Saturday, July 24, 2010

Revised BP logo competition

Just came across a Greenpeace campaign to have people re-design the BP logo. Some of the logos that people have come up with are very effective, whilst others are amusing.

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Get up - community action

I have been a 'member' or interested public participant in the Get Up ogranisation for a little while now. Mostly just get their emails, see what their up to and vote on actions I support when something comes up. Great place for information that seems to support my morals and life direction. Great place to start your action without a lot of effort.

You can get more information about them and their campaigns on their website, which is From there you will see whether it suits you and whether you'd also like to sign up for their emails and maybe participate in their program of action.

Some of the campaigns that they are interested in:
  • easier access to enrolment for voting
  • refugees
  • climate change
  • native forests
  • internet censorship
  • paid maternity leave
  • mental illness, etc
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Found a cool book club

I was just looking at the David Suzuki Foundation website ( and found that they have a book club ( The exciting part about this is that it isn't just any book club. It is a book club that reads books that I think I would actually be interested in. For example,

  • Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming
  • Less is More: embracing simplicity for a healthy planet, a caring economy and lasting happiness.

Cool titles and something that will help me learn about myself, the planet and how I can improve my bond with the world. I have signed up as a member and let you know when the next book is nominated.
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What is desertification? I have heard the term but really don't know what it means. From my reading it is where dryland used for agriculture and other purposes loses its economic and biological productivity and usually results from climatic variability (change) or unsustainable human practices.

Some of you might now be wondering...'what are drylands'? Well, these are lands that can be productive with limited input from irrigation or natural precipitation. This does not however mean that they are resilient and can remain productive with no or limited rain, it means that they are adapted to a particular level of natural precipitation or human intervention and when this changes they are no longer productive.

I have heard this term mostly associated with Africa and I would like to learn more about the causes of this situation both in Africa and in other locations. Pin It

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Opportunities missed?

I have been dealing with a number of issues in my professional life lately and feel that opportunities I might have usually taken or would have been given to me previously are passing me by. But overall I believe that I am comfortable in the decisions that I am making. Decisions in recent instances have been for both selfish reasons, but also reasons that I think will ensure my child is a better person as a result of these decisions.

I was just reading another blog about doormats (people being doormats that is) or more precisely 'how to be a nice person without coming last'. The blog was quite uplifting for me in my current situation and spoke about if you close the door on a particular instance, be that professional or personal, more opportunities are likely to come your way as closing the door gives you more room in your life to open other doors or have them opened for you.

Well, I am looking forward to new opportunities. Bring on the peace and happiness in myself and my life.

Sorry the details are scant...but didn't want to truly bore you with the detail. Just felt like purging and why not do that on an open forum such as this blog. :) Pin It

Monday, July 19, 2010

What is coal seam gas?

Well I have heard a lot about coal seam gas in the news lately and around the rural traps but don't actually know anything about it.

After a little bit of research, here is what I have found:

What is coal seam gas? - it is a methane that is associated with coal. The gas is released from the coal seam when the pressure is reduced, usually through the extraction of the water associated with these coal seams.

Why is it important? - it is an energy source, similar to natural gas (only difference is where gas is stored naturally, apparently natural gas is associated with sandstone or similar rock).

Some of the reported potential environmental impact? - water with undesirable concentrations of dissolved substances (not sure what the substances are though), depression of aquifers. Pin It

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I currently have some broccoli growing in my veggie patch. It is going really well. We have significantly trimmed the hedge that shelters the veggie patch during this time of year and before I put the latest round of seedlings in I pumped quite a lot of chicken manure into the ground as slow-release fertiliser.

The reason though for my post is because I have been fascinated at the water repellent qualities of broccoli leaves. When watering the veggies most of the veggies I have in my garden retain water droplets on their leaves after finishing watering, but not broccoli. Broccoli leaves immediately bead water and then it rolls off the leaves.

It is fascinating (well at least to me) and it certainly has made me wonder why broccoli has evolved this ability. The silver-grey leaves and water droplets are beautiful in the winter afternoon sun. Keeps me entertained.

Anyway, let's hope the broccoli manages to produce a good crop. Keep you informed. Pin It

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ship found at Ground Zero (New York)

I just came across a news piece saying that construction workers in the Ground Zero reconstruction works in New York have just discovered part of a 18th century sailing ship. How cool!

Apparently it was purposefully placed there as part of extension works on the shore of Manhattan Island, basically landfill to allow them to build New York. Currently archaeologists are undertaking examinations of the ship to gain more information, but by the sound of things this will be all that happens with the ship and the construction process will continue.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Death of the founder of Greenpeace

Jim Bohlen died aged 84 in early July this year.

Jim apparently was the one of the initiators of the original Green peace movement. The movement evolved from Jim and a number of supporters/like minded people planning to sail to the Aleutian Islands to directly protest against the use of nuclear weapons in the 1960s. Apparently this wasn't 'mission' wasn't successful, but led to numerous other campaigns protesting against other incidents of nuclear weapons testing, Icelandic whaling in Atlantic and the construction of the base camp in Antarctica.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

NZ Whaling Activist

The NZ Whaling activist, Peter Bethune, that was arrested during the last Sea Shepherd season in the southern Ocean has been deported from Japan after being given a suspended suspense for illegally boarding a Japanese whaling boat (as reported by ABC website).

An interesting outcome. I actually suspected that he would get the 'book thrown at him'. Really more like it was swept under the carpet. In the end he only served a total of 4 months in a Japanese prison. Pin It

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Final product....pumpkins

Well despite the overload of vines that I had in my veggie patch and felt like a weight on my shoulders. The finished product, that is the pumpkins, were tasty and looked pretty damn fantastic too (if I do say so myself).

Here is one of said pumpkins....

My remaining vines have three fruit still ripening. The vines themselves are looking a little scrappy, so I suspect I will be having some form of pumpkin for dinner in the next few weeks. Yum yum! Pin It

Friday, July 9, 2010

Climate Smart Home efficient light bulbs

Just thought I would post that I am not too impressed with the couple of energy efficient light bulbs that my Climate Smart Home inspector put into the few light bulb fittings in my house that weren't already this format. The one in the hallway that he put in seems to take 'forever' to illuminate. So much so that I actually generally double take back to the light switch because I don't think I have actually turned it on. However, the light starts to glow just as I re-reach for the light switch and reminds me that it wasn't me it was just the light bulb taking forever to glow.

Not sure whether this is the brand/type etc of energy efficient light bulb that they have put in, but none of my other ones in my house have this delay. It is just bugging me a bit. Pin It

Is investing in residential solar power worth it?

Presently we have a gas hot water system and because this isn't an electricity consuming appliance I haven't really entered into the whole debate as to whether it would be better (both financially and/or environmentally) to invest in solar power/hot water. However, today a plumber informed me that my gas hot water system is soon to crumble and die, so I thought now is the time to start to think about it.

My primary concern is that if I invest what to me is a significant amount of money into this residential solar technology, will I still have to 'pay' for electricity. I understand that I would still get an electricity bill because my solar panels will just in effect be feeding into the grid and not actually providing me the electricity directly. However will the amount of energy I pump into the grid offset the amount that I take from the grid, given the loading times and different tariffs for those times. That is, I will be generating most power during the day and taking most power during the mornings and evenings, so my generated solar power would in effect have to be greater than the amount I take from the grid to negate the difference in tariff rate.

Anyone, know whether it is financially appropriate to think solar for the investment you have to make or am I better off investing in a new on-demand gas hot water system?

I guess my thoughts are I have happy to some degree to make a significant outlay to purchase a solar electricity system but don't also want to still be slugged with a significant electricity bill each quarter. Pin It

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Animals in your backyard

Do you know what native animals visit your back yard? I have a small to medium sized block in the northern suburbs of Brisbane and I am amazed at the number of species that do frequent my backyard throughout the year.

Here is an initial list of species that I know have visited my backyard over the last five years:
  • Australian magpie
  • Southern boobook
  • Little wattlebird
  • Silvereyes
  • Brown honeyeater
  • Scaly-breasted lorikeet
  • Rainbow lorikeet
  • Green tree frog
  • Laughing kookaburra
  • Torresian crow (a lot of them)
  • Australian white ibis
  • Azure kingfisher
  • Black-faced cuckoo-shrike
  • Blue-faced honeyeater
  • Crested pigeon
  • Figbird
  • Magpie-lark
  • Noisy miner
  • Pied butcherbird
  • Spangled drongo
  • Sulphur-crested cockatoo
  • Pheasant coucal
  • White-faced heron
  • Eastern reef egret
  • Willie wagtail
  • Blue-tongued lizard
Nasty pest species that come and visit my backyard all too often:
  • Common myna
  • Cane toad
  • Feral pigeon (or rock dove)
  • Spotted dove

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Recycling numbers...what do they mean?

Many of the plastics and products that we all have in our kitchen and around the house have the chasing arrow recyclable symbols with numbers on them. But what do they mean?

Well, I have looked into it and here is an explanation:

1 (PETE) -Poly(ethylene terephthalate) - soft drink bottles, etc
2 (HDPE) - High-density Polyethylene - containers for milk, laundry powders, softeners, etc
3 (V) - Poly(vinyl cloride) - pipes, shower curtains, baby bottle nipples, etc
4 (LDPE)- Low-density Polyethylene - plastic wrap, plastic bags, etc
5 (PP)- Polypropylene - nappies, plastic containers
6 (PS) - Polystyrene - disposable cutlery, cups, meat trays, etc.
7 (Other) - other - who know what this is?

What can you truly recycle in your weekly recycling bin picked up by your local Council?

Apparently according to Choice magazine, most Council accepts products marked as either 1 or 2. Choice also indicates that quite often all the rest of the recyclable plastics (3-7) are bundled together and reproceesed overseas.

What can't be recycled:
The following are some unacceptable recyclables, even though they’re made of recyclable plastic.

  • A high-density polyethylene (HDPE) container if it has carried a hazardous substance.
  • Plastic shopping bags, low density polyethylene (LDPE) packaging film, small bits of polystyrene packaging. This lightweight packaging is likely to get blown out and contaminate the paper stream in the MRF, unless the facility is fully automated and uses optical laser sorting technology.
  • Plastic bottle lids. They’re generally made of different plastic from the container and may fall through the holes in the sorting cylinder (trommel), or create air pressure in a closed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle when it’s compressed, so that when the bottles pop open, the bales can fall apart. However, because they’re a valuable source of recyclable plastic, some MRF operators now advise recycling plastic lids, as optical sorters can deal with the different plastics issue – so follow your council’s advice.
More information about your local Council's situation can be found at:

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Don't tie up your garbage bags!

A friend of mine has currently been spending a lot of time at the refuse transfer stations around Brisbane for reasons that remain a little foggy. But despite his new odour (just kidding) he has some insight into what happens to our 'normal' rubbish after it is collected by the rubbish truck each week.

Upon taking our rubbish from our wheelie bins it goes to a transfer station where our rubbish is sorted. Seriously! I just didn't think that would ever happen. All the stuff that goes into our bins I thought that it would all be taken immediately to a large hole in the ground, compacted and then covered over. But no! It is sorted into products that can be reclaimed, recycled, composted, etc. I find this amazing!

The moral of the story is thus, don't tie up the plastic bags you put your household waste before you place them into your wheelie bins! Why you ask? This is because if your garbage bag is tied, then the products in the plastic bag are generally less likely to be sorted into their appropriate waste streams (recycling, reclaiming, composting or landfill) and just end up going straight to that landfill stream. So if you leave your bags untied the contents can escape and be appropriately sorted. Pin It