Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

G'day all!

Earth Day has rolled around again.

This year for Earth Day, what have I done?

Well, I rode my bike and took public transport. I went shopping (eek!) and looked for stuff that is all reusable or recyclable or will rot. That is my new thang - everything I buy I want to be able to recycle, reuse or compost. Sometimes I can't get away from the Bad Stuff (use once, throw it away, never reuse or recycle it) but a lot of the time there is a work around.

One thing that is fascinating me is how dependent we have become on plastic. Plastic is EVERYWHERE! We line our plastic rubbish bins with plastic liners to throw out our plastic wrappers and baggies and containers. Our food comes wrapped in plastic. We store stuff in plastic. Our furniture is made of plastic or coated/covered in plastic. Light switches, power points, lamps, computers, clothes, fridges, kitchenwares, all sorts of things are made out of plastics, lined with plastic, coated with plastic.... Some plastics are worse than others - PVC is a particularly nasty plastic compared to say polypropylene. Most plastics come from petroleum. There's a problem straight off!

What on earth did we do before we had plastic? I can remember bread used to come in waxed paper wrappers. I can remember when the milkman had a horse and milk came in 600ml (pint) bottles. Here in America the paper bag never seems to have gone away but in Oz paper bags died with the dinosaurs - it would have to be 20 years since the last supermarket stopped using paper bags back 'ome. But all those things like gladwrap (saran wrap), packaging, all sorts of stuff - what on earth did we used to do before them?

So what am I going to keep trying to do for the sake of our Earth - after all we have to look after it cos it's the only Earth we have.

Well I'll try to:

  • not buy stuff simply because I want it - do I need it, is it useful to me?
  • buy needed/useful stuff that is recyclable/reusable or will rot down eventually
  • buy local as much as possible
  • not take plastic bags, and if I do, make sure they can be recycled
  • not get a car and continue to use my bike, feet and PT
  • look for alternatives for non-recyclable stuff and plastics
  • encourage alternative/renewable energy (hard here cos our electricity retailer provides whatever you danged well get)
  • grow some of my own produce
  • eat at least one vegetarian meal a week


If I was at home, we would go further. We have been working on a heating system that uses solar energy. It doesn't need expensive photovoltaics, it just collects the heat of the sun. We would be collecting rainwater and reusing grey water (we were before). Eventually we'd look at PV. We would be trying to tread more lightly on this planet of ours.

Am I going to stop being a consumer? Nope! But I will be a lot more mindful about what I buy and why I am buying it and where I am buying it from and the impacts it is having on the environment.

What are you doing for Earth Day? What about every day?

Here's something I did instead of going to IKEA and buying a Billy bookcase. For whatever reason I adore IKEA but do I need another particle board bookcase covered in some weird foil plasticy stuff? I certainly needed a new bookcase.

We hauled ourselves to Bunnings, oops Home Dee-po, and bought us some pine. Alas it is not FSC or whatever it is pine but it is wood. And it is plantation stuff. Last week I started putting it together with instructions from Nathan.

Da-dum!

(OK, it has acrylic cord providing some stability and stopping the books going off the back. My bad!)

Lynne's country craftsman, oops, craftsperson, bookcase. Now any carpenter will kill themselves laughing at it but it does actually hang together - the mortise and tenon joints are quite tight fitting despite how it looks. We will prolly make another bookcase but this time mebbe not from pine. Pine is very soft and we had a lot of problems with tear out (arrowed) - the wood doesn't like sticking to itself and would rather get ripped out by the drill or the chisel. I have to find it some low or no voc stain and finish. Home Dee-po only had stuff that is based on petrol and I am sooooo not good with oil based stuff.


In other news, I've been saving up some links, not at all to do with Earth Day in particular, just things I thought were interesting.

It seems that we have been wondering what's to eat for dinner for a long time - maybe nearly 2 million years!

A piece on one of my favourite tv shows Mythbusters. Not that I have a tv so it is pretty hard to watch the show unless we can rent the DVDs someplace.

Which reminds me - we've just finished watching an Oz kids' tv series that Nathan had fond memories of. Spellbinder. It was pretty good for all that it is a kids' show that was made over 10 years ago (ie clunky cgi). We watched two episodes a night, and some nights we just couldn't wait to see what would happen next. One night Nathan watched the eps by himself and had to rewatch them the next night with me. Another night we were just plain Too Late to watch them and he got reallllly grumpy. LOL

Another link from the ABC Oz science show - some Big Questions.

Finally, some pretty pictures of the place I rode to today.

San Jose has a heritage rose garden in the Guadalupe park. In winter it looked all very sad of course but now?


Va-voom! Gosh I would love to have any of a hundred of those plants, even though the poor beggars were covered in aphids. Far too many aphids to squish between my fingers. I was almost tempted to ride all the way back home (6 or 7 miles) and more to buy a container of ladybirds from the nursery. Still the roses are very very pretty. And I have a LOT more photos where those came from!


anon!

3 comments:

  1. What about those plastics we use everyday like milk bottles,juice etc,scientists are now thinking our future sex genes are being changed due to the chemical estrogen like emissions coming out of them !!!! Alligators changing sex,more females etc,low sperm counts, very scary!!!!

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  2. Karen S.6:32 am

    In the REALLY olden days, when students had no money and didn't expect to have any, we made bookshelves from boards with bricks between!!!! Easily demountable too, for the constant moving house.

    Pre plastic, there was lots of greaseproof paper, lots of bottles and tins (bikkie tins etc), and lots of cardboard boxes and paper bags. Butter came wrapped in that stiff greaseproof like it still does, but we didn't have all those synthetic spreads and imitation butters to go in plastic tubs. Butter didn't need confining, it only needed covering. If you wanted to spread it quickly, you left it out of the fridge/ice box, and if you wanted it nearly melted, you left it on the windowsill in the sun!

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  3. Love your bookcase! It's great to make furniture-type stuff yourself too. We used to have a lovely little fancy wall cabinet in our kitchen that DH made, sadly nowhere to put that here.

    Totally agree about the evils of plastics. A lot of the time it seems that it's used just because they can, not because it's really needed. Like, everyone used to take shopping bags out with them then all the shops started providing plastic carriers ... and now they are going the other way again. I guess the packaging industry must maintain itself - grr. And of course the hygiene myth created just so we NEED al the pastic stuff! Don't even get me started on "antibacterials"!

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