Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Car Tyres

I bought my first set of 'environmentally conscious' tyres for my car the other day! I don't know if it is greenwash, but I have looked into 'environmentally appropriate' car tyres and found that tyres with a silica compound content are more environmentally 'sustainable' tyres.

The tyres are apparently more appropriate because they result in a better fuel consumption and thus less emissions and less resource required. They do this somehow through lower rolling resistance (not a car type person really but these are the words they use). These tyres do however still need to be maintained (right tyre pressure, etc) to ensure that you reap these rewards.

The brand of tyre I bought cost no more than a medium-expensive brand tyre, but apparently if you do chose a more renown brand of tyre the cost difference will be re-paid over the life of the tyre.

Let's see how they far so good.
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Indigenous Weather Knowledge

I have just come across a website linked to the Bureau of Meteorology's webpage called "Indigenous Weather Knowledge". It sounded very intriguing. The link is:

It appears only to have information for the Northern Territory at the moment. I don't know whether there will be additional information posted for the rest of the country at a future time, but certainly something to look into, as I haven't really even thought about this previously...well, not under the title of "weather knowledge". Pin It

Australia v Japan

Apparently the Australian government will be taking Japan to the International Courts to 'discuss' the legalities of the Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean. I think it is on the premise that they are in fact taking too making whales than can be justified for scientific purpose and they are undertaking a commercial activity.

At present can't find a lot of information on the case and don't know whether the proceedings have actually started.

Keep you posted. Pin It

Monday, June 21, 2010

Climate Smart Home Inspection

Well I have finally had my climate smart house inspection. For my $50 investment I had a very friendly elderly gentleman come and visit my house and install a wireless energy meter and a couple of energy saving light bulbs. Certainly the wireless energy meter is the reason that I requested the inspection. It has certainly provided some indication of the appliances that chew up the energy...anything with a heating element...the kettle, the electric heaters, etc.

I am surprised at the small amount of energy that the reverse cycle air-conditioner in my toddler's room uses, as well as the again small amount of electricity the additional fridge & chest freezer in the garage use. These three appliances were the ones that I felt would be definitely would be shovelling money into a deep chasm never to pay for their existence. And in turn convince my other half that they needed to go (well at least the fridge/freezers in the garage). The Climate Smart inspector informed me that the second fridge/freezers usually don't consume a significant amount of electricity because they aren't opened as often as the fridge in your kitchen and thus just maintain themselves rather what your kitchen fridge does which is forever replacing the warm air that you let in when you open and close it and thus use more electricity. Your kettle and electric heaters on the other hand, seem to be the appliances to get rid of in terms of their kwh usage.

Well, I am now certainly more aware of the energy footprint that we have....let's see what we can do to adjust it. Pin It

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pumpkins continue

Well, the pumpkin patch continues. I have over the last few weeks felt a little taken over by my pumpkin vines. They have been occupying one and half of my three vegetable patches. Both areas were being productive since I have undertaken the flower fertilisation myself but I was wanting to plant different veggies and the actual pumpkins seem to be taking forever to mature.

After a little bit of research, I have discovered that pumpkins take about 3-4 months to mature on the vine. They are ready once the connecting vine starts to die away. Unfortunately I don't have the patience and decided to cull the majority of the vines. I decided to pull out the vines with the most 'mature' pumpkins and see whether they are ok and then utilise the space to plant some of the veggie seeds I had pre-grown.

Aaaaahhhhhh, a weight has been lifted and with the new veggies I am looking forward to feeling a little more vigour for the veggie patch and the work it can take. Pin It

Friday, June 11, 2010

Public transport

I got out and about in town today and decided to use some of Brisbane's public transport options. Public transport is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint. Sitting in a never ending traffic jam pumping emissions into the atmosphere as you go nowhere is not the best for the environment and neither is travelling alone in your car, no matter what kind of car you have.

Public transport does still have an environmental footprint but because you share this experience with others it works out to be less. You are also likely to save some money as well...less wear and tear on the car, less servicing, less petrol, maybe even reduced parking costs. Depending where you live you may have better public transport options than others. Convenience certainly comes into the decision making process, but this shouldn't be the only factor.

So next time you're heading into town or just down to your local shops have a look into your public transport options. You might be pleasantly surprised and once you're on the train/bus/tram, etc you may feel a little better about the choices you have made and the fact that you're making a difference to your local environment. Pin It

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Recycling...what can you include in your wheelie bin?

What can you truly include in your recycling bin that the Council collects every week or maybe ever second week? To me it is becoming more and more confusing. There are the obvious things that you can recycle like paper, cardboard and plastic bottles. But there are a number of items that people are putting into their recycling bin that they shouldn't, for example, plastic shopping bags.

Other items not to include in your recycling bin:

  • lids for all containers, including plastic bottles....remove these before you put them into the recycling bin
  • light bulbs
  • food scraps
  • ceramics
  • ovenware

But what you can recycle really depends on what your local Council will accept. Have a look at your local government's website for more information about what is acceptable for collection. Pin It

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Flying-fox relocation - Sydney

Currently there is a colony of flying-foxes currently calling the Sydney Botanic Gardens home. According to the news tonight the botanic gardens is planning on relocating these flying-foxes. They are currently tagging them and then plan on booming out large amounts of industrial noise when they leave the roost for their night-time foraging. This noise aimed at disturbing the bats enough that they won't want to return to the botanic gardens and get them to seek out 'more appropriate' digs. Certainly will be interesting to see whether this approach will have any success.

It is important to remember that there is little suitable habitat left for them to roost in in many urban areas and apparently there is also a shortage of food around at the moment. Surely this has got to mean that the bats are less likely to move on from a place that has reliable and suitable food and a place to hang out during the day, but hey I'm no expert. Pin It

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tornado in Lennox Heads

Can you believe there was a tornado in Lennox Heads, Northern NSW today? This to me is amazing, it isn't even typical cyclone season. Apparently it only last for about a minute but caused a lot of devastation.

What is the cause???? Climate change comes to mind, but whether this is actually the cause I don't know. Pin It

Removal of pesticides from food

Following on from one of my previous posts, my basic research indicated that just rinsing your fruit and vegetables is not enough to remove some of the more harmful 'toxins' (pesticides/herbicides). One page that I have just come across suggests a combination of water, white vinegar, baking soda and grapefruit seed extract combined and then sprayed onto the fruit and vegetable and left for an hour or two prior to rinsing.

Sounds like a major effort, which I guess is expected, but I wouldn't have a clue where to get grapefruit seed extract. Let's see if I can find a more practical solution. is a more basic approach that I have since found combine 1 lemon, 2 tbsp of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water. Spray this onto your fruit & veggies and then rinse off, apparently this is a more basic recipe but is likely to remove pesticides from fruit/vegetables for household consumption. I wonder if it will change the taste of the products. Have to give it a go. Pin It

Solar rights

I have just been reading an old volume of the ABC's Organic Gardening magazine. The editorial was discussing rights to access solar energy. I really hadn't thought about this prior to reading this. It is however something that perhaps we all need to consider.

The article was discussing the significant increase in the number of households that were installing solar panels. I too have considered getting some, with my parents actually investing in a small number of solar panels that's cost were fairly well covered through the governments' current rebate programs. But the point the article was making was that your rights to access solar energy is no guaranteed under any planning law in Australia at present. That is, if your neighbour decides to construct a structure or building that ends up shading your solar panels and you can no longer generate solar power, there are currently no laws to support your rights to the previously available solar energy. So potentially all your financial investment becomes worthless and you may potentially need to re-invest in less sustainable energy options.

I thought this was unbelievable. I am hoping this is just a matter of legislation catching up with reality. Once governments, particularly local governments, becoming aware of this issue, particularly with the increasing presence of these panels in the suburbs, hopefully they have the balls to amend their planning legislation/policy to support the proactive person in the attempt to become more environmentally sustainable rather than some of the typically short-sighted decisions that are made in this development forum.

Something to consider if you're considering installing solar panels or perhaps encourage you to campaign your local government to protect your solar rights. Pin It

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

World Environment Day

World Environment Day is on the 5th June. This year's theme is: Many Species, One Planet, One Future. The United Nations Environment Program website has additional information about activities people are holding, suggestions of how you can celebrate the day, how to register your World Environment Day activities and a number of relevant factsheets. Their website is: . I thought one of the interesting things you can do on the website is the 'name a baby gorilla' voting section under the 'celebrate WED' header. There are four names from which you can choose and basically your vote will help decide names for two baby gorillas in Rwanda. Too cute!

I know that Logan City Council is holding the Logan Eco Action Festival, here in the Greater Brisbane area. This will have all sorts of speakers, activities for keen gardeners and children and yummy food.

Hope you enjoy your World Environment Day. Love to hear what you get up to to celebrate this annual event. Pin It