Posts Tagged ‘junk’

Simple Green Ideas

What can kids do on a rainy day? Something that doesn’t involve X-Box or Playstation or TV!

One of the banes of modern shopping is the ubiquitous polystyrene try.

Food comes like this...

Food comes like this…

You get left with this...

You get left with this…

What to do?

I used to wash them and most would finish up in the ‘junk box’ along with all sorts of other knick-knacks.

On a rainy day I’d get out the junk box, sellotape, glue, paints, etc set it on the veranda and tell the kids to get to it and use their imaginations.

They’d come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

Like this…

The result of imagination

The result of imagination

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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…

Change the World Wednesday – 10 Sep

goiababranca

White guava

Here we go again. I woke this morning to find two big goiaba branca just waiting to be plucked.

And plucked they were, then eaten for breakfast.

Delicious they were.

And all this before coffee…

I surprise myself sometimes.

I am pleased to report that the coffee situation has been rectified. Coffee is not merely a beverage, it is a cup of liquid sanity.

Last week I extended my foray to the dumping ground and dragged home another lovely piece of wood.

Grotty yard table

Grotty yard table standing to the side

My orignial yard table was a grotty old thing.

It is now the wind break for my latest addition.

My yard now sports a respectable table

My yard now sports a respectable table – the lighting was terrible for the photo this morning.

My new BBQ corner, still supported by one of the grotty old stoves that I replaced. But it’s a great place to store charcoal.

By collecting other people’s throw-outs, my lot improves; little by little.

.

Remember my celery butt? Now planted in a pot of its own and thriving.

My celery butt

Okay, it’s time for this week’s CTWW.

Click the banner for full post

The week we are looking at spreading the good word. Bringing other people into the ‘green’ fold.

All of the green-living activities which we, as Eco-conscious people, adopt help control climate change. But we need more people to climb on board. So, this week, encourage others to take action against climate change. Need some ideas? Write a post about the situation and ask your readers to take on an Eco-friendly activity. Open a conversation with friends and family. Write to officials with your concerns and suggest actions which they can take. The idea, this week, is to get other people thinking about climate change and acting against this threat.

 

Various shades of green

Various shades of green

A great idea. But just a post here, is preaching to the converted. Let’s face it, most of the people are here becasue they are already various shades of green.

So I propose to add an intro on some of my other blogs inviting readers to come and look at this CTWW. It doesn’t sound like a great deal, but some of my blogs have 1,000+ followers, if I can generate the slightest impetus for a few of them to come and at least look at CTWW, then I win.

I agree with the sentiment of writing to officials. But sometimes I feel that we are banging our heads against the proverbial brick wall.

Proverbial brick wall

Proverbial brick wall

And it hurts.

To really make a change, we have to tackle the governments. Once we have tackled the governments, we have to get them to tackle the capitalists. And only then will we see some meaningful changes to the status quo. We have to use our collective votes to ban this ‘two-party’ system; where one is just as bad as the other.

Meanwhile we still have our brick wall.

Here in Brazil we will have elections in October. There were three serious contenders for president. Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent; Aércio Neves, great on economics and infrastructure; and Eduardo Campos, who died a couple of weeks ago in a plane crash. Now on an average, Dilma was polling high, then came Aércio who was catching her up. Eduardo was struggling to get into double figures. His running mate, Marina da Silva has stepped into his shoes. This has changed the game. Dilma and Marina are neck and neck, with Aércio trailing a third.

greenworld

Brazil could become the greenest country

Sorry to bore you with all this political background, but you are about to see why.

If Marina da Silva becomes presidenta, Brazil could become the greenest country on the planet.

Marina, a former minister for the environment, is probably the most conscious politician ever in matters of the environment.

The capitalist agriculture sector is quivering in it’s collective boots; because she will reform, boy how she will reform.

Deforestation in the Amazon could stop overnight.

Ecological and social disasters like the Belo Monte hydro power scheme could have the plug pulled.

When questioned on this, she is keeping mum; a sure indication that she is thinking.

She will aim at showing the world that green is achieveable.

There is a drawback with Marina, she is an evangelical and could take the country backwards in contentious social issues like same sex marriage.

But there is hope.

 

Change the World Wednesday – 12th Dec

On a roll, and can’t stop.

Read this yesterday morning…

On the 12th day of Christmas … your gift will just be junk

Every year we splurge on pointless, planet-trashing products, most of which are not wanted. Why not just bake them a cake?

Illustration by Daniel Pudles

There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly-button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub-holder; a “hilarious” inflatable Zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World Map.

They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For 30 seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that, of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold on to are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (wearing out or breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine T-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped iPhone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog. No one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.

The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.

People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smartphone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and by the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.

In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot. No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food, or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It’s grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption.

This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask, “spending on what?” When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.

Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. “I always knit my gifts,” says a woman in a TV ad for an electronics outlet. “Well you shouldn’t,” replies the narrator. An ad for a Google tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7’s special features. The best things in life are free, but we’ve found a way of selling them to you.

The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010, a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population. The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this Earth are diminished.

So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week’s edition of Radio 4’s The Moral Maze, in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it somehow with authoritarianism. When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.

Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for God’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree

George Monbiot

How right he is, we are literally trashing the planet to buy and give presents that are, in the main, useless trash.

The challenge

Show that you care this Christmas, find some alternative way of showing that you care.

or

If you must give a present, make something from recycled materials.

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