Archive for September, 2014

Simple Green Ideas

Most sheds and garages around the world have junk like this around…

valveJust waiting to be thrown out – one day.

But wait, try this…

towelrack

Make a towel rack

If it’s not classy enough for the bathroom or the kitchen, use it in the BBQ area or patio.

Monday Moaning

Everyone thinks these are ecologically friendly.

This is a reblog from: Treading my own Path

Why Tetra Paks aren’t Green (even though they’re recyclable)

Tetra Paks are the cartons you find in the shops that are used to package milk, juice and various other liquids. You can also find products like chopped tomatoes packaged in this way. These containers allow food to be protected from contamination by bacteria and other microbes, meaning products can sit on the shelf for months without going bad. Once they’re used, Tetra Pak assure us that they can be recycled.

That sounds great, but I was left wondering…how exactly are Tetra Paks recycled? Aren’t they made up of layers of different material? Is it even possible to separate them, and then what happens to the materials? After some investigating, my conclusion is that Tetra Paks aren’t a green solution at all. Here’s why.

What is a Tetra Pak made from?

Read and see more on the link above

Nature Ramble

Yet another species nearly extinct.

Man does it again!

Ancient sturgeon in China’s Yangtze ‘nearly extinct’

Chinese scientists released artificially-bred sturgeons into the Yangtze river in April

The Chinese sturgeon, thought to have existed for more than 140 million years, is now on the brink of extinction, according to local media.

Xinhua reported that no wild sturgeon reproduced naturally last year in the Yangtze river.

It was the first time since researchers began recording levels 32 years ago.

Chinese researches say the fall is due to rising levels of pollution in the Yangtze river and the construction of dozens of dams.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences also found that no young sturgeons were found swimming along the Yangtze toward the sea during the period they usually do so.

A researcher told Xinhua that in the 1980s, at least several thousand sturgeon could be found in the river. It is estimated only around 100 fish remain.

“Without natural reproduction, the fish population cannot replenish itself. If there are no further steps taken to strengthen conservation, the wild sturgeon faces the danger of extinction,” he said.

Several sturgeon fish are housed in the Beijing aquarium

In recent decades the Chinese authorities have built numerous dams along the 6,300km-long Yangtze river to boost the country’s electricity supply. Such moves have drawn criticism of environmental degradation and displacement of villagers.

The WWF says that one of two species of dolphins native to the Yangtze river, the Baiji dolphin, went extinct in 2006 because of declining fish stocks.

The other species, the finless porpoise, is said to be at risk from illegal and intensive fishing practices and pollution. About 1,200 to 1,800 finless porpoises remain in the entire 1.8 million sq km Yangtze basin.

Source: BBCNews

Satireday on Eco-Crap

The pot is on to boil!

gloablwarmingpot

Make you Fink on Friday

Brain repair ‘may be boosted by curry spice’

Previous studies have suggested turmeric may have cancer-fighting properties

A spice commonly found in curries may boost the brain’s ability to heal itself, according to a report in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy.

The German study suggests a compound found in turmeric could encourage the growth of nerve cells thought to be part of the brain’s repair kit.

Scientists say this work, based in rats, may pave the way for future drugs for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.

But they say more trials are needed to see whether this applies to humans.

Spice injection

Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany, studied the effects of aromatic-turmerone – a compound found naturally in turmeric.

Rats were injected with the compound and their brains were then scanned.

Particular parts of the brain, known to be involved in nerve cell growth, were seen to be more active after the aromatic-turmerone infusion.

Scientists say the compound may encourage a proliferation of brain cells.

Source: BBCNews Read more

‘Good’ mosquitoes

Brazil releases ‘good’ mosquitoes to fight dengue fever

Capture  - The BBC's Julia Carneiro watched as the mosquitoes were released

Capture – The BBC’s Julia Carneiro watched as the mosquitoes were released

Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with bacteria that suppress dengue fever.

The hope is they will multiply, breed and become the majority of mosquitoes, thus reducing cases of the disease.

The initiative is part of a programme also taking place in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The intracellular bacteria, Wolbachia, being introduced cannot be transmitted to humans.

The programme started in 2012 says Luciano Moreira of the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz, who is leading the project in Brazil .

“Our teams performed weekly visits to the four neighbourhoods in Rio being targeted. Mosquitoes were analysed after collection in special traps.

“Transparency and proper information for the households is a priority. ”

Ten thousands mosquitoes will be released each month for four months with the first release in Tubiacanga, in the north of Rio.

‘Good’ bacteria

The bacterium Wolbachia is found in 60% of insects. It acts like a vaccine for the mosquito which carries dengue, Aedes aegypti, stopping the dengue virus multiplying in its body.

Wolbachia also has an effect on reproduction. If a contaminated male fertilises the eggs of a female without the bacteria, these eggs do not turn into larvae.

If the male and female are contaminated or if only a female has the bacteria, all future generations of mosquito will carry Wolbachia.

As a result, Aedes mosquitoes with Wolbachia become predominant without researchers having to constantly release more contaminated insects.

In Australia this happened within 10 weeks on average.

The research on Wolbachia began at the University of Monash in Australia in 2008. The researchers allowed the mosquitoes to feed on their own arms for five years because of concerns at the time Wolbachia could infect humans and domestic animals.

Three more neighbourhoods will be targeted next, and large scale studies to evaluate the effect of the strategy are planned for 2016.

Dengue re-emerged in Brazil in 1981 after an absence of more than 20 years.

Over the next 30 years, seven million cases were reported.

Brazil leads the world in the number of dengue cases, with 3.2 million cases and 800 deaths reported in the 2009-14 period.

Source: BBCNews

Change the World Wednesday – 24th Sep

This past week I have resolved to spend more time outdoors; just being with nature. Listening to the world around us was a recent CTWW challenge. Each day I have set aside 15 -30 minutes to walk around our praça (park) and then to just sit and observe.

For example a few days ago before we had a two-day cold snap, the air was full of dragon/damsel flies (I couldn’t tell which while they were on the wing) fascinating, I have never seen a swarm like it before.

We have a beautiful tree in the middle, it was in flower.

I have no idea what sort of tree it is. It’s just nice.

Following comments, I discovered it was probably an acacia tree.

So many people today are in such a rush, their lives are stressful, they don’t have a moment to stop and enjoy what is around them. I find it so peaceful to just sit and observe.

Click the banner for full post

There isn’t a CTWW challenge this week.

Small has done a bunk.

I suspect it is for good reason. So she has left us freelance and will be back on 8th Oct.

Until then, please continue with last week’s challenge, choose a challenge from THIS PAGE, create your own challenge, or … take a break!

There’s heaps of ideas in her list of past challenges, but this week, I am not going to rummage through it. I’ll prepare something for next week.

In the meantime I am going to claim that my resolution above is my answer and post for this week. Make it a daily ritual to take time out, get off my chuff and get outside. My life is mainly sedentary, due to my need to use a walking stick for security to walk longer distances; whereas around the praça I don’t need it. I work on the basis that if I fall over, the locals know where I live and will get me home.

Nigris and makimonos

Nigris and makimonos

Actually, there is an extension to the freelance nature of the challenge. This week I have decided to learn how to make sushi. I love sushi, I can’t always afford sushi, so I am going to make sushi at home.

I am a chef, but sushi has not previously been a part of my repetoire.

I am quite familiar with the eating aspect of of sushi and therefore know many of the terms, but research googling over the last week has enhanced my knowledge.

Did you know that the term sushi doesn’t actually refer to the fish, it means the vinegared rice used in the art. Many people wrongly call nigris, sushi.

This morning I am going exploring. A student from last night’s group told me of a shop where the makings and accoutrement for sushi are cheaper than the locally recognised oriental supply store.

California roll

California roll

Now there are two reasons why I mention my sushi making endeavour here.

Firstly, I am looking at making more vegetarian type things, makimonos with fruit and vegetables, mostly called California rolls. California rolls generally have kani (a processed crab meat stick) in them. I don’t like that stuff, I am dubious about the contents; a bit like ‘pink slime’.

So I am going to steer away from the processed aspects of making sushi.

Secondly, I am going to look at making my sushi techniques as green as possible.

I doubt whether my first attempts will look as glamorous as these photos, but they say practice makes perfect.

So there you have it. I have two answers to the CTWW challenge this week.

See you all next week.

Simple Green Ideas

We’ve all got bits and pieces around the house, in the kitchen, backyard or shed. Bits and pieces that seemingly make no sense, or seem irrelavent to recycling or repurposing.

But with a bit of imagination, they can become something.

golfballelements

Golfball elements from an old IBM Selectric typewriter

silverspoons

The ends of sliver spoons

See what you have around the house or stored in the attic that makes you stretch your imagination…

Monday Moaning

I am LIVID!

I really am, when I read this I just about blew a valve!

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Ploys to make fur ‘respectable’ for the youth

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Barbie dolls wearing fur (picture from One Green Planet)

Only 58 % of 18 to 24-year-olds in a poll believed it WRONG to use fur!

I  found this dismal statistic when reading Lorraine Fisher’s article in the Mail Online – March 2014 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2582226/How-fur-industry-clawed-way-Lavishing-gifts-celebs-Targeting-children-classroom-The-cynical-ploys-making-fur-respectable-again.html#ixzz3Dr13WeP8).

Even more depressing, though, was realising how furriers and fashion designers are trying to lure young people into buying real fur produce. To do this, these manufacturers are moving away from the ‘luxurious, heavy’ look of fur and producing  a ‘lighter, colourful and fun’ product.  

In other words, not only are creatures being needlessly skinned for their fur but their fur is now being disguised through dye and shearing. THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.

Source: Fur out of the Closet Read and see more

My source: GarryRoberts.com

Opinion:

I can understand using leather and pelts from animals killed for consumption. This is using the whole animal.

But to raise animals, or trap them just for their fur is wrong.

It’s an abomination to advertise furs in this way using ploys like Barbie; undoing years of work to stop the fur trade.

Nature Ramble

This is from Papua New Guinea.

I’m going to share a video clip with you.

We’ve all seen photos or clips about volcanoes erupting. But I wager that you, like me, have never seen an eruption start. Watch this, it starts with a bang; you can see the shock wave and later feel it.

Wasn’t that awesome?

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