Posts Tagged ‘plants’

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.

Satireday on Eco-Crap

screamingpeppers

Make you Fink on Friday

Mother Nature’s ingenuity knows no bounds.

And man is constantly uspetting the balance.

Carnivores help trees thrive without thorns, study says

Thorns are among the defences available to plants to stop them being eaten by herbivores

The presence of carnivores helps plants without thorny defences thrive, a study of life on the savannah reveals.

Researchers found that species without thorns thrived in areas favoured by carnivores because plant-eating animals deemed it too risky to graze at these sites.

The team added that declining carnivore numbers was likely to have an impact on the links that connect carnivores, herbivores, plants and people.

“Our observations indicate that carnivores, like leopards and wild dogs, shape where herbivores eat,” explained co-author Adam Ford from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

“Plant defences, such as thorns, shape what herbivores eat.”

“Plants have two pathways to success. You either protect yourself from herbivores by growing large thorns, or thrive in areas that are risky to your predators; plant eaters.”

He added that the delicate ecological equilibrium between the animal and plant kingdoms was likely to be disrupted in some regions.

Dr Ford observed: “As human activities continue to reduce populations of predators, herbivores like impala become willing to feed in areas that used to be risky, consuming more preferred vegetation and – ironically – allowing less-preferred thorny plant species to take over.”

A study published earlier this year suggested that three-quarters of the planet’s large carnivores were experiencing declines in their populations.

It added that the majority now only occupied less than half of their historic range, and this contraction could have a wide-reaching and long-lasting impact on ecosystems.

Source: BBCNews Read and see more.

Opinion:

So, with the vast reduction in the number of carnivores does that mean that defenceless plants will take a hammering and the world lose other carbon dioxide consumming areas other than rainforests?

Simple Green Ideas

This is more of a repurpose. It’s also a personal effort.

Many of us have plants growing around the yard, in pots, tins, whatever.

Plants in odd tins

Plants in odd tins

I began to get so many for the yard, that I did this…

Plants on the street

My plants on the street & Kitty

I used them to make a barrier on the footpath (sidewalk for our American cousins) to prevent vehicles parking there.

Parking on footpaths is epidemic in Brazil, illegal, but everyone does it.

My fear is that the continual weight of cars, and if some idiot parks a truck there, will break the thin unreinforced concrete.

I have another almost ready to add.

The stones are the type used to make the old style roads here, you can find them around the streets. I do and carry them home to repurpose…

The Siamese type cat is the one that is in the process of adopting me. Kitty (pronounced Kitchy in Portuguese) has a belly full of paws and claws, and decided that my place and me are better than her current situation. Last night she got brave enough to jump up on the sofa for the first time while I was watching TV for a stroke. I feed her because she started coming here to steal Clorinha’s food, and I have guessed that she is not getting enough at home to feed both her and her extra baggage.

I realise that such a display on the footpath would be frowned on, if not illegal, in parts of the world where you would have neighbours and/or councils who would order their removal; which is why I live in Brazil and not the First World, my neighbours think it’s lovely despite the crappy looking tins. I am waiting for someone to offer me leftover paint… that I will recycle.

Ponder… why do Americans call it a sidewalk and not a footpath? I walk on my feet, not my side!

Make you Fink on Friday

deadbutterfly

Reblogged from: Perspectives on life, universe and everything

Funeral of the last butterfly

I was invited
to the funeral
of the last butterfly
All the birds were there
Insects made a wreath
Queen bee sung a melancholy
Grief too great to bear
Colours already left
Now the last butterfly gone
Everyone felt so lonely
Earthlings were alone
Far away in the sky
a thunder cloud
lightning strike,
a Phoenix flew in
Tears in its eyes,
sprayed on butterfly wings
Butterfly come to life
In all our hearts
Light of her soul
removed despair
Humanity wake up
When would you care
Planet is for all
We have to share
Might won’t work
win if we dare
Extinction of plants
Insects, animals all admire
Greenery in gardens
Fields and shire
Everything could go
If we don’t spare
Consume less,
Don’t scare
Nature, heavens
Water, our own air
Wind may blow
So does rain
Last butterfly
may flutter again
I wish, hope and pray

—o0o—

Change the World Wednesday – 7th May

toilet-humor-flushedI’ve had a dodgy belly since Monday, it’s improving.

So I haven’t really any news updates, my mind has been elsewhere, mainly in the throne room.

I’ll spare you the grisly details and move right along.

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This week’s CTWW.

Light Pollution

Did you know that artificial outdoor lights affect the environment? Beyond the use of energy, they affect plants and animals.

Light pollution is totally preventable.

This week, reduce light pollution. Here are some suggestions:

  • Turn off indoor lighting which isn’t necessary. In rooms where lights are required, be sure to close the curtains so that the glow doesn’t escape outdoors.
  • Install a motion detector on outdoor security lighting.
  • Use lights only when necessary … avoid dusk-to-dawn lighting (for example, a porch light doesn’t need to be on all night).
  • Lower the wattage on outdoor lights (a 300 watt flood light is not necessary).
  • Light only what needs to be lit. For example, if you need a front porch light, be sure that it lights the door and not the entire yard.
  • Use full cutoff, low-glare fixtures (also called night sky friendly outdoor lighting fixtures). These fixtures direct the light to the ground. They typically have a cap, on top, which restricts the glow from affecting the sky or other areas.
  • Instead of a light for your driveaway, consider reflectors.
  • Share information on your blog and/or with your friends … many people don’t know the problems with light pollution.

 

Globally, we light up the planet every night.

light-pollution

When you consider that, it means there is a lot of confused bugs out there.

Looking at Small’s list:

I do turn off unused lights in the house, but I don’t have curtains. Generally the nights here are hot and you need the windows open for the air to circulate.

I have only one outdoor light. Three fittings, but I only use one. It is on only when needed. It is a low wattage CFL bulb in the carport, so it has little upward reflection.

No driveway, problem solved.

Personal Story

There is another aspect to light pollution that Small hasn’t covered and that is the ability to see the night sky. The light pollution in the cities prevents you from seeing the starlight.

Years ago, when I was a tour guide in Bolivia, one of the first stops was Uyuni in the southwest. The trip involved an overnight visit to the Salar de Uyuni; a beautiful place.

Looking across the salt lake from Isla de Pescadores

Looking across the salt lake from Isla de Pescadores

After the salt lake trip we ventured on and overnighted in a small adobe village called Alota. Really it should have been named Notalota.

Before we reached Alota, I had told the tourists to look up as soon as the stepped out of our trucks. We always arrived about 8pm, total darkness.

Alota had no power, no lights, no light pollution. There was no man-made light source for hundreds of kilometres.

As they got out and looked up, there were just gasps; “Oh, wow!”

My tourists were generally city-dwellers, and they’d never seen the night-sky without pollution. Now they were looking at ‘virgin’ sky, the Milky Way looked as though someone had painted it white.

The Milky Way from the Uyuni salt lake, the view was even better from Alota

The Milky Way from the Uyuni salt lake, the view was even better from Alota

These people had never seen so many stars before, they had never imagined that there were so many stars.

Light pollution not only adversely affects the environment, it also stunts our own understanding our our place in the universe.

When you are standing in the dark in the middle of nowhere looking up at the night sky, you succumb to the realisation of how insignificant man is.

 

Simple Green Ideas

Most homes replace one of these at sometime. How long do they hang around the backyard before we finally throw them out?

The Thunder Box

plantthrone

Turn your throne into a thing of beauty.

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