I woke at 3am to check CTWW this morning, but my eyes were so rusty that I swear I could hear them squeaking as I blinked; or maybe that was tinnitis… Wait, I don’t have tinnitis Maybe I need 3-in-1 eye drops…
I went back to bed.
Now I am up, my eyes are not so rusty any more. Coffee serves again!
It’s been pretty much a do-nothing week, so there’s not a lot to report.
Monday was a typical Monday… Totally Screwed.
Brazil entered hora do verão (Daylight Savings Time) on Saturday night. So my internal body clock needs to be recalibrated. The local roosters still crow at normal time.
Maybe that’s why my eyes were so rusty…
I hate DST.
They say that DST saves R$400m each summer, I’m not so sure about that. I mean with extra day hours, people are using more air conditioning than lights, and air conditioners use a damned sight more power than lightbulbs. In my opinion, the savings are political hype to justify DST.
So for the next 120+ days, I have to walk to work in the hottest part of the day.
We’ve just had a hot spell. More than a month with temps in the high 30ºCs with the last week 40ºC (106ºF) and above daily with no rain, and we haven’t even hit summer yet. Last two days (inc today) a welcome cool and overcast with sprinkles of rain.
Recently, before the elections we had our local streets asphalted over the parallapidado (cobblestomes). The neighbourhood looks nice. These things happen just before elections so the incumbent candidate for mayor claims that he gets things done, so a vote for him becomes more likely.
One of the fregües (regulars) at the botequim is a civil engineer (very civil after a couple of beers) and he tells a different story. Cobblestones are set in sand and have a large sand base. During heavy rains (which we get often… should be getting now in fact and aren’t) a lot of the water seeps through the sand and is dispersed as well as running of into the stormwater drainage system.
Now with the asphalt that secondary drainage is blocked, he warns that our area could become more susceptable to flooding.
Another example of progress, looks nice, but what of the after effects?
Yesterday, I pickled another lot of beetroot.
To buy a jar like this of pickles, cost R$10 each. I make three jars for R$2 of beetroot and a bottle of vinegar, R$1.89 plus gas for cooking the beetroot off. The jars also get recycled for the umpteenth time.
On with this week’s CTWW – Small things.
This week, search your life for a small difference you can make. Need some ideas? Try these:
- Don’t use a disposable straw … either drink directly from a glass or use a reusable straw.
- Use one less square of toilet paper per visit. Some CTWW participants use no more than 6 squares … can you do better?
- Turn off a light, or appliance, which you normally leave on.
- Add a living plant to your home and improve air quality.
- Go meatless for at least one day this week.
- If you’re used to taking baths, take a shower instead. And if you’re used to showers, reduce the duration of yours by at least one minute.
The idea, this week, is to dig real deep and do one more small thing which you’re not already doing … or to amp up something which you are doing (like eat vegan if you’re already eating vegetarian).
Let’s look at this list item by item…
- Don’t use straws, and refuse to use sachets of ketcup and mustard
- I already use little toilet paper, prefering a quick wipe and quickly wash bum in the shower with the shower hose.
- I don’t have that many appliances, and none that I leave on unncecssarily; not even on standby. The only things that are on permanently are the fridge and PC.
- Have 10 living plants in living room, no room for more. Mostly espada de São Jorge (St George’s sword) – Sansevieria trifasciata which is known for it’s air purification.
- I am still on my beefless week – week about. This week is beefless. So while it’s not meatless, it is halving my consumption of the most environmentally unfriendly meat to produce. I have been doing this for nearly a year already. There are some days that I go meatless, often not planned, they just happen.
- I don’t have a bath, just a shower. If I reduce my showers any more, I won’t even need a towel. Now that we have high temps, the shower heater is off.
So, that’s about it.
I do look at the small things in which I can make a difference.
Until next week folks.
Some simple green ideas from the kitchen.
Now go and have a look at 9 more ways to use stuff and save space. So simple.
Why do we have to be such bastards?
Development could lead to extinction of rare Australian bird
The bird is endemic to South Eastern Australia and this site contains one of the most important breeding habitats for this extremely rare bird, whose population has declined by more than 80 percent over the last 24 years.
“We are now certain that Regent Honeyeaters rely on this site for food and to breed,” said Samantha Vine, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Australia. “Development of this site will be catastrophic for this imperilled species.”
“In 2007–8 observers recorded 20 nests and around 100 individual birds,” said lead author, Mick Roderick. “With fewer than 400 adult Regent Honeyeaters remaining in the wild, this represents around 25 per cent of this species’ current global population.”
On light of these findings BirdLife Australia has asked the Federal Government to revoke approval of the site and find an alternative site for the industrial estate.
“The birds’ breeding habitat in the Tomalpin woodlands must be protected to ensure the ongoing survival of the Regent Honeyeater,” Samantha said. “They face increasing pressures from mining developments, climate change and pests, and depend on this area as a refuge”.
When are we going to open our eyes?
Why do the capitalist pigs have to have the final say?
Go and build your indutrial site somewhere else! Just because you own the land financially, doesn’t mean you have to destroy habitats like this.
You don’t have the right!
Aliens are on the March!
Warning as alien mussels found near Heathrow airport
Species that could devastate wetlands and ‘cost millions in tax and water bills’, identified as greatest single threat to UK wildlife
A type of mussel recently identified by scientists as the greatest single threat to Britain’s wildlife of any alien species has been found for the first time in a reservoir near Heathrow airport. Discovery of the quagga mussels at Wraysbury reservoir poses a severe threat to thousands of native animals and diverse habitats. They also disrupt water supplies by blocking pipes and causing flooding.
Although the molluscs, originally from the Ukraine, grow to less than 5cm long they breed so prolifically that their vast colonies attach to hard surfaces and are difficult to remove. They are threatening to block the water supply in Las Vegas after flourishing in Lake Mead and colonising the Hoover dam’s turbines.
Wildlife experts have described them as ecosystem engineers due to their capacity to filter water, which upsets the natural balance of the food web as they eat pollutants then turn them into concentrated toxic faeces which can poison drinking water for both wildlife and people.
The Wildlife and Wetland Trust, which made the discovery last week, said the non-native mussel was “the number one most dangerous alien species” and added that the threat to British wetlands could be devastating.
Jeff Knott, WWT’s head of conservation policy, said: “This is worrying, but entirely predictable. Quagga mussels are likely to indirectly cause suffering and death for hundreds of thousands of native animals, fish and plants and cost millions of pounds in tax and water bills to protect drinking water supplies.
“These tiny mussels can be devastating but look so innocuous, which is why it’s so difficult for boaters, anglers and other water users to avoid accidentally transferring them between water bodies when they latch on to their equipment. That’s why it’s so important for all water users to remember the motto ‘clean, check, dry’ when they pack up their equipment to help slow the spread.”
He said the devastating effect of the mussels is why the UK needs stronger controls on invasive species being brought into the country as prevention is far cheaper and more effective than trying to control an established infestation. “We need to protect the UK against the next invasive species,” he added.
A trust spokesman said the WWT’s London Wetland Centre, downstream from Wraysbury “is the sort of place [where] they’ll wreak havoc with the wildlife, if left unchecked”.
The spread of quagga mussels is often due to human activity as the adult bivalves, which can produce a million eggs a season, attach themselves to boats.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it would take action to tackle the threat. A spokesman said: “It is important that we take action to address the threats posed by invasive non-native species. They threaten the survival our own plants and animals and cost the economy at least £1.8bn a year
“We will be working closely with interested parties and our agencies to reduce the risk of the quagga mussel spreading any further. Users of our waterways can help with this by checking their equipment and keeping it clean and dry.”
Research by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in June described the molluscs as “the top ranking threat to our natural biodiversity”. It had predicted quagga mussels would arrive in the UK within the next five years.
Helen Roy, one of the scientists involved in the research, said that after looking at hundreds of species from all over the world the quagga mussel was the most likely to arrive and establish itself in the UK and pose a danger to biodiversity.
It can be hard to distinguish from the zebra mussel, another alien bivalve which is already widespread in England and Wales.
Mother Nature’s ingenuity knows no bounds.
And man is constantly uspetting the balance.
Carnivores help trees thrive without thorns, study says
The presence of carnivores helps plants without thorny defences thrive, a study of life on the savannah reveals.
Researchers found that species without thorns thrived in areas favoured by carnivores because plant-eating animals deemed it too risky to graze at these sites.
The team added that declining carnivore numbers was likely to have an impact on the links that connect carnivores, herbivores, plants and people.
“Our observations indicate that carnivores, like leopards and wild dogs, shape where herbivores eat,” explained co-author Adam Ford from the University of British Columbia, Canada.
“Plant defences, such as thorns, shape what herbivores eat.”
“Plants have two pathways to success. You either protect yourself from herbivores by growing large thorns, or thrive in areas that are risky to your predators; plant eaters.”
He added that the delicate ecological equilibrium between the animal and plant kingdoms was likely to be disrupted in some regions.
Dr Ford observed: “As human activities continue to reduce populations of predators, herbivores like impala become willing to feed in areas that used to be risky, consuming more preferred vegetation and – ironically – allowing less-preferred thorny plant species to take over.”
A study published earlier this year suggested that three-quarters of the planet’s large carnivores were experiencing declines in their populations.
It added that the majority now only occupied less than half of their historic range, and this contraction could have a wide-reaching and long-lasting impact on ecosystems.
Source: BBCNews Read and see more.
So, with the vast reduction in the number of carnivores does that mean that defenceless plants will take a hammering and the world lose other carbon dioxide consumming areas other than rainforests?