markus spiske 5sh24a7m0BU unsplash

5 Easy Ways to Fight Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most defining issues of our time. Many people see it as the most important issue we are facing in current times. From community destroying flooding, extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, rising temperatures and country-wide wildfires, there’s no doubt that we need to take action to find ways to fight climate change on a global level. 

Heatwaves are becoming more common, hotter than ever before and longer-lasting longer. Over the past 5 years, the country has seen temperatures rise to nearly 50 degrees (celsius) in some parts, which is not only having an effect on our health and wellbeing but also to our country and the plants and animals who live on it. 


“Since 1910, Australia’s climate has warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). In fact, without action, Australia is expected to warm as much as 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2090.”

Climate Reality Project

We know this doesn’t sound like much every day, you may be thinking “a degree or two here and there can’t hurt”, but in a country that is already hot and dry a degree, or 5 degrees, is a huge concern.

The Paris agreement was signed in 2016 limiting global warming temperature rises to a maximum of 1.5C but the fact is that even at this temperature, we are already seeing the huge impact of climate change. Not only does the rise in temperature cause our bushfire season to be longer and bigger, but droughts and heatwaves are also affecting our food production from agriculture and livestock, and the rise in water temperatures are also killing the Great Barrier Reef and affecting our Oceans.

We know that fighting climate change is not an easy task. Rising CO2 concentrations – and related global warming – will only stabilise once annual emissions reach net-zero, but there are some easy changes we can make to our day to day lives to help the cause and help our own health. We’ve put together a few ways to fight climate change which you can easily implement in your household today.

paddy o sullivan rsmlgiahfoU unsplash

Learn the facts and speak the truth!

Education is one of the best things you can do to start your journey in fighting climate change. We know there is A LOT of information out there, and far too many opinions about the right and the wrong way to deal with the situation, but reading the information out there is a great way to start on top of what is currently happening and how you can help. After all, the more you know, the more you can do!

Follow some independent news channels, join The Plastic pollution Coalition, follow some environmental influencers or eco-friendly business accounts on social media to get bite-size amounts information throughout your day if you’re overwhelmed by long, scientific articles and news stories. 

Once you have some information, talk to your friends and family and see what they are doing to help or what information they can offer. It doesn’t need to be a huge debate or an argument over the breakfast table but sharing ideas is the best way to spread the word and begin to influence others. Each small step goes a long way! Do you really need 3 soy sauce filled plastic fish with you sushi lunch, maybe you could ask for a squeeze from their large bottle. Sadly ironic right?….Eating fish, with the help of plastic fish, that kill the real fish, by eating the discarded plastic fish and then we eat the real fish poisoned by the plastic fish. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Energy, resources, fossil fuels, and environmental impacts all go into producing clothes, textiles, white goods, phones, computers etc. so focus on buying second-hand, up-cycling or reusing old things you have in your house. 

Focus on the proper disposal of the items which you really don’t need or use any more and find loving homes for them or find appropriate recycling points. Limit your food waste by buying only what you need and buying local food to reduce your food’s carbon footprint by the number of miles it has travelled.

Reduce the amount of plastic you use in any way you can by switching from single-use plastic items, like razors, water bottles and coffee cups and instead buy a reusable water bottle that you can keep refilling and take your own reusable bags with you when you next go shopping. The planet will thank you!

Eat your way to climate stability

The decisions we make about food can have a profound effect on the environment. Buying organic and local whenever possible, growing your own, only eating sustainable seafoods and eating more meat-free meals will all make your diet more climate-friendly. It’s not just about what we consume thought but also how much of that food we waste.

Food waste is responsible for 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Once in landfill, food waste breaks down and emits greenhouse gases, including not only carbon dioxide (CO2) but methane (CH4) – a gas 25 times more potent than CO2. Therefore, reducing the amount of food you send to landfill and composting any waste can help to reduce those CO2  emissions. 

Adjust your thermostat

Greenhouse gas emissions occur anytime non-renewable energy is used to heat our houses. One of the top tips for saving CO2 is to turn your thermostat down by 2 degrees C in the winter and up by 2 degrees in the summer. These are temperatures that you won’t even really notice, but make a huge difference to energy saving.

Try to think about when you will really need the house heating too and only turn the heating on when you are in the house. For example, if you’re heading for a trip away for the weekend and it’s the summertime, you could probably knock the heating off while you are away.

Likewise when it comes to your air conditioner, open up your house when the cool change comes in the evening and sleep with a light cotton sheet.

Walk or ride, don’t drive

Draw a 2km circle around your house and try to walk as much as possible within that circle. Walking or cycling is better for your physical and mental health, but ditching the car to limit the number of unnecessary car journeys are also a great way to reduce the number of carbon emissions you contribute to the atmosphere. Adding a basket or panniers to your bike instantly increases its versatility.

Use it as an excuse to explore your local area too, instead of driving off to that beauty spot or packed beach for a walk on the weekends, make the most of your own backyard and explore local parks and rivers within walking or riding distance of your house. You might be surprised at what you find!

There are hundreds of ways you can help but these are just a few easy ones to get you started. Once you get these in place you will be able to and want to, start introducing more and more into your daily life. The future is in our hands. The time is now to make our own small efforts to keep the Earth alive for our future generations.

Screenshot 2020 10 07 114340

Easy Ways To Go Zero Waste At Home

Zero waste living aims to minimise the impact of modern life by reducing the amount of waste we produce. It’s said that the average Australian produces 540kg of waste per year so it can seem daunting to imagine not producing any waste of any kind.

Going zero waste is definitely not going to happen overnight but if there’s one thing we can do for the planet, it’s to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Especially in our own homes. There are some really easy steps you can take to move towards a zero-waste home, so we’ve put together a list of some easy and budget-friendly ideas below to get you started.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect. Small changes which we make collectively can make a big impact so pick a couple that is achievable for you and implement these in your home today.

EASY WAYS TO GO ZERO WASTE AT HOME:

  1. Separate your rubbish

The first step to zero waste is separating your rubbish properly. Without this, you might be sending waste to landfills which could actually be recycled or composted or contaminating your recycling so it has to be sent to landfills. Contaminated rubbish affects what will and won’t be sent to recycling.

An easy way to do this is to install four bins at home. One for landfill (e.g. non-recyclable plastics, household waste), one for recycling (e.g. paper, glass, cans, card), one for soft plastics (e.g. any plastic your can fold in your hand) and one for compost (e.g. food waste). Your number one goal at home is to use the landfill bin the least. 

It’s always a good idea to give any glass jars, can or packaging a rinse and let dry on your dish rack overnight to remove any food which might contaminate your recycling.

Some councils will take away your soft plastic but, if not, there are soft plastic drop-off bins at both Coles and Woolworths.

  1. Recycle glass jars

Glass jars can be used for so many things around the house and that’s not just making your own jam. Save and wash all of your empties and use next time you head to the bulk food store, regrowing your food scraps, pickling food for long term storage, storing leftovers in the fridge or taking to work, new cocktail glasses and food storage. Plus, the right jars can make your kitchen shelves and pantry look beautifully coordinated and organised.

  1. Invest in reusable food and drinks containers

One the easiest ways to reduce your waste is by storing your food properly, so it’s important to invest in reusable food and drink containers. Glass jars can be great for storing your coffee, nuts, smoothies, dried foods and pulses, but it’s a great idea to also invest in some natural, reusable containers like Pyrex-style glass dishes,  stainless steel bento boxes or silicone lids which you can use for meal prepping or saving your leftovers.

  1. Compost your food waste

A compost bin is a great addition to your kitchen or garden. There are some really good options out there for cheap and easy to implement composting options for your garden, and there are also clean, tabletop versions which you can keep in your kitchen available or community bins in your local area. Worm farms are ideal for those with limited space as they fit neatly on a balcony. 

  1. Use food scraps to make your own cleaning products

Food can be used for really effective cleaning products. Ingredients like distilled white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and sugar can be used to polish kitchen worktops, clean windows and remove stains whilst killing that pesky bacteria. Combine these with essential oils for a beautiful smelling home.

  1. Swap tea-bags for tea leaves

I don’t know about you but we average upwards of 5 cups of tea each per day, every day. That equates to almost 2,000 tea bags in our landfills per person in a year! Some teabags are made from, or sealed using plastic which not only sheds billions of particles of microplastic into each cup you drink but also end up in our landfills. To reduce this, swap your tea bags for tea leaves in a metal strainer instead. The tea leaves are often better quality too, so it’s really a win-win.

  1. Repair holes in clothes

It may sound obvious, but too often clothes are thrown away for having small holes, a broken zipper or a lost button even though these can be sown up very easily, without the need for any seamstress skills. Make an excuse to visit an older relative and ask them for tips if you’re really stuck, it’ll be a great bonding experience which you’ll find therapeutic.

  1. Ditch disposable for natural materials

There are some really great natural fibres on the market which provide brilliant and budget-friendly alternatives to disposable products like bamboo cotton pads, metal razors, natural loofah’s, plastic-free q-tips, natural tampons, cloth face wipes.

  1. Save food scraps for homemade stock and natural dyes

Food scraps can be used in a whole heap of ways like turning root veg stalks into homemade stock, apple cores and skins into apple cider vinegar, regrowing your roots, baking old bread into croutons and french toast, using banana skins for cleaning…I could go on…but one of our favourites is natural tie-dying. 

Simply using your food scraps and water, turmeric can be used to create yellow tones; red onion for pink; red cabbage leaves for purple and avocado skins for dusty pinks and browns. Plus, it’s a great way to bring life back into that white t-shirt you split red wine on!

  1. Request for no junk mail to be put through your letterbox

Another easy one, add a small sign to your front door or letterbox requesting that companies do not post you junk mail. Chances are you’re probably not interested in selling your house right now or need another plastic tradie magnet for your fridge. But when you do, you’ll open a web browser not your letterbox to find the best options.

  1. Use cloth nappies instead of disposable

A staggering 3.75 million disposable nappies are used each day in Australia and New Zealand, and it takes about one cup of crude oil to make each nappy. This is a lot for landfills, with conventional disposable nappies estimated to take up to 150 years to break down. Making a switch to cloth nappies is the more environmentally-friendly option, and is easier than ever with the modern cloth nappies currently available. You might also like to consider a cloth nappy washing service, but bear in mind the energy and emissions associated with transportation.

  1. Swap to rechargeable batteries

Never again find yourself hunting around in that draw you dump everything from pens, foreign coins, remote controls, keys that you have no idea what they open, letters you’re saving for…what was it again, random cards and pairs of glasses, for batteries again and switch to rechargeable types. Keep your batteries in two small glass jars, write ‘Flat’ and ‘Charged’ on the lids. Invest in quality rechargeable batteries and a charger. Charge a group of batteries and store in the ‘Charged’ jar, put the rest in the ‘Flat’ jar and charge as needed. When the remote goes flat, you know where to go. Thank us later.

  1. Prep!

Making meals instead of buying takeout or ready meals is a great way to reduce waste and save on all of those disposable take-away containers. You’ll use all the food you purchased at the supermarket, cut down on packaging of food items, and reduce the carbon footprint of your food while you’re at it. Dehydrators are great too for healthy snacks to store in your cupboards. Keep it really easy, and save time, by cooking food in bulk and eating it throughout the week.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any other steps to add?

Vesica biodiversity

10 Ways to Conserve Biodiversity this Biodiversity Month

September is the National Biodiversity Month. Every year Biodiversity Month is held to advocate the importance of protecting, conserving and improving Australia’s biodiversity. 

So, what is biodiversity? Why does biodiversity matter to us? What can you do for biodiversity? 

Biodiversity means the abundance and variety of life on the planet. A biologically diverse natural environment is essential to human health, well-being and prosperity. It provides us with everything from the air that we breathe, to the water that we drink, the food that we eat and the environment we live in. Right now, biodiversity is in crisis – because of us. 

“Work with nature, rather than against it.” – every successful organic gardener, ever

Australia is one of the world’s biggest biodiversity hotspots. Still, we are losing it at an unprecedented rate, according to the Living Planet Report of 2018, which shows us a 60% fall in just over 40 years. Most of our plant and mammal species, and nearly half of our bird and marine species are endemic (Department of the Environment and Energy, 2019). 

Protecting biodiversity is one way that we all can plan for the future. We can participate in the protection of biodiversity by becoming knowledgeable about the things we buy, consume and use. How we treat the environment is also how we treat biodiversity so it’s time to stop and appreciate the web of life that surrounds and sustains us. 

Here are 10 ways that you can help to conserve biodiversity this Biodiversity Month: 

  1. HELP THE BEES! 

As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small. 

Support pollinators in your backyard by planting a variety of wildflowers and native plants to provide nectar that will bloom throughout the season. 

  1. CUT PLASTIC POLLUTION 

Plastic pollution is choking every part of the world. Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans — that’s one dump truck every minute. To protect biodiversity, we need to avoid plastics whenever possible, and where we cannot avoid them, then we must reduce, reuse and recycle. 

  1. PROTECT NATURAL HABITATS 

All animals and plants need suitable and high-quality habitat. That’s not to say that we can’t enjoy the habitats of animals, like national parks, wetlands and bushland but everyone has a role to play in protecting and maintaining these areas. Next time you’re out and about, try to leave habitats undisturbed by sticking to designated paths, cleaning up after yourself and not picking wildflowers.

  1. CREATE A NATURAL ECOSYSTEM IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD 

Whether you live on a farm or in an apartment in the city, you need plants, and it’s not difficult to create a garden in your own backyard which has a permaculture design. 

From kitchen gardens, orchards, zen gardens, wild areas and hedgerows, there are many different types of gardens that can be designed in ways that increase biodiversity.

Get started by researching the plants and vegetables that are local to your area and grow a variety in your own backyard. Each plant and vegetable helps to protect biodiversity and supports the broader ecosystem of your local area. 

  1. REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE 

Look at ways to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill and the waterways. Reducing, reusing, and recycling ca n help preserve biodiversity by limiting the number of resources needed to make new products. The more we can reduce our demand for new resources, the less habitat conversion will be necessary in the long run. 

  1. PURCHASE PRODUCTS THAT HAVE ECO LABEL 

Ecolabels (like a PETA certification or Green Tick) are a great way of determining which products are green, safe, and environmentally sustainable. These labels allow you to learn precisely products are made from and the percentages of the ingredients in a particular food or household cleaning items so that you can determine how much impact they have on the environment. 

  1. SUPPORT FARMERS 

Be an informed eater and purchase your food from socially and sustainably responsible growers. 

Farmers play a key role in conserving biodiversity. With the help of biotechnology and plant science, farmers can grow more food on the same amount of land. This takes the pressure off the need to convert natural habitats into farmland. 

  1. SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE ENERGY 

As we know, climate change has disastrous consequences for all living things on earth. We use huge amounts of fossil fuels, which directly cause climate change. 

If you can, choose to use alternative energy sources and natural or sustainable products in your home. This will reduce the effects of climate change and requires a worldwide effort. 

  1. WALK, RIDE, DON’T DRIVE 

Each litre of gasoline burned releases ~2.3 kg of the greenhouse gas CO2, so reducing car use is a considerable step towards protecting biodiversity. 

Where you can choose to walk instead of drive, take local transport, save errands so you can take fewer car trips and stay local at the weekend. 

10. EDUCATE 

Education is essential for the future of the planet. We depend on the global collective action of an educated society, including efforts to promote local and indigenous knowledge of biodiversity. As awareness increases, it becomes easier to incorporate eco-friendly practices into your day-to-day life, spread the word to your friends and family and influence your local government.  With even more time now being spent immersed in social media, don’t forget to share or post those positive and simple practises that can bring change to your online community at the moment.

Vesica blog cotton bag FOL sml

What does it mean to be ‘Eco-Friendly’?

What does it mean to be ‘Eco-Friendly’?

Being ‘Eco-Friendly’ and ‘Eco-Conscious’ are such trendy things to do these days – it seems like every other person is getting on the ‘Zero Waste’ bandwagon and hype. Or at least we seem to hear these words flung around so often now that they seem to have become slightly ambiguous or may have lost a bit of significance and meaning. Because I don’t think just swapping out your take away coffee cups for keep cups and using bamboo cutlery is the complete story really. I mean, those are some great simple moves you can do to get started, (and I know that’s not all the ‘Zero Waste’ movement is about either, there’s a lot more to it) but there’s more to this story than just reducing waste don’t you think? I know all of this comes from a place of love and compassion and wanting to do good for the environment, but living a life with less unnecessary plastic waste is only one way of incorporating a more Eco Conscious mind set into your reality.

I found this concept of ‘deep ecology’ a particularly interesting point of discussion and I feel can be a good starting point for further contemplation about Eco-Consciousness. Initially introduced in environmental literature in the 70s by Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer Arne Naess in an era after the 60s where environmentalism was emerging out of grassroots political movements. Drengson in his article Some Thought on the Deep Ecology Movement described it as having an ethic of ‘respecting nature and the inherent worth of other beings’ and involves ‘ redesigning our whole systems based on values and methods that truly preserve the ecological and cultural diversity of natural systems.’

Link to article – Some Thought on the Deep Ecology Movement by Alan Drengson
http://www.deepecology.org/deepecology.htm

Some pretty thought provoking stuff regarding to eco-conscious living, don’t you think?

But I guess what this means for me is living with an awareness of this deep innate connection that we have with the land – to the natural environment around – to the birds, the trees, the animals, the rocks, the mountains, the fire, the rain – to all other beings and the world around, including ourselves. Because we are simultaneously at one with everything that is arising moment to moment, so we must listen to it, respect it and take care of it, otherwise it dies – we die.

Actually, we are not separated from these things – we are but one part of the same interconnected whole. We are a complete Eco-System connected together and unto ourselves. Interdependent with each other and part of the larger whole. You. And me. And everything. On a cosmic scale. ..Boom. This is literally it. ..and you can feel it right down to the chaos of the complex buzzing interconnected world of your own body’s system. The living bugs and bacteria and cells and micro-organisms and even atoms all interacting and exchanging on a micro-cellular level in, on and around your body and in the environment. You – yourself – we, have a micro biome and are completely integrated with it and dependant on it for survival, as it is to you. We are all part of the infinite micro-cosmic biome.

So for me, being Eco Conscious not only means being conscious of your plastic consumption and your waste and your ecological footprint…but in the same way this is connected to how you treat yourself and your own body as well, what foods you eat, what toxins you allow to come into your life, and the habits behaviours and beliefs we choose to create in our lives. Are you truly living consciously in harmony with your own innate micro-biome? Your own personal landscape? – physically, mentally, emotionally – and even spiritually? And with the landscape around you? The people you interact with on a daily basis? the other animals you share the land with? And the land itself?

It’s all connected. And once we start to truly open up our awareness and consciousness about how we are truly impacting our ecology around us including ourselves – you begin to see that we start making more healthy choices for our-selves, our bodies and the environment. You might start eating healthier, going to the farmers market, reducing your plastic footprint, considering toxins in your life, moving around stagnant energies, learning, challenging yourself, expressing yourself authentically, being creative, being in nature and getting outdoors, going on adventures and reaching out into the unknown. You might find yourself meeting new people, discovering new places, having conversations with the neighbours cat, listening to the birds, planting trees, considering your impact on others, practising self-care, tidying, detoxing and cleansing, and healing in all kinds of different ways.

There are a few key indicators that resonate with me in terms of how I define Eco-Conscious living for myself, and I’ve outlined some of these things in the Eco-Friendly QUIZ, but ultimately it’s you who decides what living an Eco-Friendly lifestyle looks like for you.

…Let us know what you think, leave any comments below, feel free to share your Eco-Conscious story and journey with us and spread the word about this awesome and inspiring Eco-Friendly movement!

Article Written by Lillian Adele
(www.lillianadele.com)

 

Photo by Sylvie Tittel
Earth hands blog

Take the ECO-FRIENDLY QUIZ: How Eco-Conscious are you?

ECO-FRIENDLY QUIZ: How Eco-Conscious are you?

Below are some questions that you can answer Yes or No.

  • You consider your food waste and think it’s important to compost?
  • You eat mostly whole foods, organic, vegetarian, vegan or mostly plant based?
  • You like to sit and be still for moments during the day to listen to the world?
  • You enjoy being in nature – going for walks, visiting national parks, waterfalls, beach, camping, travel & eco-tourism. You can appreciate the innate beauty in the natural world and have a general sense of awe and appreciation about it?
  • You enjoy saying hello to trees and other animals and sometimes can even be caught greeting the sun and moon at times?
  • You have an interest in things like the process of life and death, plants, organic food, gardening, permaculture, eco-design, minimalism, less impact and alternative living scenarios, and you appreciate the importance of biodiversity?
  • You’re at the farmers markets, bulk food stores, health food stores and organic shops pretty regularly to buy your produce and forgetting your green bags in the car is not something you do?
  • You try to be as plastic free as you can and there’s an interest in Zero Waste Living and minimising your impact and plastic footprint?
  • Seem to be pretty interested in things like meditation, self- care and personal development, alternative therapies and holistic healing, mysticism and spirituality and you consider spiritual development an integral part of your well being?
  • You do regular exercise and yoga, or have an enjoyable way to keep physically fit?
  • You start reading the labels of things and think it’s important to find out what’s in your food and in products that you use around the house and put onto your skin – you reduce the harmful chemicals and toxins in your life?
  • You have an interest in your local community, are engaged in what’s happening globally, and feel it’s important to maintain positive healthy and intimate relationships with loved ones?
  • You enjoy a good informative documentary, book, article, blog, podcast, channel or conversation and think conscious education is important?
  • You value non-violence, human rights, cultural diversity, acceptance and tolerance of others, enjoy helping, contributing and being of service to others and you feel a deep sense of love and compassion for all other living things?

This list is by no means exhaustive, but if you answered positively for the most part, I’d say you’re getting pretty Eco-Friendly up in here…Holla!

…Let us know what you think, leave any comments below, feel free to share your Eco-Conscious story and journey with us and spread the word about this awesome and inspiring Eco-Friendly movement!

 

Written by Lillian Adele
(www.lillianadele.com)