Archive for February, 2012

Change the World Wednesday – 29th Feb

The old boot has absolutely nothing to do with the story, but it's still a good idea for a planter

I’m going to leap right into the fray. (It’s a pun, get it, get it?….. oh, never mind)

I only get to do that joke once every four years and you lot (both of you) didn’t even raise an eyebrow.

This is a real Change the World Wednesday, Reduced Footprints fooled me. I didn’t realise that the real McCoy would be integrated with the Dailies.

As a result of my charm and wit, you’ll get two posts today, which I hope you’ll appreciate.

Now, where was I before I started waffling?


Oh, yes, Change the World Wednesday….

Lastweek’s challenge to calculate your carbon footprint was an interesting exercise. I wasn’t enthused about my result, because I am more conscious of almost everything in this are than are 95% of Brazilians, and yet the result showed that I was waaaaay above the country average and the world target. Quite frankly, I don’t believe it. For example, there are many homes in Brazil that do not use electricity because they don’t have it, but was their candle burning, wood burning cooking and fossil fuel lighting taken into account in the initial calculations?

The challenge this week:

Reduce the number of plastic bags you use by getting a fabric or reusable bag for shopping. Although plastic bags use 70% less plastic than they did 20 years ago, most are still made from polyethylene, a non-degradable plastic. If you live near a brewery, you can obtain 15-20 gallon durable, synthetic grain bags which breweries usually throw away. These can either be used as garbage bags or rinsed out and re-used to take trash to the dump.

I usually do, but sometimes an impromptu therapy session supermarket visit can catch me without my bags, so I have to accept their plastic ones.

I can’t remember if I mentioned that São Paulo state has just banned plastic bags in all retail outlets. Will this come to Rio de Janeiro? I hope so.

Big durable bags

The second part of the challenge, If you live near a brewery… . Oh one can dream. I live a whole 11 metres (about 12 yards) from my botequim (a local neighbourhood  bar), but they don’t have big durable bags; unless you count some of the customers, then we have two. But they don’t drink martinis, mainly because if you asked Raimundo for a martini, he’d just blink at you because he has no idea how to make them.

The chances of getting the bags as suggested in the challenge is remote, because here they are already spoken for by somebody who makes them into carry bags for the street markets and sells them.

They used to cost 50 centavos, but I have seen the price rise to R$1 and now they are R$2. That’s inflation for you.

90% of the people use the supermarket bags for rubbish day. Even the kitchen and bathroom rubbish bins are made to fit the plastic bags.

That is something I must explain. Here in Brazil we do not put used toilet paper in the toilet to flush. There is a rubbish bin next to the toilet for that. You see most of the sewerage systems can’t take the paper. Many of the systems here don’t have sewerage treatment and the effluent often finishes up in rivers; paper would just be an added problem. So the toilet paper goes in the bin and out with the rubbish to the street rubbish collection three times a week.

So, in answer to the challenge, yes, I do, in as much as possible try to reduce the amount of plastic bagging that passes through my house.


Change the World Wednesday – Special II

I have had a strange week so far.

It all started on Saturday when I decided to remove my only active blog They Say it’s in the Genes from Blogspot to WordPress and then move the 50 posts as well. Designing, adding, moving, searching, it all takes time.

But the problem contined Sunday, then reached Monday, and yesterday was more lethargy than anything, as well as being a split day at work. Most people hate going to work once a day, imagine how I feel Tuesdays and Thursdays going twice in the same day. It’s only till the end of the month, then I can press the ‘normal’ button and return to reality.

On with the current Reduce Footprints‘ Change the World Wednesday daily challenges:

CTWW Daily Challenge –  25th Feb

Get a home energy audit from your local utility company. Find out how you can save resources and money by making small, inexpensive improvements to your home.

No can do, so I’m out on this one. Socio-politic reasons. But certainly for an energy dependent home it’s a good idea; mine isn’t.

CTWW Daily Challenge – 26th Feb

Save energy in the kitchen. When you need to cook in a pan on the stove, use a lid to preserve heat, which will also cook your food faster. Cook double portions and freeze what you don’t eat.

As a chef, I am always conscious of the need to save power cooking. Even though I cook with gas, there is always a lid on pans, and if I need to cook double portions like today, I have a kilo (2.204lbs) of fish thawing, now all that needs to be cooked, although only 500gms will be for today.

CTWW Daily Challenge – 27th Feb

Remove one light bulb from your home. Live without it for the rest of this carbon fast. This will decrease energy use and act as a reminder of why we are doing this. In addition, make a point of turning off lights when you leave a room, or that you don’t really need to have on.

This one’s easy. Two weeks ago the kitchen light burnt out. I can’t reach the ceiling to replace it until I can borrow a ladder. I will leave it until the carbon fast is over. It has made me do my kitchen chores and cook during daylight hours, so there is definitely a small saving. I am already an active campaigner for the ‘turning-off-of-lights when not in use. My kids think I’m an ogre.

CTWW Daily Challenge – 28th Feb

Learn about current scientific thinking on how extreme weather events are caused by climate change. Read about it in Science Daily and The Washington Post.

This is something I do as a matter of course on a daily basis. Some of the things that I read and find are quite scary; in fact they range from scary – unbelievably horribly horrendous.

Scary is about the global warming reducing the Arctic ice-cap, and how that has likely been responsible for the current cold snap over northern Europe, North America and Asia, in turn leading to a possible iceage.

Frightening is the discovery that the Heartland Institute is involved with brainwashing the populace into believing that global warming doesn’t exist. My own Monday Moaning post tells a pretty sobering story of corruption and deceit.

Chem Trails

Unbelievably horribly horrendous is about plans the US government has for using live viruses.

You will probably, as an ecologically aware person, have heard about ‘Chem Trails’ they are an induced form of pollution, but to what purpose? “Chem trails and Depopulation” gives a horrific slant. When I read this, I felt like a stunned mullet. It left me asking myself, is this really possible?

My wider reading gives me a pretty good idea of what’s going on in relation to the world’s climatic changes. I think I am reasonably able to winnow the wheat from the chaff; and I have a horrible niggling feeling that this is not chaff.

CTWW Daily Challenge – 29th…

Whoops, it’s not here yet.



Monday Moaning

Six years ago

The Latvian government banned the selling of unhealthy foods and beverages (especially sodas, including Pepsi and Coca Cola) in schools and kindergartens in order to promote healthier snacks for pupils. Anything that is not natural and contains artificial ingredients, food additives, preservatives, flavours, colouring, sweeteners, caffeine and a high salt/food ratio are considered to be an unhealthy food or beverage.

That was in 2006.



Fast-food ban near schools proposed to fight child obesity

THE GOVERNMENT is considering introducing a ban on fast-food outlets near schools, following the publication of a report on obesity in nine-year-olds.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said yesterday she was in discussions with the Department of the Environment to see if planning regulations could be introduced to control the proximity of fast-food businesses to schools.

“When you walk out of a school, if the first thing you see is a fast-food shop, clearly that’s not in the child’s best interests.”

Source: IrishTimes Read more


Is the tail not trying to wag the dog here?

Are we not barking up the wrong tree?

To me the answer is logical. Ban the production of problem foods!

…or, the alternative: Tax them beyond the reach of those most affected.

There are many answers to the problems, the prohibition of ingredients known to be prejudicial to health, HFCSs, artificial flavours and colourings for example.

Aspartame this, aspartame that

The main problem cited in the countries like France, Canada and Russia where the bans are in place is obesity; but it goes way beyond just obesity. The problems stem to behavioural patterns, cognitive development, social interactions, bodily growth and functions, neurological disorders and more.

The problem affects our very being; and yet that is not important, as long as the corporations can make a profit, the health and welfare of the people is of no concern.

Since the 1960s we have abdicated our responsibilities as parents. Each generation is abdicating more and more.

An now we get responses like this when kids are asked about junk food restrictions: “I think that’s mean because junk food is pretty good”.

The kids have no idea anymore, less idea than their parents had no idea about. Parental control is gone, the kids have been brainwashed by more and more corporate advertising, so much that they don’t know what the facts are any more than their parents did.

One of two things has to happen; firstly parents have to get their shit together, second, if that doesn’t happen, then the state has to become a nanny.

Salt: Villain or Super Hero?

Why Your Body Needs Salt: Unrefined natural salt provides two elements – sodium and chloride – that are essential for life. Your body cannot make these elements on its own; you must get them from your diet. Some of the many biological processes for which salt is crucial include:

* Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid

* Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells

* Maintaining and regulating blood pressure

* Supporting healthy glial cell populations in your brain, which are essential for forming the protective coating known as myelin that surrounds the portion of the neuron that conducts electrical impulses, as well as other vital neurological functions

* Helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange

Sodium plays a critical role in body physiology. It controls the volume of fluid in the body and helps maintain the acid-base level. About 40 percent of the body’s sodium is contained in bone, some is found within other organs and cells, and the remaining 55 percent is in blood plasma and extracellular fluids. Sodium is important in proper nerve conduction, in aiding the passage of various nutrients into cells, and in the maintenance of blood pressure.

Sodium-dependent enzymes are required for carbohydrate digestion, to break down complex carbohydrates and sugars into monosaccharides such as glucose, fructose and galactose; sodium is also involved in transporting these monosaccharides across the intestinal wall. Although salt is the most common dietary source for these essential elements, sodium is also available from various foods that contain sodium naturally. Chloride ions also help maintain proper blood volume, blood pressure, and pH of body fluids. Chloride is the major extracellular anion and contributes to many body functions including the maintenance of blood pressure, acid-base balance, muscular activity, and the movement of water between fluid compartments. Chloride is the major component of hydrochloric acid, which is needed for protein digestion. Symptoms of hypochlorhydria (low hydrochloric acid) include bloating, acne, iron deficiency, belching, indigestion, diarrhea and multiple food allergies. Chloride is available in very few foods, and adequate chloride must be obtained from salt.”

HFCS = Poison

Did Salt Get the Blame When Fructose Was Really at Fault? Many of you have likely heard of the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and which is very low in salt, consisting largely of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. This is the diet used in the DASH-sodium study – the ONE study that was conducted to determine whether or not a low-salt diet would control hypertension. People on DASH diets did show reduced hypertension, but researchers were so eager and personally invested in proving their salt theory that they completely overlooked other factors – like the fact that the DASH diet is also very low in sugar, including fructose.

Hypertension is actually promoted far more by excess fructose than excess salt, and the amount of salt Americans eat pales in comparison to the amount of fructose they consume on a daily basis. I’m convinced that sugar/fructose – rather than salt – is the major driving force behind our skyrocketing hypertension rates. (If you’re struggling with hypertension, you can read my full recommendations for normalizing your blood pressure ). Blood pressure drops as much in low-sugar studies as it did in the DASH-sodium study, but this fact has been conveniently ignored.

Is Salt Really Linked to Heart Disease? Last year a meta-analysis of seven studies involving more than 6,000 people found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or deathiv. In fact, it was salt restriction that actually increased the risk of death in those with heart failure. Furthermore, research in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that the less sodium excreted in the urine (a marker of salt consumption), the greater the risk of dying from heart diseasev. The study followed 3,681 middle-aged healthy Europeans for eight years. The participants were divided into three groups: low salt, moderate salt, and high salt consumption. Researchers tracked mortality rates for the three groups, with the following results:

1. Low-salt group: 50 people died

2. Moderate salt group: 24 people died

3. High-salt group: 10 people died

The risk for heart disease was 56 percent higher for the low-salt group than for the group who ate the most salt!

Dangers of a Low-Salt Diet: The simple truth is, there are very real risks from eating too little salt, and population-wide recommendations to restrict salt intake to very low levels could in fact increase rates of a wide range of diseases. WAPF explains, as reported by Globe Newswire: “Recent studies show a correlation of salt restriction with increased heart failure and with insulin resistance leading to diabetes. Studies show that even modest reductions in salt cause an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Higher incidence of inflammatory markers and altered lipoproteins are also found by researchers evaluating those on salt-reduced diets. These factors are precursors to metabolic syndrome, which predicts heart problems and diabetes.”

In one study by Harvard researchers, a low-salt diet lead to an increase in insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes – and the change occurred in just seven days! Other research has found salt restriction may play a role in:

* Increased death rates among people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes

* Increased falls and broken hips, and decreased cognitive abilities, among the elderly

* Giving birth to babies of low birth weight

* Poor neurodevelopmental function in infants

Drinking more wtare than your body can lose: Hyponatremia

There is also a condition in which you have too little sodium. This is known as hyponatremia, where your body’s fluid levels rise and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause a number of health problems, from mild to severe. At its worst, hyponatremia can be life threatening, leading to brain swelling, coma and death. But mild to moderate hyponatremia has more subtle effects that you or your health care provider may not even connect with a sodium-deficiency problem, including: Nausea, vomiting, and changes in appetite, headache, confusion, hallucinations, loss of energy, fatigue, urinary incontinence, nervousness, restlessness and irritability, and other mood changes, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, seizures, unconsciousness, coma.

There are other dangers to salt restriction, too, which WAPF outlined in their report — dangers that many are apt to overlook:

Looks like salt, tastes like salt.... but it's NOT what your body needs

* Chemical salt alternatives: As food manufacturers seek to lower salt levels in their foods, salt substitutes like Senomyx are on the rise. Along with potential dangers from Senomyx itself (which does not require extensive testing and, as WAPF states, “would seem to be nothing more or less than a neurotrophic drug”), it’s possible that eating foods that taste salty but actually do not satisfy our sodium requirements may trigger us to keep eating more and more until these requirements are met … a recipe for obesity in the making.

* A loss of nutrient-dense foods: Certain nutritious foods, such as raw milk cheese and lacto-fermented vegetables, depend on high levels of salt for production. If salt becomes increasingly restricted, it could harm the production of these nutrient-dense foods.

Some Types of Salt Are More Dangerous: When you add salt to your diet, the type matters greatly. Today’s table salt has practically nothing in common with natural salt. One is health damaging, and the other is healing. Natural salt is 84 percent sodium chloride, and processed salt is 98 percent. So, what comprises the rest? The remaining 16 percent of natural salt consists of other naturally occurring minerals, including trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium. But the remaining two percent of processed salt is comprised of man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents, and a little added iodine.

Iodised salt on your table

You might be tempted to think “salt is salt,” but even the structure of processed salt has been radically altered in the refining process. Refined salt is dried above 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and this excessive heat alone alters the natural chemical structure of the salt. What remains after ordinary table salt is chemically “cleaned” is sodium chloride. The processed salt is not pure sodium chloride but is only 97.5 percent sodium chloride and anticaking and flow agents are added to compromise about 2.5 percent. These are dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate. Some European countries, where water fluoridation is not practiced, also add fluoride to table salt. In France, 35 percent of table salt sold contains either sodium fluoride or potassium fluoride and use of fluoridated salt is widespread in South America.

More than 80 percent of the salt most people consume is from processed foods. Indeed, there is far too much sodium in processed foods. But you shouldn’t be eating those foods anyway – sodium is just one of MANY ingredients in packaged foods that will adversely affect your health. The salt added to these convenience foods is bleached out, trace mineral deficient and mostly sodium – as opposed to natural salt, which is much lower in sodium. The more you can move toward a diet of whole organic foods in their natural state, the healthier you’ll be – whether it’s veggies, meat, dairy products, or salt.

Natural Salt

Given that salt is absolutely essential to good health, I recommend limiting processed foods (most of which are high in processed salt) and processed salt and switching to a pure, unrefined salt. My favorite is an ancient, all-natural sea salt from the Himalayas. So, generally speaking, it is perfectly fine to salt your food to taste, provided the salt you’re using is natural and unrefined.

Source: “Salt: This Forbidden Indulgence Could Actually Spare You a Heart Attack”

by Dr. Mercola from the blog: Running ‘Cause I Can’t Fly
NB: I have not reproduced the entire article, but rather the more salient (excuse the pun) points.


So here we have another case where the government agencies are going off half cocked believing erroneous data from case studies that were reliant on vested interests.
Doesn’t this sound all too common?
What I construe from all this is that we need salt, any restriction in salt intake can cause quite a myriad of problems in the majority of people, while it is a distinct minority that benefit.
The real enemies are fructose (High-fructose corn syrup – HFCS) and refined salt which is found on most tables and processed foods.
To really balance the problem we have to eliminate HFCS and return to using natural salt.

Change the World Wednesday – Special

For the Lenten period Reduce Footprints is doing a daily challenge. I will attempt to keep up with them, not necessarily on the day. I make no promises.


CTWW Daily Challenge – 24th Feb

Only use your washing machine when you have a full load, and run it on cold whenever possible. Run at maximum spin to reduce drying times and avoid using a tumble drier, opting instead for a clothesline. A typical washing machine uses 90% of its energy to heat the water. Generally, cold water gets your clothes just as clean and saves about 2 pounds of CO2 per load.

I win!

No washing machine, no drier and no hot water!

LOL – That was an easy one…

CTWW Daily Challenge – 23rd Feb

Say no to bottled water and drink tap water. Buy a refillable, washable bottle to use instead. More than 150 billion liters of bottled water are sold worldwide every year. This contributes significantly to landfill and transport emissions.

I only drink water from the tap. I refuse to buy water.

I win again!

But I am going to comment here. I drink tap water because I am on the downhill slope of life, (yes, I’m over 40… well over and well down the hill) so an issue like fluoride in the city water supply doesn’t worry me any more from a personal point of view, basically a little more fluoride won’t make a lot of difference to me.

However, young people who live in cities where the water supply is fluoridated need to be concerned; especially families with young children. We know that fluoride is a poison, in fact it’s a rat poison, we know that the city councils that add fluoride are in reality committing a criminal offence against the populous. The only escape from fluoride for these people is bottled water that is free from fluoride for drinking and cooking.

I would up the ante on this challenge and say make your voice heard, email, write, phone, talk to your city councilors, voice your objection.

Because city water should be fluoride-free!

If you want/need fluoride treatment; and it should be a choice not arbitrarily imposed on you, you can consult your doctor or dentist and they can supply oral or topical dosages as necessary.

I have often joked… “Never drink water… because fish pee in it; however, if you must then sterilise it with whisky first!”

Saturday Satire

Make You Fink on Friday

Photo credit:

The world is insane!

Oh, you knew that…

Looking at fishing today. Not me, I buy mine at the fish market.

But the industry.

We are in a world where fish species are becoming extinct for a variety of reasons, over fishing, pollution destroying habitats and climatic changes.

Many countries in the world control fishing by means of quotas. They do this to prevent over-fishing and to control fishing during breeding season.

But what happens if a trawler exceeds its quota.

They throw the dead fish back into the sea.

We have countries in this world starving for lack of food and famines and they throw fish back into the sea, dead.

I am sorry, but I fail to see the sense in that.

Even if this image is only half right (I haven’t checked) it’s still an absolute disgrace.

The Human Disgrace - Food Wastage

To throw away edible and/or marketable fish once caught because to exceed the quota will result in a hefty fine is absurd.

There must be a better way.

Endangered Edible Fish

Orange Roughy (Slimehead) Hoplostethus atlanticus

Haddock: Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Halibut, Turbot, Sole

Atlantic cod, almost fished to extinction

Atlantic salmon, almost extinct

Sea bass: Several species are in imminent danger of extinction

Blue fin tuna: On the verge of total collapse

Sturgeon: prized for its caviar severe depletion worldwide

Discarding fish is a criminal act supported by governments

Today, I learned something…

The Mediterranean has wetlands.

I didn’t know that before.

If you mention to me ‘the Mediterranian’, I conjure up images of tourism, sun, olive trees and the Biblical lands. I would never have associated the Mediterranean with wetlands.

Mediterranian Wetlands

Lots of them, dotted around everywhere; Lakes, lagoons, dams and river deltas. 570,000,000 hectares – roughly 6% of the Earth’s land surface

You want to see the diversity, check TOUR DU VALAT

And, they’re in trouble…

Protection ‘vital for Mediterranean’s wetlands’

Thymio Pappayannis on how wetlands in the Mediterranean have changed

Urgent government action is the only thing that can stem the crisis facing the Mediterranean’s wetlands.

That was the message from a recent meeting convened to discuss how best to protect these increasingly vulnerable ecosystems.

Mangroves, reed beds, peat bogs, ponds, river banks, swamps, marshes all fall under the heading of wetlands.

Under the umbrella of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), more than 350 specialists from countries in the region came together in Agadir, Morocco, to discuss the challenges facing these unique ecosystems.

They were drawn from a daunting range of disciplines: there were bird watchers, eel specialists, forestry commissioners, marine biologists and environmentalists present at the symposium.

Their discussions centred on refining old strategies and developing new ways of conserving wetlands.

With more than 50% of the Mediterranean’s wetlands lost over the last century, Laurent Chazee, the co-ordinator of a report published during the symposium, say he wants governments to wake-up, stressing the need for urgent action.

“It is no longer enough to leave the fight to environmentalists,” he says.

“Governments must get involved and policies have to be more clearly thought through. If not, whole areas of countries to the south of the Mediterranean will be de-populated as people move away in search of water.”

In addition to increasing population, intensive agriculture, tourism pressures and climate change, new and as yet unquantified changes are having an impact on wetlands.

Source: BBC News Read more

An example:

Wadi Rum in Jordan.

Black Iris, Jordan's national flower

Wadi Rum is a protected environment. Rare species of animals, small plants, and herbs can be found by the inquisitive traveler. Red anemones, poppies and the striking black iris, Jordan’s national flower, all grow at will by the roadside and in more quiet reaches. Herbal medicinal cures used for centuries by the Bedouins are found in the mountainous regions.

Wadi Rum is also a bird-watchers’ haven with its 110 recorded species. Vultures, buzzards, eagles and sparrows are a few to be seen by those looking skyward. Other interesting creatures to be found include the camel-spider, feared by local Bedouins for its ability to harm camels, however this spider is not dangerous to man.

Seen gracefully in its natural habitat, the Ibex, mountain goat, is often spotted in the desert terrain. Another interesting animals are the Gray Wolf, Blandford’s Fox, and the Arabian Sand Cat which is similar in appearance to a domesticated cat and survives in its harsh desert surroundings.


Who ever knew about this? I am amazed. Source: Atlas


The Ebro Delta

Natural water wells at the Ebro Delta - an interesting freshwater habitat typical of Spanish Mediterranean coastal plains close to karstic countryside where underground water overflows. (Photo: Anna Motis)

The Ebro Delta is one of the major river deltas of the Mediterranean Basin. It covers an area of 320km2 and consists of a typical delta platform extending 30km into the Mediterranean. The main surface of the delta is covered by agricultural land, and most natural areas are located along the edges, behind large natural beaches and sand dunes.

Because the Ebro Delta is heavily populated compared to other Mediterranean wetlands, the area is intensively utilized. There are very few areas where the natural resources are not exploited. In most of the delta, agriculture is the main activity and this includes intensive rice production covering 21,500ha and in some areas other crops such as lettuce, tomato, and melon. In a couple of relatively small areas, there is some extensive cattle ranching allowing the development of interesting habitats. Fishing is very important both in the lagoons, river and surrounding sea. Shellfish production is also remarkable in the enclosed bays of La Banya and El Fangar. Source: Ramsar

Species never imagined…

The wetland surrounding the Dead Sea supports endangered species such as ibex, hyrax and even a few Arabian leopards.

Source: WWF

Iberian lynx

Source: WWF

Blue Swamp Hen

Albufera Marshland, Mallorca

Other species include ospreys, turtledoves, night herons, scops owls, hoopoes, black-winged stilts, Kentish plovers, glossy ibis, spoonbills, bee-eaters, purple gallunule, great reed warblers, flamingos, and the purple swamp hen (pictured above). Not to mention species that are fairly rare elsewhere in Europe, such as the black vulture, Eleonora’s falcon, Audouin’s gull, the moustached warbler, and Marmora’s warbler.

Source: BlueBay

Treasured habitat ... a flock of flamingos feeding in the Carmargue, France. Photograph: Alamy

Source: The Guardian

Ox Eye, Wadi Rum, Jordan

Source: Atlas


Plants, animals, reptiles, insects all inhabit the wetlands, the same as anywhere in the world. They are a part of our heritage and like everything else on the planet we are slowly but surely destroying them.

Many of the wetlands featured in this post are in European lands that are suffering from the global financial meltdown, or in lands where political strife is endemic. The governments are more interested in saving banks than flora and fauna.

The natural elements of this world, the beauty and majesty are not on the lists of priorities.

Are we doomed to totally destroy the beauty of our little blue ball in space?

When you consider the importance that this 3rd Rock from the Sun plays in the larger plan of the cosmos, it’s probably not too important, but for us, humanity, it is our home; it is all we have…

There is no Planet B.

Change the World Wednesday – 22nd Feb

The world has returned to normal, it continues to rotate slowly about its axis and in turn around the sun.

The coffee helped, coffee always helps in a time of crisis.

We return you to our normal CTWW programme.

This week’s Change the World Wednesday:

Calculate your carbon footprint today at, or and find out what you can do to minimize it, including purchasing carbon offsets.

“An alternative definition of the carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide attributable to the actions of an individual (mainly through their energy use) over a period of one year. The term owes its origins to the idea that a footprint is what has been left behind as a result of the individual’s activities.” – Surrey Health

Well, I went to one of the sites above and calculated. I use about 1,800kw/h of electricity and 56 kgs of bottled gas. Based on that my carbon emmisions = 1.2 tons of CO2 requiring me buy £9 of off-sets.

Now I have two issues. One is that they make provision for a car, but there is no provision for a public transport use estimate; as I use public transport  daily, this figure is wrong.

Secondly, I grow a lot of plants, vege and fruit plants mainly, and there is now way of calculating the CO2 that I reabsorb. So a further anomaly arises.

I consider that what I use and what I return are pretty much a balance, because my plants work 24/7, my other uses that produce a negative impact do not.

I just found a plant calculator on the second of SF’s links, I estimate that I am responsible for about 5 trees equivalent per year, which gives me a credit for $5.00. I found a public transport one, but the calculator appears and then disappears, so I haven’t yet been able to use it.

The plot thickens.

I have found a calculator that gives me Brazilian figures… after all, I am in Brazil. My carbon footprint has reduced to .26 tons of CO2  and a further .16 tons on public transport. My secondary footprint (buying and lifestyle preferences etc) add 2.6 tons. I get a total result of: Total = 2.87 metric tons of CO2 and this comparison:

Your footprint is 2.87 metric tons per year The average footprint for people in Brazil is 1.80 metric tons The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 metric tons

Looks like I have some work to do.

If you are interested in this country specific calculator, try Carbon Footprint Calculator.

Unmitigated Disaster!

Today is Wednesday.

Carnaval can be distracting

I remembered when I was washing the dishes. I have been disorientated since last Thursday because of carnaval here in Rio. Carnaval does that to some.

I opened Reduce Footprints… A regular Wednesday thing.

Whaaaaaaaaaaa! No CTWW!

*checks calendar*

*runs cursor over pc clock*

Both confirm that it is indeed Wednesday…

*reloads Reduce Footprints* Obviously there is something amiss…

Still no CTWW.

*Stares at screen blankly*

…………. *blinks*

I know, not enough coffee, I’ll go and make some and the world will have returned to normal.

You browse around here, while I make the coffee.

The above images are all taken in the new renovated Sambódromo this year.

Below is the other side of carnaval.

Disaster Area - all that remains after the blocos (street parades)

But the garis are quick on the job to clear hundreds of kilos of rubbish

Carnaval is a colourful time in Rio de Janeiro, but it does generated tons of rubbish. It doesn’t hang around long, the garis (council road sweepers) are quick on the job to return the route back to normal. This year, for the first time, efforts were made by cooperatives of catadores to separate the rubbish into recyclables.

The blocos are the street parades, to give you an idea of their size, Cordão de Bola Preta in Cinelândia and downtown Rio attracted a record crowd of 2,2 million followers. That’s one big party and a hell of a lot of rubbish.

“We’ll return you to the regular CTWW programme soon…”

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