years ago, but planning for the future is an option every day, so plant your garden wisely.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #322 Prepare Healthy Meals to Go

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #322 Prepare Healthy Meals to Go

In this fast food, fast shopping, fast everything world of ours it is way too easy to step out the front door expecting to grab something to eat along the way. This leads to poor food choices, which affects our health. It’s as though food has become a secondary or even tertiary concern for many people, particularly urban dwellers, where convenience stores abound, fast food outlets are open 24/7 and supermarkets open every day. For some, food is something to consume as you go: a bite on the way between meetings; chuck a foil wrapped snack at the kids in the car; grab a takeaway on the way home.
Do yourself a favour and slow down. Remember that food is supposed to be our primary concern. Without food we die. This is what consumed the daylight hours of our ancestors millennia ago, not meetings and self important, self allocated chores. Take the time to plan ahead, understand your schedule and the demands you put on yourself, and work out when you will be away from home and the kitchen, sit down and work out what food you can cook in advance to take with you. Prepare a picnic for family outings, make soup for lunch at work, bake vegetable slices that are nice to eat cold as a healthy snack, and grab whole raw foods to munch on as you rush around from meeting to meeting. To help you on your way, LunchBots® [http://www.lunchbots.com/our-story/] offer environmentally friendly, healthy food containers made from stainless steel, in a range of sizes and configurations that will help you make this change without adding plastic to your life. Or maybe you can find a locally made product that is similar. Apart from numerous health and environmental benefits, you’ll save a whole lot of money when you prepare your own healthy meals to go.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #321 Look After Your Health

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #321 Look After Your Health


Your health is your responsibility, and nobody else’s. You decide what foods go into your mouth, whether you smoke, drink or take drugs, how much exercise you do and how often you consult a doctor for a check-up. But are you aware how much you can help the environment by simply being responsible for your own health?
Let’s look at what happens when you don’t: when you allow yourself to become unwell through bad diet or drug taking for example, you may require medical assistance. Hospitals use lots of resources, including many single use items that are sent to landfill. Bed linen has to be washed using lots of water and putting detergents into the environment. Tax payers’ money has to go towards funding the health system, and we have to pay for administrators to manage the finances and organise the types of facilities and clinics available to the public. Some areas of health receive more than others. Medication is used to make people feel better: chemicals which end up in the water system by either being eliminated from your body, or the disposal of unused drugs. But more than anything is the amount of landfill generated by surgery and infection control (e.g. single use gowns for visitors to infected patients or latex gloves used each time a doctor or nurse treats/touches a patient).
By looking after your health and staying out of hospital you can save the planet from a huge amount of landfill and chemical use. More importantly, though, you’ll lead a happier life being able to do all the things you truly enjoy, because the world really does have so much to offer you, particularly when you’re healthy enough to appreciate it.
[There are people who are unwell through no fault of their own, and to them I send my best wishes that you always receive the best of care through your health services.]

Friday, 10 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #321 Avoid Snobbery

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #320 Avoid Snobbery


You don’t have to be wealthy to be a snob. Snobs consider themselves to be above others and whilst this can be true on a financial level, it can also be true on an environmental level. Some people think they are above taking action to help the planet, with stupid statements like “I won’t be alive when it happens” (whatever ‘it’ may refer to: climate change, rising water levels, population explosion etc etc etc). We’ve reached a point where everyone needs to pitch in and help, in whatever ways they can, and if, for example, they’re the CEO of a major company then they should be leading the way towards sustainable trading practices, fair trade and waste reduction. Returning to financial snobbery, just because a person has a lot of money doesn’t give them the right to do whatever they please – they’re actually in a better position to create positive change. The problems the world faces are not to be left to the little bloke at the coal face who has to tow the lines set by others up the chain. We’re all in this together, so stop being a snob about the issues we’re faced with and pitch in to help make everything better for future generations – whether you’ll be here or not.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #319 Use a Family Message Board

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #319 Use a Family Message Board


Here’s a way to avoid using paper and ensure all family members are kept up-to-date and informed. By using a white- or black-board in the kitchen where everyone congregates at one time or another during the day, any messages that need to be relayed can be quickly and easily jotted on the board and erased when no longer required. It saves paper and prevents any excuses about ‘not getting the message’ amid claims of lost notes. It’s an old fashioned method of communication but a handy one, and can create a fun atmosphere when jokes and funny pictures are added, which is good for family health and well-being – and that creates positive people to help look after the planet.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #318 Deal With Your Own Waste

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #318 Deal With Your Own Waste


When you buy yourself a new electronic gadget, what do you do with the old one? Do you care? Maybe you give it to someone else to use for a while, but do you have any concern for where it goes at the end of its useful life? Electronic goods have increased in production since the personal computer gained popularity, and this has led to an exponential increase in the amount of e-waste being sent to landfill. The problem is that a lot of this waste is actually sent overseas, to developing countries where it pollutes the environment with toxins and its very existence. This is without any care for the people that live there, and those responsible for it don’t give a second thought about it because as far as they’re concerned it has all gone ‘away’ – remember that place that doesn’t exist. But it does exist. Type ‘e-waste’ into your search engine on the Internet and you will find plenty of reading material.
E-waste is not the only waste problem being sent from one country to another. Nuclear waste is also finding its way across borders in illegal dumping practices. This type of waste has an even more serious and deadly nature to it, as incorrect handling and storage can and will lead to major health issues for all life forms in its vicinity. Nuclear waste doesn’t just disappear – it hangs around for thousands of years. We’d have to wait a mere 10,000 years to feel somewhat safe with it. No probs! Sigh.
If you create waste, then you should deal with it! Insist your government becomes part of the solution by handling the waste generated within its border, and stop sending it to other countries who put up with it simply because they can’t afford not to.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #317 Clean Up After Your Dog

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #317 Clean Up After Your Dog


When dog owners fail to pick up their dog’s poop it’s a lot more serious than simply being rude and disgusting (as if that wasn’t enough). Dog waste is a significant polluter of water. When it is left on the ground it begins to decompose, then the rain comes and washes it into the soil. This is serious because the poop contains dangerous pathogens which then find their way into the water system – our drinking water. Unfortunately there are no waste treatment facilities designed to filter dog poop, therefore all the diseases are carried into the water, which we then drink. This includes salmonellosis, roundworms, tapeworms and other unpleasant beasties that we really don’t want to be drinking in our water.
Apparently the natural ecosystem is designed to cater for two dogs per square mile [source: http://theilovedogssite.com/the-shocking-truth-about-not-picking-up-your-dogs-poop/]. How many dogs live in your area? Also according to the aforementioned website, the USA EPA claims that dog poop is as toxic to the environment as chemical and oil spills. This is serious, folks! Clean up after your dog.
[Meanwhile, I’ll see if I can find any advice for sustainable dog waste solutions, so look out for a future Flower suggestion.]

Monday, 6 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #316 Avoid E-Waste

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #316 Avoid E-Waste


Electronic waste is a huge problem worldwide, with waste being transferred from some countries into poorer countries where it pollutes the environment. The best thing we can do is to avoid waste in the first place. Some people simply have to have the latest gadgets, at any cost, but the cost is that these gadgets eventually become waste that is difficult to deal with. We seem to live in a culture of everything never being ‘enough’: we have to have more or better or faster or bigger or smaller. At what point do people learn to be happy with ‘enough’? Why buy a new mobile/cell phone if your current phone is working fine? Why buy a bigger television for a room that hasn’t grown in size? Ask yourself if ‘more’ is actually making you ‘happier’. Then think of the waste that is being created by this voracious appetite for constant renewal of electronic gadgets. Electronic waste ends up in landfill. Some of it contains toxins that leach into the land to then enter our water systems. Space for landfill is diminishing. Landfill never goes away – it stays where it is put, preserved forever. One way of reducing this every-growing problem is to avoid e-waste as much as possible. Hold onto your electronic gadgets and look after them to ensure they last as long as possible, and if you can’t hep out by following this Flower #316, please try Flower #318.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #315 Decline Receipt Printouts

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #315 Decline Receipt Printouts

Every time you make a purchase you have an opportunity to make a difference by declining receipt printouts. Initially you’ll need to ask if the receipt is automatically printed out or not, because you can only make a difference if it is not printed out. Some vendors ask if you want it or not, yet it is still printed out and they simply toss it in the bin when you say “no thanks”. That’s not achieving much. Perhaps, in the long run, lots of people asking this question may encourage traders to program their registers to only print out receipts on request, rather than lazily accept that they always print that receipt. As the purchaser, you still have the power to discover which vendors can help you make a difference: the petrol/gas station; the supermarket; the bread shop; the greengrocer; the butcher; the dress shop – all of them. Of course, there will be occasions when you need that receipt, but if buying the vegies isn’t a tax claim, you don’t need a receipt. See how much paper and ink you can save.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #314 Free Pigs From Cages

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #314 Free Pigs From Cages


To all women: would you like to be caged while pregnant and while feeding your babies, caged so you can’t even turn around? To all men: would you like to be caged lying on one side for months on end with no ability to roll over? This is what factory farming does to pigs. This is how all of our pork and bacon is produced. Mother pigs are entrapped in cages wherein they cannot move for months. When did we decide animals were inanimate objects to do with as we pleased?
Furthermore, this type of ‘factory farming’ actually produces more waste than a small city, polluting our environment and adding to deforestation and climate change. And in a crazy twist, factory farms use more food than they produce. [source: http://www.makeitpossible.com/facts/what-is-factory-farming.php - please go to this site for lots more information.]
None of this adds up to a logical, clear thinking, forward planning human race. Let’s recognise that animals have nervous systems, they feel, they have their own level of comprehension and in the case of pigs, are most certainly intelligent – perhaps more than us. Free pigs from cages, free them from hell and let’s put the ‘e’ on the end of human and become ‘humane’.

Friday, 3 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #313 Clean Up Space Waste

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #313 Clean Up Space Waste


Would you consider it a good idea to take all your household waste, and instead of putting it out for the garbage collector, scatter it around the perimeter of your house? Keep doing this for a few years, leaving a gap to enter and exit through of course (doh! it would be silly not to), then decide how sustainable this action would be. Yes. That was a stupid idea, wasn’t it!?
Now think about the 300,000 plus pieces of waste that are floating in space around earth, accumulating there since the space race of post World War 2 began less than 70 years ago. This planet has been in existence for millions of years yet it takes the ‘intelligent’ human race less than one century to trash space around our planet. Instead of spending trillions of dollars trying to find water on the moon, how about we clean up the water we already have here? Instead of trying to find other planets to colonise, how about we stop trashing the one we already have? If we’re going to explore space, let’s find ways of doing it without trashing the space around our planet and be clever enough to ensure all pieces of equipment are returned to the earth for reuse. Let’s also insist on cleaning up the mess that has already been left in space. Furthermore, let’s ask governments to explain what they’re doing and why before spending so much money on trashing space. Or is there an elephant in the room?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #312 Clean Up Land Waste

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #312 Clean Up Land 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. It’s time to realise that when we throw something ‘away’ it doesn’t simply vanish into thin air. It doesn’t disappear. ‘Away’ is an actual place, in fact thousands of places around the world called ‘landfill’. Search the Internet for images of landfill and see how repulsive they are. Everywhere you look you can see waste – it’s the rubbish in the streets, plastic bags stuck up in trees, paper blowing around the streets, rubbish dumped in public garden spaces or on roadsides. See what waste looks like in real life, then decide it’s time to do something about it.
Participate in cleanup days – We have ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ in my country, so you check out what’s in your country. Keep your own neighbourhood tidy – if you see rubbish on the ground, pick it up and prevent it from going into waterways. Be aware of what is happening in your vicinity – is their any local industry that is creating massive waste and not dealing with it appropriately? Create an action group that encourages industry to be responsible. Find ways to reduce your own waste/rubbish/trash (whatever you call it) and be proactive in cleaning up after yourself and encouraging others to do the same.
On a larger scale, we need to do something about the landfill we’ve already created. Perhaps instead of spending money working out how to put people on Mars we should concentrate our scientific knowledge on cleaning up our own back yard – this planet we call Earth, which is already our home. We need to find ways of reusing that which we have tossed away as useless, and make it useful. Maybe it could be used to generate energy, or maybe more of it can be recycled if we put our minds to it (and our wallets). Once we concentrate our efforts, I’m sure we’ll find good answers to our problems.