Archive for February 29th, 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.



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