Posts Tagged ‘CTWW’

Change the World Wednesday – 22nd Oct

Eyedrops

Eye drops

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.

Brain is till on Brazilian Standard Time

Brain is till on Brazilian Standard Time

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.

Cobblestones are more than just picturesque

Cobblestones are more than just picturesque

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.

My beetroot is in a pickle

My beetroot is in a pickle

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.

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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
  • Espada de São Jorge - Sansevieria trifasciata
    Espada de São Jorge
  • 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.

Change the World Wednesday – 15th Oct

What is it?

A big moth is as far as I can classify this at the moment

A big brown moth is as far as I can classify this at the moment

I took this this morning. As I stepped out of the front door I disturbed it and it flew into the outside laundry shelter. It was quite big, 10cm (4″) across.

The Mean Green Leaf Eating Machine from some months back

Maybe it is my Mean Green Leaf Eating Machine

Well, I was right.

First page of google images showed the same fellow. Indeed it is a big brown moth, atested to on a Mexican home flora and fauna blog. Another blog says it is a large brown moth…

They’re so helpful.

So they’re found in Mexico, and now I see in Ecuador too.

Finally, I find on page 9, an authority. It’s a Black Witch Moth (Ascalapha odorata); and it’s not my MGLEM, the caterpillars of this baby are reddish brown. It is sometimes calld a Bat Moth.

So there you have it my nature observation of the morning.

You remember my celery butt that failed.

Well, I left the bucket filled with my compost, and several things have sprouted from the seeds that invariably end up there.

Tomatoes, papaya and an orange.

This is how I grow most of my plants from self sown seeds.

All from a bucket full of muck

All from a bucket full of muck

I am ready to plant more tomatoes, as the current ones are close to failing. The papaya and orange I will give away to a deserving home because I already have two oranges and three papaya growing.

My rosemary…

The new rosemary is thriving

The new rosemary is thriving

Finally, to hark back to needs vs wants of last week. I mentioned that I want a TV stand as the current one is made of bits and pieces. Well, I want one, but I don’t need one.

Here is my current affair.

Made of bits and pieces

Made of bits and pieces

Here’s a run down. Two old wardrobe drawers on edge supporting the side of an old wardrobe (closet). Fruit boxes either side of the TV, another under the stand and three on the right with wine. The cabinette on top is part of a set of kitchen cupboards. All of this came from the street. Total cost R$0. It’s not elegant, it’s functional. I doubt I would get a commercial stand to hold so much. So, in the meantime it is a want, not a need.

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Now, I need more coffee to tackle this week’s CTWW.

Got coffee…. here we go.

Monitors.

This week, reduce the brightness of your monitor to the lowest level you can comfortably stand. Even lowering it one or two “notches” will help. Then, set the energy saving preferences to turn off the display (yes, turn it off rather than use a screen saver) when dormant for a short time (2-15 minutes). Do the same thing on mobile devices to extend their battery life.

beingmonitoredSmall is right; screen savers do nothing to save/reduce power. The idea of a screen saver is merely to prevent a single image burning itself into the screen. Now, I’m not sure this applies to LCD screens, but was certainly the case for the old cathode tube monitors.

I recently had problems with my LCD screen and had to get the power pack replaced. Meanwhile, I was two months with an old cathode monitor. With my 24/7 usage, it added R$20 to my power bill.

Thankfully, I am back on my LCD screen.

Now I am at the keyboard most of the day, so having the power off setting is rather useless for me. If I leave the house for shopping or work, I simply flip the switch and physically turn the screen off, the same at night.

My brightness setting is also already on low, not for economy, but I find it more relaxing on the eyes.

That’s my offering for this week.

Change the World Wednesday – 8th Oct

First of all welcome back Small, so nice to see your avatar popping up all over my blog. Pleased to read about your mom, hope all goes well.

Here’s an update on the kassod tree in the praça, it’s now in full flower.

KJassod tree in full flower

Kassod tree in full flower

Earlier this week I was in town, and I passed by the small stall where I bought my sage plant. They had it, tomilho (thyme), they also had alecrim (rosemary), but it’s been a tight month this month, I only got the thyme. The plants are R$3 each (about $1.20). Now the thyme is in the same can as the sage.

Parsley, sage & thyme

Parsley, sage & thyme

You can see one lot of parsley in the background, these I was lucky enough to find seeds for and planted about a year ago. I use the parsley almost daily in the kitchen.

I hate wasting food. Yesterday’s lunch I used three staleish hamburger buns, pressed down the middle to make a hollow, toasted them off in the oven, then made the hollow deeper. I filled the buns with chopped green tomatoes, and and egg mixture, topped them off with grated cheese and a sprinkle of sesame seeds; popped them back in the oven for 10 minutes.

In the past here I have complained about not being able to buy bulk goods here. I have some good news. I have found a shop that sells cooking ingredients in bulk. The downside is they use plastic bags. As I am a new customer, I haven’t broached the subject of resusing my own bags; but I will.

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Moving right along…

CTWW – Need vs Want

This week, before spending any money, consider whether a purchase is a “need”, a very important “want” which supports a need, or simply a “want” (you might want to start a list). Consider each item carefully based on it’s contribution to your survival. Next, take a look at the want list and avoid spending money on those items. The idea with this challenge is to evaluate our spending habits (raising our awareness on wants versus needs) and reduce spending on unnecessary stuff.

I want all sorts of things, but I rarely get them.

Most of you will know that this year I have struggled a bit, and most of the time I have been strapped for cash, so the need vs want issue has become the norm for me. Actually it always has been, it’s just more poignant at the moment. I live frugally, I always have done, and I generally take the view that I don’t buy things that I don’t need. But then I am a little more Bohemian than most; I am not ashamed to make do when I have to. I don’t need to ‘keep up with the Joneses’; that’s bullshit.

I want a wardrobe (closet), I don’t have one. Not having one won’t kill me. I want a computer desk, I am using upturned drawers to support the side of an old wardrobe. Not having one won’t kill me. I want a TV stand, My current arrangement is parts of this and that with four fruit boxes. Not having one won’t kill me.

Oh, yes, I have wants, but they are not needs.

Small mentioned TV advertising, here we have new cars, big screen TVs and the latest smartphones being thrust down our throats all the time. On me the advertisers are wasting their money. I don’t want a car, I wouldn’t have a big screen or HDTV if you gave it to me, and the idea of a smartphone sends chills up my spine. I have never rushed out and bought something advertised on TV. For me the only advertising on TV that I heed is when & which supermarket has my coffee or milk on special. I watched a supermarket ad last night, the only thing they advertised that I needed was milk, and the brand was crap; there was nothing else that I would contemplate buying – I neither need nor want it nor use it.

The only thing that I want rather than need and buy is my booze. I collect booze, wine, liqueurs, spirits and some beer. Not on a big scale, my collection is modest. I only buy when I have a bit of extra money.

For me that is the little frilly bits in my life.

I am considering a purchase this week. I badly need new bed sheets. Two of the ones I have have started to fray badly, and one will give up the ghost the next time I use it, the other is not far behind. The other day when I was in town I looked at two shops to get an idea of prices, I have another two to check. Then I will make my decision. I don’t just rush out and buy the first thing I see.

The old bed sheets, one will become table napkins for BBQ use and kitchen cloths and one will become curtains for my bedroom.

That’s my offering, at 2:20am it’s time to go beck to bed.

Change the World Wednesday – 1st Oct

A problem tree

Well, the tree problem is still around.

Thanks to a regular reader, who sought the help of her knowledgable father, it’s a Kassod tree. Not an acacia after all; although they are similar, the acacia is more spindly.

Kassods are from Asia, they are used in Thai and Burmese cuisine, and have a use in medicine, although overuse can cause liver failure.

Sad news. My attempt to grow a sprout of my beefsteak plant failed; I changed the water in the jar and two days later it withered. So did the celery base that had sprouted. I will have to try again.

My sushi was more successful. I had a trial run at home, then the next day, the real McCoy.

My sushi platter for lunch at the botequim. Looked more glamorous than I thought.

Now I have top find a regular source of the short grained rice.

I’ve been for my constitutional around the park today, and the kassod tree is in full flower; dark green studded with bright yellow. I came to get the camera for an update photo, but discovered the battery was flat.

Once again, Small is still on her brief hiatus, so we’ll continue. No link to click to today.

Small returns next week, if all goes as planned.

If this is your first visit to my blog, then I suggest you browse through the the weekly CTWW posts that I have written. Simply type CTWW in the grassy area of the top banner.

Those of you more familiar with my accepting each challenge that Small puts up, will know that I am striving little by little to become greener; not always with success, there have been some failures.

But even before CTWW, I was somewhat green.

It wasn’t intentional, it was the way I was brought up. Reusing stuff, not wasting stuff (particularly food), but even when making something I was taught to make the most of all material; that way, if I had extra, the extra piece was bigger and more use at a later date.

My mum was a great housekeeper, a fact she denied often. She always made jams, preserves and ketchup, every year. We never bought this stuff until later years when she had a small business and less time. She baked, she baked a lot, she cooked all our meals. We had TV dinners once, because they had become the tihing, advertised on the telly. Afterwards she declared that we would never have another load of crap (one of the few times I heard my mother use a ‘naughty’ word).

My father was also diligent. We always had a thriving vege garden. His carpentry skills rubbed off on me somewhat, as did his mechanical training.

So I was surrounded by ordinary examples that most people have discarded.

The last time I shot competion in Peru, 2001

The last time I shot competion in Peru, 2001

Now, I make my own pickled onions and preserves, I cook at home, I love cooking, I am a chef. I hate dishes. I make things out of wood, because it’s cheaper than buying. I used to do all the mechanical work on my cars, even to reconditioning the motor. In my sport which was fullbore shooting, I reloaded hundreds of thousands of rounds (bullets) thereby saving the manufacture of new ones. Like my father, I always strived to have things growing.

Of course, I gave up shooting many years ago, similarly I haven’t had a car in twenty years. Besdies today with cars, you need a university degree just to open the hood. It’s all high tech, and computerisation, I would be lost.

So I am a product of the old school. They call today progress, I’m afraid I don’t.

I distrust anything that is packaged or pre-cooked in the supermarket. I have learned that corporations lie through their teeth to sell their products that are being made with ever cheaper ingredients that are health hazards simply to increase their profits.

Sadly, there are some many people in the world who swallow their bullshit hook, line and sinker. People today believe the bullshit assuming that companies don’t/can’t/won’t lie.

Look at the obesity epidemic. They blame the sugar, they blame the salt, they blame the cholesterol, they blame the butter… that list goes on ad infinitum. But they never blame their products, HFCS are to blame. HFCS appears in everything you buy in the supermarket. HFCS is one of the biggest threats to your body.

No, this is NOT progress.

I will not change my ways, I will remain a velho caduco (grumpy old man).

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.

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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.

Change the World Wednesday – 17th Sep

Emmylee at my birthday BBQ

Emmylee at my birthday BBQ

It’s been a quiet week after my bursts of energy around my birthday. Speaking of which, today is Emmylee’s.

*ties knot in finger to remember to phone her*

Give Emms my camera and I get an 8gb SD chip full of selfies…

Anyway, today she’s reached the ripe old age of eight.

BIG news, American waistlines have grown an inch in the last decade.

More news, to fight cancer… roll in the kitty litter.

It appears that the bacteria, Toxoplasma gondii, we get from our feline buddies and is carried by 60% of the population is a cancer hunting/destroying bacteria. What can I say, get closer to your pussy! Cheaper than chemotherapy.

Sad news…

The reason we need Marina da Silva for presidenta! (See last wee’ks CTWW)

The dams are dry, sorry too late

In recent months Brazil has undergone a severe water shortage, particularly in the state of São Paulo. A report in the news this morning is rather disturbing. It appears that deforestation of the Amazon basin has reached a threshhold The vegetation of the Amazon basin let moisture rise and so produce the clouds that moved across the country and fell as rain. Apparently, there is not enough vegetation left to make suffcient moisture to form the necessary clouds. Brazil’s inaction, or insufficient action, has caused their own demise. Had the country been more prudent earlier, we wouldn’t have these drought problems. Another example of man’s inability to husband the planet effectively.

This week it was reported that deforestation in Brazil increased for the first time in the last few years, despite a major illegal logging band being dismantled.

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Now let’s move along.

This week’s CTWW is about CFCs

This week, let’s deal with any ozone-depleting chemicals in our lives. Here are some steps to take:

  • Check labels and avoid any solvents, cleaning supplies, foams, etc. which contain CFCs (in addition to the common names mentioned above, they might be found on the label as methane, ethane, Trichlorotrifluoroethane).
  • Check storage areas for old aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, or air conditioning units and dispose of them properly (call your hazardous waste disposal department for information on the best way to dispose of them).

There’s a lot more, check the banner above for the rest.

greencheckMy life is CFC Free.

My refrigerator is only a couple of years old and CFC free.

I don’t have any old stuff like aerosols, fire extinguishers, etc in use that might contain CFCs; and I don’t use air conditioning.

However, I do still have my two old fridges that are bound to have CFCs. I haven’t thrown them out as I use them in the carport for storage cupboards.

“In Brazil, a pilot project was launched to remedy this problem. Working within the framework of the Swiss Climate Protection Initiative, the Swiss foundation SENS International launched a project to recycle old refrigerators and other cooling appliances in a manner compliant with Swiss standards.
It is not enough to merely replace old refrigerators with more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly ones. The old appliances also need to be recycled in a manner that ensures the complete extraction and destruction of CFCs. However, this requires a certain degree of know-how, specific equipment and facilities as well as new legislation. Until fairly recently, these factors were missing.”Source No date given.

The problem is the recycling plant is in São Paulo, 460km away. I’ll have to look into this further and see if there are any facilities here in Rio.

Another source tells me there is a comprehensive recycling programm for old fridges but doesn’t sy where, have to look further.

Meanwhile, it’s back to bed… 3am writing CTWW, I am seriously in need of therapy.

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

.

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.

Change the World Wednesday – 30th Jul

followed-blog-200-1xThe 26th was the third birthday for this blog. I have passed 200 followers and more than 1,000 ‘likes’. Actually, I got the 1337 (LEET) award for likes.

likeable-blog-1337-2xEver wondered what this 1337 means, why that is significant?

No, me neither. But I stumbled across the answer in my browsing. It means ‘elite’ and stems from the code used principally by hackers, 31337, later shortened to 1337, LEET.

One more useless fact bought to your screen by too much coffee.

Small is back with us this week.

The world returns to normal.

Click the banner for the full post

This week’s CTWW is about batteries.

The reusable type.

 

If you are not using rechargeable batteries, please make plans to buy them when you next need batteries. As you replace single-use versions, be sure to recycle them rather than toss them into the trash bin.

 

OR …

If you have already made the switch to rechargeable batteries, please find one single-use item in your home and replace it with a reusable version.

 

OR …

If you’ve banned single-use items from your life, please share one of your favorite “upgrades” to reusable.

 

I have had a bad experience with battery rechargers. I gave up on them as I had six go ‘fut’ within a short space of time and at around R$35 a time, that’s expensive.

I actually use very few batteries. I have my TV remote that I rarely use (I turn my TV off at the set), which leaves the batteries enough power to run my wall clock for a couple of months. So I get double use from my normal batteries.

I changed my camera from an external rechargeable battery type, to an internal rechargeable battery, that has never failed me.

That’s it! No other batteries in the house.

Sharing one of my favourite upgrades to “reusable”; here’s one that will surprise you:

pizzabox

Old pizza boxes

Yes, I upgrade, repurpose and recycle my pizza boxes.

When Clorinha was a kitten, she’s a big pussy now. I used my pizza box base with sand as a litter box.

When it’s full, put on the lid for easy stinkless disposal.

My litter boxes went on the compost heap, and turned over the compost on top. Two months later… POOF! All gone.

Now that she’s a big pussy, my pizza boxes go out for the recycle collection.

That’s all for this week.

 

Change the World Wednesday – 23rd Jul

No photos to bore you with today.

Nothing really to update either;

Click the banner for the full post

So let’s roll right along with this week’s CTWW.

This week Small has done a bunk.

She’s M.I.A.

Actually, I knew this was coming, just didn’t know when. She’s moving.

Good luck! I hate moving house.

So, the CTWW is continuing what we did last week. Click on the CTWW banner or visit my last week’s CTWW post.

This week my old cellphone gave up the ghost. I can’t complain, it was given to me, the same as my first cellphone. I have had 10 years of cost free cellphones.

I eventually got a new one on Monday.

Steam Punk Cellphone

Steam Punk Cellphone

Of course, it’s made of plastic. Only Steam Punk cellphones are made of steel.

I had looked around some shops and all they had were smartphones, I didn’t want a smartphone, I am smart enough to figure most things out.

I eventually found a kiosk selling such items in another department store I visited.

Simple, camera, music, sms, qwerty keys and it even makes phone calls. $129 (about US$55); it fitted the budget.

I expected it to come coddled in plastic and was pleased to find that it didn’t.

Only the battery was sealed in a small plastic bag, that and the rest was packed in a simple cardboard box.

Now, I have the problem. How to dispose of an old cellphone. It’s not repairable, it was too old when I got it; so that is not an option. I am looking now for a responsible way to dump it.

Not so easy when you live so far out of town. The velho oeste (Wild West) where I live is devoid of such niceties.

In the meantime, it RIPs with other PC bits and pieces in a box waiting a solution.

Perhaps the monitor repair chappy, knows. When I see him next, I’ll ask.

My new cellphone, Fire Orange…

So that’s my continuation of last week’s CTWW on plastics.

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