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10 Things YOU can do to Save our Planet

Sorry for my absence, I bought a run down 12m yacht in 2013, and since then have dedicated my life to fixing it up, living aboard and travelling the Pacific with my partner. I have started another website to reflect our life on the sea. Go to The Little Shipping Co. to find out more.

While going through my computer, and decluttering to make more space I found some blog posts I had written with the hope of finishing them off at a later date. The following is what I wrote with the aims of making a short film back in 2006. Life got in the way, and I never got around to making that film so here are my notes below (May be a little outdated!)

10 things you can do to save our planet

Its true. The proof is there that the planet is getting warmer at an alarming rate due to human activity. According to the IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change) we need a reduction of 60% by 2050 if we are to stabilise our climate and head off catastrophic effects. At this rate if we leave things to the politicians we might well have to wait for a catastrophe before we see any action. You may think little old you can’t make a difference, and that it is up to industry, big business and politicians to make change, but by making a lifestyle change you can cut your lifetime contribution to global warming by over 1000 tonnes of greenhouse gas… WITHOUT becoming a hermit or a hippy!

 

1. Plant a Garden.

By planting a vegetable garden, not only will you have the most nutritious fresh food at your fingertips, but you will connect with the earth just a little more and learn more about the planet and it’s intricate interwoven nature.

2. Don’t buy Made in China.

It may be cheaper but buying ‘Made in China’ supports the growth of China as a developing nation, yet they are still so poor so cannot afford to supply ‘clean’ energy so instead to support this rapid economic growth they are building old technology coal-fired power plants that emit tonnes of CO2 and acid-rain causing sulphur gas.

Would you prefer your health or money?

3. Buy Locally.

Instead support local businesses…

Importing goods from other places uses trucks, planes and other forms of transport that emit CO2. Buying locally not only supports the wellbeing of our own region or country’s economy but also abandons the need to use polluting forms of transport.

Eating locally can reduce food related greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.

4. Get out of the Car and on your Bike/Feet.

Using public transport cuts 60% of greenhouse emissions out of your travel.

Better still, biking or walking creates no carbon emissions at all!

…if not, change your driving habits or better still your car

5. Change your Driving Habits.

By driving 8 kms under the speed limit you save fuel and reduce emissions. Trade in your gas guzzler to a smaller-engined car, keep car serviced regularly and car pool and you can halve your greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Think About Your Appliances.

By choosing the most efficient appliances when you buy them, and using low-energy light bulbs you can lower emissions by 30%.

7. Support Renewable Energy Sources eg Wind, Water and Solar Power.

Do your research into which electricity providers use renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal and make the switch. Better yet get your own solar panels or go off grid.

8. The 3 R’s and 1 C.

R educe

R euse

R ecycle

C ompost

Reduce is the most important, so resist all those products and packaging you don’t need.

We are producing on average, 10 times our body weight in rubbish every year, and this rotting mass produces methane. Two thirds of household waste can be composted.

9. Dress for the Weather.

One of the easiest cheapest and fastest ways to cut back on your energy consumption is to reduce the amount of heating and cooling in your home.

40% of the greenhouse gases emitted from private homes come from climate control systems.

10. Avoid ‘Gassy’ Foods.

Eating less meat and dairy products means less methane-belching cows and sheep.

 

Not only will you be feeling ethically good about yourself but by easy lifestyle changes you can save the world from certain destruction.

 

There are many more things you can do to live a less destructive lifestyle, but these were the main 10 I came up with back in 2006.

I would love your comments with some of the things you are doing to help save the planet (and ourselves!)

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Picking Olives at the Police Station

I’ll never forget my partners face when he picked an olive from the tree for the first time and tried it! As those of you who have experienced this know, olives straight from the tree are disgusting and need to have the bitter oleuropeins removed. That is why the olives you buy have already had the oleuropeins removed through soaking, curing and fermenting.

Where I currently live in Mt Maunganui, New Zealand, the climate is coastal and cool temperate; warm and dry in summer and cool and wet in winter (without frost) and alot of people plant olive trees in their urban gardens as ornamental trees that do well in our mediterranean-like climate.

Thanks Mr. Policeman for the Olives

Mr Policeman has planted a beautiful big olive tree next to the footpath and it is loaded with olives after a really dry summer. I have added it to the For Greenies Communal Food Plants Google map. Olives in New Zealand are ready to pick in Autumn, around April/May when some of the green fruit is beginning to turn purple. Curious passers-by asked us what they were and were surprised to know they were olives. As we explained the process of curing them before eating we had lost about half of them. This is because curing olives requires time and patience, and alot of it!

How to Cure/Ferment Olives

This is the first time I have cured olives and all of the information I have read requires soaking of the olives in a saltwater brine solution, for up to six months, changing the brine every so often.

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Sustainable Streets in the Byron Shire [HD Video]

Sustainable Streets Organic Gardening Workshop

The Byron Shire Council in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia are providing the framework to empower residents to reconnect with their neighbours and to build resilient and sustainable communities.

The ‘Sustainable Streets’ program provides sustainable living information through a series of monthly sustainable living workshops where residents can also connect with neighbours, receive energy audits, free water-saving showerheads and shower timers and share seeds and surplus home grown produce.

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Chivoko Village Uses Video to Share Conservation Success [HD Video]

Participatory video is accessible to all genders and levels of education

Participatory Video is a method pioneered by Insightshare whereby a community of people are taught the basics of video production, how to plan a story and create a storyboard and then given a video camera and computer to produce a short film of their own choosing.

The purpose of the video is to create discussion, communicate issues, and ultimately make change.

Most documentaries are made by professional filmmakers who have years of experience behind a camera, and who have their own agenda, but through Participatory Video, putting the camera into the subjects hands helps them to express themselves and tell their own story exactly how it is.

In April 2011, supported by the AusAID-funded project “Building the resilience of communities and their ecosystems to the impacts of climate change in the Pacific”, led by The Nature Conservancy, I facilitated the first Participatory Video activity in the Solomon Islands, in the remote village of Chivoko on the north-west tip of Choiseul Island.

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The Summit Organics Farmwalk

Summit Organics Farm and Border Ranges backdrop. Photo: Peter Bracher

At Summit Organics, farmers Rod and Tania Bruin use no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers and still manage to grow quality fruit and vegetables on a commercial scale. Just how does a certified organic commercial farm work? For Greenies went along to one of their ‘Farmwalks’ in May 2010 and learnt about the process from seedling to harvesting, weeding without herbicides, the importance of compost and energy efficient irrigation. The day was topped off with a beautiful meal made by Russel Scott in his self-sufficient food caravan comprised entirely of Summit Organics fresh salad greens and locally produced vegetarian ingredients.

Check out Summit Organics Facebook Page for upcoming Farmwalk events!

Here is the For Greenies video summarising the day…

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Edible Streets Tour

For Greenies joined ‘Culture Club’ for a stroll around the streets of West End’s urban foodscape. What we found was a diverse array of sub-tropical fruit trees overhanging footpaths, edible vines spanning fences, and sprawling root crops replacing nature strip grass. This is a testament to the culturally diverse community and the favourable climate of sub-tropical Brisbane.

The tour involved plant identification as well as discussing the ethics of harvesting, share maps, what to do with surplus and how to contribute to the urban edible foodscape.

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