Tuesday, 27 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet is moving to a new address

1000 Flowers for the Planet art installation, Manningham Gallery, Doncaster, Melbourne, Australia, 2014
by Margaret A. Rowe (part installation of 400 flowers), 1.2 x 3m


It's time to move. Due to low traffic to this site I have decided to continue this blog on my own website at:

www.margaretrowe.com.au

To those who have been following the flowers here, thank you so much for your support and I hope you'll continue checking out ways to help make this planet a better place to live by going to the above website.  There, you will also be able to see my books and art. Some of my art is specifically connected to the 1000 Flowers for the Planet art project, others are inspired by various environmental issues. I call myself a 'conscience artist' - one who reveals right from wrong in this world in which we live. I hope you'll stick with me.
Meanwhile, here are some more images of my art for your enjoyment. 
Thank you.

 Images Eleven, 30 x 30cm, 2014, Margaret A. Rowe
hand painted silk, seed stitch, beads, found objects

 Images Five, 30 x 30cm, 2015, Margaret A. Rowe
hand painted silk, seed stitch, beads, found objects

 Images Four, 30 x 30cm, 2015, Margaret A. Rowe
hand painted silk, seed stitch, beads, found objects

1000 Flowers for the Planet #101 Own Fewer Clothes, 30 x 30cm, 2014, Margaret A. Rowe
hand painted silk, wool, beads, paper, found objects

 1000 Flowers for the Planet #253 Discourage Ivory Trade, 25 x 25cm, 2013, Margaret A. Rowe
wool, paper, wood

Monday, 26 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #645 Avoid Having Tourist Photos with Animals

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #645 Avoid Having Tourist Photos with Animals


When travelling to all those wonderfully exotic places overseas it’s very easy to get drawn into having your photograph taken with a wild animal. You may think you are helping the animals by paying for the photo, or the animal keeper may insist your funds are needed to ensure the survival of these animals. But think about this. Wild animals do NOT naturally enjoy having their photograph taken with a human being. In order to keep the animals quiet so they will ‘pose’ with you, the handlers/owners may do any or all of the following things: pull out teeth so the animal cannot bite, chain the animal at night to prevent escape, keep the animal in a cramped cage, use cruel training methods to ensure they behave in a particular way, or drugs to keep them quiet while they pose with you. They have likely been taken from the wild in the first instance, and as young animals are easier to train, the mother may well have been killed in order to procure your entertainment.
Humans do need to make a living, but is it the right thing for them to do acts of animal cruelty for financial gain, and how do you fit into that picture (or should I say ‘photo’)?

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #644 Reduce Formaldehyde Exposure

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #644 Reduce Formaldehyde Exposure


Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of building materials and household products, and as it has been declared a carcinogen, reducing your exposure to it would be a good idea, as it can create health issues, with symptoms similar to cold or flu. It can cause skin irritations, wheezing, coughing and allergic reactions. In themselves, these symptoms may not be overly problematic, and formaldehyde alone may not necessarily be the cause, but reducing one’s risk is always an easy solution or preventative. Formaldehyde is used in the glues that bind together particle board, pressed wood and MDF, all of which are used in the building industry. Formaldehyde is also found in nail polish, some hair products, paints, floor finishes, wallpaper and tobacco smoke, to mention but a few. Being aware of your environment can be important to maintaining good health.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #643 Use Non-Toxic Markers

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #643 Use Non-Toxic Markers


Few people would even think about the markers used on whiteboards in schools as a possible health risk to their children. The traditional blackboard and chalk were considered a health risk to children with asthma and the change to whiteboards was supposed to be the solution. However, permanent or dry-erase markers are toxic, as are the cleaning products used in conjunction with them. They can cause health issues, including headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, congestion and tiredness. Teachers and school staff should be aware of these problems and proactive in eliminating them, as children are more susceptible to health problems from toxic chemicals than adults are. Their little growing bodies need a good start to ensure they grow up healthy. So check with your child’s teacher about the products they use in the classroom and have them purchase nontoxic (low-VOC) products.

Monday, 19 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #642 Avoid Fake Fragrances

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #642 Avoid Fake Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are a significant source of VOC exposure, so next time you consider purchasing room deodorisers, perfumes, deodorants, candles, or any other product containing a synthetic fragrance, stop and think whether you actually need it. Do you really need to add to all the other sources of VOC in your home? Are these things affecting the health of you and your family? Are there natural products you could purchase instead?
Often we purchase these things because the marketing companies have developed excellent skills at selling things to us when we don’t need them at all. Our ancestors survived without many products we now use. Why do we need them? Why are we using them? Just take a little time to rethink your purchases. You might find avoiding fake fragrances is a good choice.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #641 Use a Manual Can Opener

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #641 Use a Manual Can Opener

Two good reasons to use a manual can opener: 1) they are made from metal, not plastic, which is great for keeping plastic out of our environment and 2) they don’t use any electricity. Both reasons reduce the requirement for fossil fuels. A manual can opener is actually quicker and easier to use than an electric one. Having a metal, manual can opener in the drawer may come in very handy if the ring-pull breaks when you’re tying to open a can. It will probably last your lifetime too.

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #640 Save Franklin's Bumble Bee

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #640 Save Franklin's Bumble Bee


So many species are endangered. The Flower suggestions have pointed this out a few times over the past couple of years, beginning with Flower #1 Care for Bees. They are such an important part of our ecosystem. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List” the Franklin’s Bumblebee is critically endangered, and that spells disaster for the area where this little bee lives, which is in a small spot between southern Oregon and northern California, from the coast to the Sierra-Cascade Ranges.  According to the IUCN website [at http://support.iucnredlist.org/species/franklin%E2%80%99s-bumble-bee] “threats to this species include: exotic diseases introduced via trafficking in commercial bumble bee queens and colonies for greenhouse pollination of tomatoes; habitat loss due to destruction, degradation, conversion; and pesticides and habitat change.” You may note that all of these threats are man-made. We may not actually be able to save Franklin’s Bumblebee but we should learn from these examples. We DO have the power to change outcomes through our behaviours, which start with awareness, then spreading the word to bring people to action.

Friday, 16 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #639 Observe World Food Day

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #639 Observe World Food Day


World Food Day (16 October) is a day to focus on hunger around the world and what we can do to eradicate the problem. There is enough food to go around, particularly when you think of the amount of food wasted in developed countries – enough to feed those in developing countries. One third of the food produced around the world is lost or wasted. It’s a crime. So take today to think about how you manage your own food resources and what you can do to make things better around the world to help people who are struggling for survival and their access to healthy food. You may volunteer your time at an organisation that provides food parcels, or donate some money. Look for a World Food Day event in your area and participate. Spread the word via social media to get more people aware and on board. There is enough to go around if we use our resources more wisely, but until money is no longer the driving force, and caring for others is the driving force, we won’t all be fed equally.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #638 View Animals in the Wild

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #638 View Animals in the Wild


If you travel to places where you think the zoo might be a good attraction, think twice. Whilst there are some zoos around the world that are run very well and where the animals are cared for in the best conditions possible, there are many where the animals are still kept in concrete cages that provide little that truly attends to the welfare of the creatures contained. Animals don’t deserve to be caged simply for our viewing pleasure. Animals are best viewed in the wild, where they belong, where they can behave as nature intends them to behave. If humans think it is their right to do as they please on this planet, then it is our duty to care for all the other species with dignity and care. The actions of the many depend on leadership from each individual who has the capacity to do things differently – to do things better. Lead by example and when you take your children to see the animals of the wild, make sure they see them IN the wild, not in cages.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #637 Adopt a Hive

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #637 Adopt a Hive


Worldwide, there is a bee crisis! Bee populations are in serious decline, and if this trend continues then we could all end up suffering the consequences of a world food shortage.  Everywhere, species are being sent to extinction. We need to turn this around and every person has the power to play his or her part. These Flower suggestions were started because of declining bee populations with Flower #1 being Care for Bees, then there has been Flower #99 Plant for Bees and Flower #202 Put Up a Bumblebee House. If you think you can’t help because you don’t have a garden, think again! Adopt a hive. Check out http://adoptabeehive.com.au/ for all the information about adopting a hive in Australia, and if you live in another country, search the Internet for your own programs and share the information around. When you adopt a hive you support apiarists, help younger beekeepers learn their trade, and of course, help sustain bee populations by giving them safe places to live. It’s vital that we keep bees from extinction by supporting them in every way we can. Take an interest in your own welfare by adopting a hive and spreading the word.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #636 Recycle Your Old Car

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #636 Recycle Your Old Car


Some people keep their car until it is run into the ground. Then it comes time for that car to go to the car graveyard, but instead of having the car squished into a cube, make a little more effort to have your car recycled. There are businesses around now that will pay you for your old car, depending on its condition. They take the car away to be completely pulled apart and all the parts are recycled according to their type. It’s better than the yards where the cars are stored for people to come and find the part they need and buy it, because often in those yards unpleasant people break all kinds of useful parts on the cars without care that someone else might have been able to use it. Find a business that will conscientiously pull apart the vehicle for complete recycling, and let’s use out resources more wisely.

Monday, 12 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #635 Avoid Chinchilla

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #635 Avoid Chinchilla


Chinchillas are beautiful little furry creatures that have been trapped for their magnificent soft fur ever since ancient times, but they are being sent into extinction. The fur of the chinchilla is extremely soft and dense, making it a valuable commodity commercially, but the textile world will be the end of the species unless people avoid any items made from chinchilla fur. Apart from the threat produced by the textile industry, mankind is also encroaching on the habitat of these creatures in the wild, contributing further to their plight.  Sadly, because they are so cute and incredibly wonderful to touch, people are keeping them as pets, which only adds to the depletion of their numbers in the wild. Let’s keep these creatures as part of the ecosystem and let them live in peace where they are meant be – in the wild.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #634 Skip the Bonbonniere

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #634 Skip the Bonbonniere


Just as Flower #622 suggested children could skip the goodies bag at birthday parties, this Flower suggests adults can skip the bonbonniere at weddings. This particular occasion costs people an incredible amount of money these days, often enough to put a deposit on a house. That’s their choice. But maybe the cost to the planet can be considered for a change, and one unnecessary item is the bonbonniere. Usually this little gift left at the place setting for each guest is something inexpensive but cute or tasty; however, guests are provided with a meal and the pleasure of being a part of the bride and groom’s special day. Why should they receive gifts of any type? The bride and groom receive the gifts, so let’s get a bit of perspective and dump the idea of giving some cheap little nick-knack that will likely end up in landfill, or extra food items with more packaging for landfill. After a three or four course meal, who needs anything more to eat?
Save your money, folks, or put it towards an education fund for the children who will inherit a better planet from their parents if you look after it, starting now.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #633 Encourage Plastic-Free Farmers Markets

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #633 Encourage Plastic-Free Farmers Markets


Farmers Markets are very popular these days. You’re sure to find a local one or two, where you can access fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and other produce grown locally. You may even be meeting the farmers themselves. This is terrific for the farmers, who have good product to sell, and purchasers, who have access to fresh foods and the pleasure of supporting their fellow countrymen. Other local craftspeople add to the pleasure of the market. Attendees are often people who are mindful of where their food comes from, animal welfare rights, and their footprint on the environment
But how much plastic is being passed around? As the farmers market already does so much good for the local community, health, welfare and the planet, let’s take it an extra step and make the farmers market a plastic free environment. You may already take your own carry bags or baskets to gather your purchases but if you see plastic bags being used, why not suggest to the market organisers that they add the extra layer of environmental protection by banning plastic, even if they just start with plastic bags. It may be a good opportunity for a craftsperson to have a stand selling handmade cotton or calico bags or even an information stand where people can get ideas for how to transport their purchases. It might be the suggestion to take your own esky (cold food container) for your meat purchases. There could be a bag exchange stand where people can drop off unwanted paper bags they have gathered from commercial shopping, and those who come unprepared can go and collect a paper bag for free.
These things are really only different ways of thinking and behaving. They don’t take more effort than the bad habits we already have – they are just different habits, better habits that promote much better outcomes, such as community support, personal interaction with people you wouldn’t otherwise talk to, environmental protection from plastic waste and a healthier planet.

Friday, 9 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #632 Save the Mediterranean Cork Forests

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #632 Save the Mediterranean Cork Forests


How can the simple act of buying a bottle of wine save endangered species (both flora and fauna), preserve ancient forests, retain amazing biodiversity and help people’s livelihoods? Furthermore, how can the act of buying a bottle of wine with a cork stopper make any difference? You’ll be amazed to read it’s true – by choosing wine bottles with plastic or screw type stoppers we are damaging an ancient method of cork farming in the Mediterranean oak forests, which provide all of the aforementioned benefits. Plastic and screw type stoppers are not only hard on the environment, both to produce and as landfill, but they replace the traditional cork stopper which is sustainably grown and harvested, and which eventually will biodegrade back into the environment (if it isn’t used in recycling, which is another possibility). The World Wildlife Foundation has several projects they are driving to help the cork industry, with lots of further information for you at http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cork_oak/. Hopefully you’ll read the article to understand more fully how this simple product has intricate connections between land, wildlife, plant life and the livelihoods of many people. The site will also take you to a list of wineries supporting the oak forests (no Australian ones on the list that I can see, sadly) and you can also learn the various ways you can help. Cheers!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #631 Get Your Sustainable Seafood Guide

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #631 Get Your Sustainable Seafood Guide


Sustainable fishing around the world is something we need to aim for, and every single one of us can participate in fulfilling this goal simply by the choices we make when we purchase seafood. Here in Australia we have available to us Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, either as a pocket book, a full size printed version or even better – an app for your phone. Check it out at http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au/ and if you’re in another country, search the Internet for something in your neck of the woods. It’s important to fish our waters sustainably, and it needs to happen in every ocean, every sea and every bay, because it is all connected. There’s no use one country doing it well while another fishes out entire species. We have to act as one, and if having access to this guide helps you contribute to making this a better world, go for it.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #630 Travel With Your Own Headphones

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #630 Travel With Your Own Headphones


Single use plastic items are everywhere. When you travel you’ll find them even more evident. When flying to and from your destination, it’s always nice to be able to pop the headphones in to listen to music or watch a movie. Whilst it may be easier for the airline to provide the headphones for your listening pleasure, it is also easier for them to be thrown ‘away’ (read: ‘into landfill’) than to recycle them, due to health reasons. The headphones also usually come wrapped in plastic packaging. Avoid all this pointless waste by taking your own headphones. As many airlines charge for the supply of headphones, you’ll save money too.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #629 Travel with BYO Cutlery

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #629 Travel with BYO Cutlery

-->
Whilst on the topic of travel, this Flower suggestion is to take your own cutlery with you so that when you buy takeaway (take out) meals or fast food you can avoid some of the single use plastic waste by using your own cutlery. You will not only  know exactly where your cutlery has been and how clean it is, you will also be avoiding further contributions to plastic waste in our environment. Let’s face it, how often does plastic cutlery get recycled? Rarely. When we’re out and about, particularly in strange towns or countries, we don’t tend to put fast food rubbish into recycling bins, unless we’re in a very organised place. So take your own cutlery when you travel and remember to say “No thank you” at those fast food outlets when they go to give you single use plastic. The savings for everybody will be huge.

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #628 Travel with BYO Personal Care

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #628 Travel with BYO Personal Care


Whilst it might be easier on your personal time and energy to rely on hotel rooms to provide you with personal care products, it’s certainly not easy on the planet. These little plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soap etc contribute to landfill and plastics in our waterways and oceans. Look after the planet by travelling with your own personal care items in your wet pack, along with your bamboo toothbrush and metal comb. You don’t have to carry large containers – invest in small containers into which you can transfer product for easy carrying. This way you avoid contributing to junk being transferred into our environment.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #627 Observe World Animal Day

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #627 Observe World Animal Day


Today is World Animal Day and also marks two years since I started this project. Saving the bees was what got me started, and has led me on an intense journey of learning how badly we treat this planet, the creatures that live on this planet and each other. It is my hope that opening discussion about any and every issue will help make things better – for the environment, animals everywhere and for ourselves.
Today, however, let’s take a good hard look at how we treat the animals of the world and what we can do, because there are SO many things we can do to make things better. We can fundraise, lobby, petition, and volunteer. Whatever our age or background, there is something we can do to improve the life of animals all over the world. To mark the day there are events all across the globe. Check them out at http://www.worldanimalday.org.uk/ or check out any of the fantastic organisations that look after animals in your area such as http://www.animalsaustralia.org/  www.seashepherd.org or something else local to you. Let’s make a difference. Let’s make it happen.

Friday, 2 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #626 Observe World Farm Animals Day

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #626 Observe World Farm Animals Day


Today is World Farm Animals Day and I would like to share with you words directly from the days of the year website at https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/farm-animals-day/ because they put it so succinctly.
Farm animals are cute, and they also play an important role in modern society. Take some time to appreciate them this World Farm Animals Day. Created in memory of Ghandi, who believed in treating all living beings with respect, World Farm Animals Day was founded to highlight the poor conditions suffered by some farm animals, and promote awareness in the hope something may be done to improve their lives.
While World Farm Animals Day has an important, and sad, origin, in the sense it was created to raise awareness of suffering, it can be celebrated in different ways with children. Taking children for a visit to a farm is a great way to teach them about farm animals, and it’s a good chance to instil in them the message of treating animals with respect. Another great way to celebrate is by donating to an animal protection charity of your choice.
Let’s remember how much we rely on our farm animals for food, remember to treat them with respect and give them good lives, and be worthy of the gift of sustenance they provide.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #625 Join the Garage Sale Trail

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #625 Join the Garage Sale Trail

-->
What a great idea! In Australia we have the national Garage Sale Trail – one day put aside for everyone to organize their own garage sales and recycle their unwanted household goods. Check out the website at  https://garagesaletrail.com.au/ where all the information is at your fingertips. Local councils support the initiative, and encourage people to gather all their unused and unwanted ‘stuff’ and sell it to someone who will use it or cherish it. It’s a great way to recycle, upcycle, and share resources. Sellers can advertise their sale on the website for free and buyers can download a map to follow, indicating all the sales in their local area. Sellers get to make a bit of money, clear out their cupboards and garages and freshen their lives a bit. Purchasers get to enjoy a day out going from garage sale to garage sale, find treasures and maybe meet some neighbours they hadn’t met before. It’s a win/win situation.
Join in the resource sharing yourself and have a fun day.
(Do you have garage sale trails in your country?)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #624 Buy Bread Without Plastic

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #624 Buy Bread Without Plastic


Up until the early 1970s you could still buy your bread from the man who travelled around in the little bread van selling loaves from the back of his vehicle – full loaves or half loaves, still warm from the oven. Now we have to go to the shop to buy our bread – either the corner store, the supermarket or the bakery. Most of us buy our mass produced bread in plastic bags secured at the top with a little plastic clip, or plastic coated pieces of wire. We create a lot of plastic landfill from our bread-eating habits alone. Both the plastic bag and the plastic clip are dangerous items to let loose in the environment. Plastic bread bags are just as capable of killing marine life as any plastic carry bag from the supermarket. They float in waterways and clog up anything they come into contact with. The bread ties are lethal too, adding to the billions of tiny plastic bits we toss away during our busy lives. Whole islands of sea birds suffer from the consequences of mistaking little pieces of plastic as food for their young, who soon starve to death, their carcasses rotting away to reveal mounds of plastic where a stomach once existed. Multiply each loaf of bread you buy that generates plastic waste by the number of loaves you buy every year, multiplied by the number of people around the world who do the same – just a few?
We can change our habits and create better outcomes by taking our own container to the bakery and buying a fresh loaf, not wrapped in plastic, and put straight into the container to take home. Eliminating just two pieces of plastic from everyday life will make a huge contribution to cleaning up the planet. It’s an idea for those who want to live plastic-free lives and a worthwhile idea for those who can only cope with one change at a time. It will save resources, save money on environmental cleanups and save a lot of wildlife from ghastly deaths.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet #623 Observe Inventors Day

1000 Flowers for the Planet  #623 Observe Inventors Day


Today is Inventor’s day – well it is in Argentina. Not every country recognises Inventor’s Day, which is celebrated on different dates in various countries around the world. 29th September is the birthday of the inventor of the ballpoint pen, László József Bíró. Each country celebrates the day for a different reason and in different ways.
This flower suggestion is for all of us everywhere to celebrate inventors and their gifts to humanity, particularly those ideas that will create a better future. We need inventors, particularly as we head into the future with an awareness of how much damage is being done to the planet by our current actions. We need inventors to create sustainable energy sources, sustainable farming and building practices, ways to stop encroaching on natural habitats, ways to live in harmony with the planet – there’s a lot of work to be done. Let’s encourage more inventive thought, at every level, and take care of this planet better than ever.

Monday, 28 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #622 Skip the Goodies Bag

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #622 Skip the Goodies Bag


For a few decades it has been the norm for children to come home from birthday parties with a plastic bag full of goodies. These goodies are nearly always pieces of plastic rubbish – little items designed to take parents’ money from them in return for a little piece of plastic that entertains a child for a minute or two. What a waste of resources! Birthday parties used to be really simple events, with children having fun playing games and eating party food. It’s the birthday child who is supposed to receive the presents, so why be obliged to give every other child a gift? Children need to learn that it’s not always all about them. At a birthday party it’s about the child having the birthday. It’s good for children to learn how to focus on other people and not focus on what they get out of it for themselves. It’s the gift of giving, not receiving. So let’s give a gift to the planet by not contributing further to useless plastic waste that only ends up in landfill, or worse, the stomach of a baby albatross, and skip the goodies bag.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #621 Use a Glass or Aluminium Straw

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #621 Use a Glass or Aluminium Straw


A staggering 500 million drinking straws are used in the USA every DAY! This is an amazing statistic, and even if it were exaggerated ten-fold we would still be left with a staggering amount. This figure, when multiplied by the number of days in the years gives us 182,500,000,000 plastic straws used every year in the USA. The straw manufacturers must be wringing their hands with glee. And we haven’t even mentioned the entire rest of the world where straws are also used.
Flower #73 suggested refusing straws altogether, which is really the best idea. After all, as adults, surely we are quite capable of lifting a glass to our mouth to drink. If you’re worried about hygiene, please have a think about who has touched the tip of the straw you’re drinking from. However, many of these straws come wrapped in plastic or paper – more resources being used for a single use product, only to be tossed into landfill or allowed to escape into the environment. How many of you have seen the video on the Internet of the turtle having a straw extracted from its nostril? Not a pretty sight, was it?
Straws in the environment are a huge danger to wildlife and marine creatures. They are a waste of valuable resources, so if you haven’t got the hang of drinking out of a glass yet, then buy yourself a glass or aluminium straw that can be washed and reused as many times as you like. By having your own straw you’re also more likely to take care of it as you carry it around, and you’ll be aware of how your actions affect the environment.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #620 Use a Tiffin

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #620 Use a Tiffin


This is such a cute idea, which comes from India and other Asian countries, where family members take hot lunches to loved ones in a little carry pot. The lunch is called a Tiffin and the container a Tiffin carrier. The idea has taken off in Melbourne, Australia where an enterprising business provides hot meals delivered around the CBD in Tiffin carriers, which can be purchased outright by the end user and swapped over on a daily basis when lunch is delivered. They make the deliveries by bicycle. What a great idea!
Tiffin carriers are made from various materials, including plastic of course, but you can get all-metal tiffins if you’re living a plastic free or plastic ‘less’ life. They make a fantastic alternative to most other takeaway lunch containers, which are usually made of single use plastic – using fossil resources and creating plastic waste and landfill. See how a Tiffin carrier could fit into your life.

Friday, 25 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #619 Set Up Office Recycling

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #619 Set Up Office Recycling


Many of us recycle at home as a matter of course – the council provides us with recycling collections so we use them. But it’s surprising how many offices don’t take the simplest of recycling actions. There are a few things you can do to get this started at your place of employment. Always make sure the admin areas have boxes to collect waste paper for recycling and ensure it goes into the correct collection bin. Add some other recycling methods to the staff kitchen or canteen area – have two bins, each labelled, one with the word ‘recycling’ and the other with the word ‘landfill’. These visuals will help people associate their actions with a consequence and improve their behaviour. See if someone is interested in taking home (appropriate) food scraps to add to their compost or feed their chickens.
You could even take office recycling further by having different people be responsible for different types of recycling collections. Someone could be responsible for ensuring batteries are taken to the correct recycling drop off point instead of going in the bin and subsequently to landfill where they can do a lot of toxic damage to the environment. Someone else could be responsible for soft plastics, or packaging waste, or metal waste, or whatever your company produces – have a brain storming session to see how you can collectively help the environment, then be sure to put your plans in action.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #618 Brew Your Own Beer

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #618 Brew Your Own Beer


Another great grass-roots idea that helps the planet in a few ways is to brew your own beer. There are many sites on the Internet to help you with the process, and shops in the ‘real’ world to buy the supplies and chat with likeminded people to get ideas and problem solve. By brewing your own beer you will be recycling the same bottles over and over, which means you don’t continually use new resources, which is what you’d be doing if you bought beer from a retailer on a regular basis. Brewing your own beer is cost effective, plus you have control over the ingredients. But the biggest benefits to the planet are keeping resources out of landfill and not contributing to the energy required to constantly recycle materials. It might also be lots of fun!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #617 Beware Those Receipts

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #617 Beware Those Receipts


Do you like the feel of that receipt paper that comes with all your purchases? It’s nice and smooth – lovely to rub your fingers across. Sadly it is paper coated with BPA, a type of plastic that was used to make baby products, sippy cups and reusable water bottles, for example, but which has subsequently been phased out from those products. The health effects of BPA have been questioned, and although caution has been taken in some areas of its use, such as baby products, it can still be found in many places. Receipts are just one of those places, and there are investigations into the effects of these little strips of information on shop assistants who handle them all day in their workplace. It’s thought the chemical may be absorbed through the skin.
Even if we put health issues aside, the fact that BPA exists as a coating on our receipts means they cannot be recycled. Have you been putting them in the recycling thinking you were doing the right thing? Shouldn’t do it. The BPA contaminates recycled paper products. You have to throw them away – that means you have to throw them into landfill.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #616 Observe World Car-Free Day

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #616 Observe World Car-Free Day


Today is World Car-Free Day – a day when we can all make an effort to leave the car at home and move around in different ways. Maybe you could walk to work, or catch the train, bus or tram. Maybe you could work from home, as the Internet has opened up this avenue to so many workers these days. Maybe you could sit down and work out ways to use your car less during the week, by bundling your errands and planning your requirements (see Flower #40 Drive Smart – Bundle Errands). Walk the children to school instead of jumping into that oversized SUV, actually listen to what they have to say as you walk along, and spend some quality time with them. Decide to stay at home for the day and catch up on some chores or paperwork, or plan a slow cooked meal for the family to enjoy. Free yourself from the car for a day and see how well you actually cope, and how different you feel, then take the next step and extend the idea into the rest of your life. The benefits to the planet are obvious: less fossil fuel being used, less pollution, less congestion on the roads, better health through walking, more time with family, less stress. Give it a go on World Car-Free Day.

Monday, 21 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #615 Observe World Gratitude Day

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #615 Observe World Gratitude Day

-->
Today is World Gratitude Day. The celebration started in 1965 in Hawaii when an international gathering decided that it would be a good idea to have one day per year to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things to be found in the world. The hope of the founders of Gratitude Day is that by taking time, one day a year, to reflect on the many amazing things we have in our lives, it would positively impact our well-being and make us happier, more contented people. If the majority of us concentrated on gratitude, there might be less conflict, and the world would be a far better place. Take time today to think about what you’re grateful for.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #614 Bring Back Glass Bottles

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #614 Bring Back Glass Bottles


There was a time when we had our milk delivered by the milkman, in glass bottles. We could also have soft drinks (soda) delivered by the crate – in glass bottles. We got our water from the tap, so we never needed bottles, plastic or glass, for that. If we could do it before, we can do it again. Imagine how much plastic could be kept from landfill if these drinks came in glass bottles. Instead of spending time and energy on recycling plastic bottles our energies could be transferred across to sterilising glass bottles. Once the bottle is manufactured in glass it already exists and can be used over and over and over. If breakage and safety are cited as reasons why we shouldn’t use glass, then let’s grow up and learn how to handle things with care. Children can also be taught how to handle with care. Glass is 100% recyclable, so any breakages could be put through a recycling program. Let’s push to bring back the glass bottle and keep plastic out of our environment.