Change the World Wednesday – 27th Aug

Funny-Taco-Bell-01-300x300

The reputation

I am pleased to report, Montezuma has had his revenge and gone back to Mexico. Not sure if he’s actually from Mexico, but I have always made the connection… maybe that’s the influence of Taco Bell’s reputation.

I have been testing my water by boiling, it’s okay to drink, so I have stopped buying my water.

Birthday week BBQs planned for Friday and Saturday, trying to do it green.

So far I have homemade pickled onions and beetroot. Today looks like it will be the day (no sun) to make chimichurri and sauerkraut. Cheaper and greener than buying.

I still have serving problem for Saturday. I don’t have many plates or eating tools.

Made two jars of pickled beetroot on Monday

It’s going to be a busy week.

But it’s fun to do it once a year.

Friday BBQ at the bar, and Saturday for the family.

Onward, this week’s CTWW is about listening.

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This week, spend 15 minutes listening to the sounds in your area. You may wish to sit quietly in your home or out in nature. Perhaps you want to find out what noises you hear in a shopping mall or on a busy street. As you listen, try to hear the sounds of nature. Can you hear them or are they drowned out by man-made noise? The idea, this week, is to simply listen and identify sounds.

Our praça is not a very quiet place, we have quite a bit of traffic, and the kids playground is in front of the house, so any wildlife is scared away. There is also a casarão (big house) being built on the side street, alot of construction noise from that. I have a fox terrier, Mary Jane, on one side and another dog on the right, at times it’s dogs in stereo.

So we suffer from urban noise pollution.

A dead bat in the praça yesterday

A dead bat in the praça yesterday

But we do have some birds and bats.

One of them died and finished up in the rubbish collection. It’s the first time I have seen on of them apart from flitting through the trees at dusk.

The most common bird is the bem-ti-vi (great kiskadee – Pitangus sulphuratus) with it’s distinctive call, hence its name. Bem-ti-vi means nice-to-see-you.

Bem-ti-vi

Bem-ti-vi

Another common visitor to the praça is this little brown and white fellow.

2725783-173404-1280

Viuvinha – Arundicola leucocephala

Don’t know the name of this one. (see update)

We also have hummingbirds, and yesterday I heard parrots screeching overhead which is rare.

But I often sit in the praça just to observe, observing includes listening.

Very relaxing, and a pasttime that I recommend.

UPDATE

The bird is a freirinha (little nun) Arundicola leucocephala or viuvinha (little widow), goes by both names.

Having a beer at the botequim (bar) is educational.

Here’s a photo of our praça

Our praça from in front of my gate

Our praça from the playground in front of my gate

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Simple Green Ideas

The days of newspapers is almost gone.

We don't have stacks like this any more

We don’t have stacks like this any more

But newsprint still finds its way into our homes, one way or another.

Most responsible people recycle, but there is another use.

The best window washer ever invented

The best window washer ever invented

Yes, a crumpled ball of newspaper makes the most efficient window washer, and a dry ball the most effective drier.

You don’t need a commercial solution, just soapy water and newspaper.

 

Nature Ramble

Turning back the clock.

Most of us, at least in my generation (read: old) remember a carefree childhood. One where we could wander at will and see nature.

But the intervening years have taken a toll on ‘carefree’.

Today, with industries encroaching on our lands we need more green spaces where we can be at one with nature.

Walking England’s new coast path: sea and skylarks in the north-east

Following Wales’s lead, England is opening a national coastal path. The first section, in the post-industrial north-east, makes a captivating two-day walk

End of the pier show … Chris Moss, on the left, at Steetly Pier on North Sands beach. Photograph: Kate Miller

Which do you like best: skylarks or racing pigeons? Coal-stained “black beaches” or white sandy ones? Kebabs or haute cuisine?

On the new coast path between Hartlepool, County Durham, and Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, the great thing is that you don’t have to choose. The route, which starts in North Gare beach by the mouth of the Tees and ends 34 miles to the north on the other side of the Wear, is either the ultimate in post-industrial flaneuring, or psycho-geographical “edgelanding” (exploring the boundaries where urban meets rural) – in other words going for a walk in the kind of landscape many of us grew up in.

“Eventually, this path will be part of a 4,500km [2,796 miles] England Coast Path,” said Andrew Best of Natural England, joining me and a friend for the walk. “We chose this area for the first stretch because the local authorities were really up for it – and it’s fascinating but under-explored.”

We set off on a glorious day from a car park at North Gare. Before facing north to follow the new ECP signs along the coast, we looked back towards EDF’s two nuclear power stations, the Seal Sands oil terminal and a landfill site. There’s still plenty of working industry in the north-east, but when we turned around we were looking over recovering grasslands, with redshanks, blackcaps and butterflies flickering all about. Every few metres a skylark ascended, emitting its busy call.

The walk into Hartlepool was flat and easy. Seaton Carew looked like a seaside town stuck somewhere between a quaint past and a future with potential. A new promenade was busy with pram-pushers, mobility scooters and dog-walkers.

 

Everyone smiled and said hello. An old deco-style lido was crying out for a posh cafe and a spot of gentrification.

At Hartlepool railway station we stopped for refreshment at the Rat Race, a lovely micro pub serving real ales (“924 beers since November 2009”), Belgian beers, and posh crisps. Skirting the pleasant harbour – and some less pleasant strip malls and dual carriageways – we came to a suburb called Headland, which lives up to its name geographically, and is the site of a statue commemorating much-loved sexist, beer-swilling comic-strip layabout Andy Capp.

Beside him stands Saint Andrew’s church, converted into the beautiful Mary Rowntree restaurant in 2012, and serving thinly battered fish and thrice-fried chips, with fine wines and even finer mushy peas.

After Headland we were on Durham’s Heritage Coast, established in the late 1990s after the closure of the collieries to beautify the area and protect the magnesian limestone cliffs, unique to the region. The official path currently meanders through development land so we opted to walk via North Sands beach – easy enough at low tide – and enjoy a plodge (paddle) on the way. Wood-framed Steetley Pier sticks far out, a remnant of the magnesite industry that is now used by fishermen brave enough to clamber up its rotting legs. A little farther along was a fenced-in nesting area for little terns, a rare breed on these shores. Just beneath it a ringed plover was scouring a stream for food.

Source: TheGuardian Read and see more

 

Satireday on Eco-Crap

ChimpsStupidPeople

Make you Fink on Friday

Creepy crawlies

Creepy crawlies

There have been suggestions recently that we may have to look for other food sources like insect and creepy crawlies.

The idea doesn’t appeal to me one little bit.

But, the Chinese and other Asian countries do.

Grub’s up: maggots and crickets on menu at Britain’s first ‘pestaurant’

Rentokil crawls into street food arena with cheesy worms, insect lollipops and pigeon burgers, specially farmed for intrepid diners

An insect pick’n’mix bag at Rentokil’s Pestaurant, in London. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex

David Cross started out studying the behaviour of the American cockroach, moved on to managing the population of the great spruce bark beetle, before finally settling on a career exterminating flies, cockroaches, spiders, wasps, ants, moths, fleas and woodworm. Ask him his least favourite pest and he looks blank.

He’ll admit, however, to a particular affection for the flour beetle (“it’s something that you develop a bit of respect for”), and “rats and mice will always be posing some interesting and quite complex challenge for you”.

Everything has its limits though, and for the head of Rentokil’s technical training academy, the plain roasted buffalo worms were proving a step too far. “Yeah, I’m not so keen on them. If you are just eating the dry insects you can get a bit of exoskeleton stuck in the back of the throat. You need a drink of water after that.”

Lunchtime in the City, and a pop-up with a difference: Pestaurant, run by Britain’s best-known extermination brand, which aims to interpret the popularity of street food in its most literal sense. On the menu: salt & vinegar crickets, plain roasted locusts, crispy BBQ mealworms and something called an “early bird breakfast pie”, featuring six sausages, eight rashers of smoky bacon and “30g bamboo or buffalo worms”.

A Pestaurant chef shows off their sweet chilli pigeon burgers, garnished with cheddar cheese mealworms. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex

The stall may have been temporary, but several of the key ingredients, it turned out, are Rentokil regulars. Mealworms, favourites of pet reptiles and fish, can also cause serious infestation problems for flour mills and grain producers, and even for those unfortunate homes that already have a bird population. Crickets can also be a domestic problem, though happily, said Cross, only certain types will occupy a building in numbers.

The company also finds itself regularly engaged in a battle against pigeons which, minced in a burger with venison, bacon and sweet chilli, were proving a particularly hot draw at the city centre stall. (One of the weapons open to pest controllers, if nets and spikes prove ineffective, is to coat surfaces with a “chilli-based gel” which sticks to their feet, and sounds barely less appealing than any number of local chicken takeaways.)

But the dishes on offer were “absolutely not” the fruits of the company’s labours, said Cross quickly — the burgers were of finest wood pigeon, while the bugs had all been farmed specifically for human consumption.

By 1pm, a small crowd of lunch-hour diners was hovering, some giggling nervously, some ostentatiously picking fingerfuls of tiny bugs with the texture of puffed rice and gulping them down, many simply heading for the free pigeon burgers, which didn’t sound too scary, surely?

“Mmm, how nice does that look?” said Alex Campbell, picking up a plain roasted cricket, just big enough for its legs and wings to be clearly discernible. Did he think so? “No, it looks absolutely disgusting.” He gulped it down confidently. The verdict? “Tastes like nuts to be honest.”

Insect lollipops at Pestaurant. Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex

“I like the buffalo worms,” said Peter Hannah, judging them “kind of crispy, a little salty, not a lot of flavour”

Source: TheGuardian Read more

Opinion:

Thanks, but no thanks.

Change the World Wednesday – 20th Aug

watertapWater

Water has often been the subject on CTWW, it is a valuable commodity, one that we need to survive; without water any man, community or country has three days before they are dead. That makes it a tad more than important.

The first world take it for granted, you turn on the tap and cool clear water comes out; right?

Well, I have always subscribed to this theory, and even though I have spent the last 22 years in third world countries that has generally been true in urban areas aslo.

Until now.

MontezumaRunIn the last two months I have suffered two serious bouts of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Not funny. In fact, it’s enought to give you the shits.

Both bouts stretched over eight days, with terrible cramps and diarrhea.

The common denominator, drinking tap water from my kitchen tap. There is obviously a problem with my roof tank that I have to get seen to.

Now I am pretty ‘water conscious’. I conserve water (three-minute showers, etc), I save water (rain), I reuse water (grey water).

I drink sparkling mineral water in place of soft drinks (soda) and commercial fruit juice. I won’t have them in the house because they pure poison and one of the greatest causes of obesity. Here’s a thought, did you know that Zero Coke is more fattening that normal Coke?

20 litre (5 gal) carrafes

20 litre (5 gal) carrafes

To combat this problem, I have had to restort to buying my water.  I hate the thought of buying a comodity that should be free.

I have always been against buying water, unless it is sparkling mineral water.

But recently, with my own experience of swtiching to sparkling mineral water, I have begun to wonder that water may well be a healthier buy than soft drinks full of poison.

I am buying 20 litre carrafes that are returnable, rather than single serve or 1.5 litre bottles. So even with my current dire needs, I am looking out for what is best for the planet.

Hopefully, I can resolve this problem in short time.

This is an abomination!

This is an abomination!

I am, however, totally against water being bottled, trucked, shipped and flown from far flung places around the globe like Fiji Islands to satisfy the need for consumer sales.

“The natural artesian water from FIJI Water comes to you straight from the isolated and idyllic Fiji Islands without ever being touched by man.” – advertising blurb.

This commerce needs to be banned. It is an abomination. Especially when you know that Fijians from Viti Levu (the second largest of the Fiji Is) are denied this water for themselves. The source for this water is guarded by barbed wire and heavy security.

A note for Americans… Obama drinks it. So where is his commitment to water?

Now the good news. Since I have switched from soft drinks to sparkling mineral water, I have dropped 15kgs (30lbs +/-), two jeans sizes and added two new holes to my belt. So if you are serious about losing weight, stop drinking soda and commercial fruit juice!

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This week’s CTWW is a stinker thinker, Population.

This week, let’s open up the discussion on population as it affects the environment. Please leave a comment and/or write a post about your feelings on the topic. You might discuss if, in your opinion, our growing population is a concern. Perhaps talk about such things as the earth’s ability to support growing numbers of people, or if the number of children we have should be regulated (and if so, by whom). While religious considerations are often a factor in a person’s decision to have children, let’s keep this discussion environmental in nature. Let’s take an honest look at the environmental affects of population growth.

 can-of-wormsOh boy, does this open a can of worms.

The world’s escalating population has been among my thoughts for many years.

First of all we have to realise that our dirtball planet does not have infinte resources.

Since the advent of the industrial revolution, we have adopted an attitude of dig & destroy. The more people there are on Earth the more we dig deeper and destroy more.

We have become a consumer society, the more people, the more we consume.

This is a big problem!

More than a year ago I read, link to source is long lost, that the planet has the resources to support a constant population of 500 million people.

But the population is not constant, it is ever increasingly growing, and currently stands a 7 billion.

Earth-iconNow, you do the math. That’s 14 times the population than the planet can support.

We are exhausting planetary resources like never before; and something’s got to give.

And, it won’t be the planet, it’ll be us!

So what’s the problem?

Births – no. Mother Nature designed life that way. She knows what she’s doing.

So don’t talk about controlling the number of births.

The problem is US!

We have medicine.

That’s the problem!

Not enough people are dying.

People are living longer, longer by many years than Mother Nature intended.

Australopithicus

Australopithicus

Let’s go back in history a little… okay, a lot.

Stone Age man, Neanderthals, Australopithicus. They didn’t live much past 20 years. In the ensuing years we have got religion, life became sacred, we learned how to improve our lot and have extended life to 70+ years. That’s 50 more years than we were designed to live. That’s 50 more years of using the planet’s resources. Each person is using 2½ times his allotted resources.

Ancient civilisations knew that populations had to be controlled. Think of the mass sacrifices of peoples like the Maya and Aztecs. Prehistory shows us that people who didn’t contribute to the tribe were eliminated; remote Eskimos still do this, “Oops, he fell in front of a polar bear.” For how much longer? We are running out of polar bears.

In our hankering for longevity/eternal life, we have created a problem. It’s a problem that has no solution. At least not with our current technology.

This planet is too small.

We need to get off it, and go somewhere else. But that’s not feasible. Only a few selected will ever get off this planet, if ever. The problem will still be here.

Can you imagine what the Earth’s population would be if we didn’t have natural disasters, man-made disasters, famines, epidemics and the like?

The numbers become absolutely staggering.

We would have made ourselves extinct years ago. We wouldn’t be here! The planet would have already exhausted itself.

Most of you, especially those who are afflicted by religion, will find some of these ideas unpalatable, but the truth is often a bitter pill; our social conditioning makes it so. We can’t see outside the box of our upbringing. As long as this is the case there is no solution and the problem just gets worse.

Sometime ago I posted a satirically glib comment. “Legalise all drugs and let natural selection take over.” Now that sounds terrible. We are intent on saving people. Maybe we need to think about that some more.

Deforestation on a grand scale for more crops

Deforestation on a grand scale for more crops

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to dig more holes in the planet, to mine more minerals; we’ll keep pumping hot house gases into the atmosphere as we burn fossil fuels; we’ll continue to reduce the forests to create more pasture and farmland for crops; we’ll continue to pollute the waterways, we’ll continue to deplete and damage the oceans; we’ll continue to poison the land with chemicals from agriculture and fracking until there is nothing left.

I hear people shouting “become vegetarian, save the planet!” But the outcome is the same.

Then what?

WE are making US extinct, a long suffering extinction.

How long before we begin to fight our neighbours for, or to protect our food and water?

The social consquences for humanity are dire. We need to think outside the box, to put practicalities first and our fragile sensibilities on the back-burner, however distasteful that may seem.

I am just glad that I won’t be here to see it. In all probability, neither will you. But what legacy are we leaving our children and our children’s children? Will there, in fact, be a legacy?

Pandora's Box

Pandora’s Box

I did say that this was a stinker.

Pandora’s Box has been opened, even though historically it was an urn, and the evils of the world are afoot.

Can we ever put them back?

Meanwhile, I will continue to do my little bit in the ever frustrating hope that the planet can be saved. I’m not doing it for me, my time is nearly over; but I have raised 13 of the next generation, and they have started with seven of the next and one of them is ripe to begin the next.

I shudder to think. Will their choices be even more difficult? While I am talking about letting people die naturally which is repugnant; will they be talking about culling?

The horrors are unimaginable.

Monday Moaning

This is an all-too-common sight.

False advertising.

Why can’t these charlatones be brought to book?

False or misleading labelling is endemic in supermarkets and plays on the gullible.

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They won’t play a responsible game, then make laws with heavy fines for breaches so they will.

Bizarre_Soft_Drinks9

If it hasn't got sugar, then it's NOT sugar

If it hasn’t got sugar, then it’s NOT sugar

The commercial world is full of bullshit, that companies and corprations should be taken to task

This is another labelling issue.

 

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