Category Archives: Eco-Friendliness and Sustainability

LITTLE STEPS: Down The Drain

Today I thought I’d take a look at something that I think all of us are guilty of doing at some time or another. How often do you contemplate your pipes? Ever wondered about the journey your dish water takes once you pull that plug? Ever stopped to consider exactly how many drops of used cooking oil it takes to kill a fish? Or an ecosystem? This post could be accompanied by some graphic and horrible images, but I thought I’d post photos of some creatures I’ve met on my travels instead. Creatures who can remind us just how important it is to take the extra effort at home to protect our waterways.

A tiny crab we discovered in Fiji

A tiny crab we discovered in Fiji

We use water in diverse ways in our homes: cooking, cleaning, washing, playing, soothing, nourishing, drinking, and of course, flushing. But whatever the reason, all the water we use, whether at home or out and about, makes its way via drains to the sewerage system. Still with me? Not the most fascinating topic, I know. But our lack of interest in our drains is causing damage to our waterways, and the ecosystems they support. What goes down the plug hole, also has to come out somewhere, and for most homes it’s the sewerage system. After treatment, this water then rejoins the water supply for reuse, or is released into creeks, rivers, and oceans. When we don’t pay attention to what we’re putting down the drains, the entire system is affected, which can: Read the rest of this entry

LITTLE STEPS: Standby to Switch Off

Today I’m writing about an electricity conservation tip that is so simple it drives me nuts when people won’t follow it. Our electrical appliances, entertainment devices, and other assorted gadgets all consume power when they’re plugged in and we’re using them. Simple concept, right? And they all use power when they’re plugged in and we’re not using them.  Simple concept, right? Well, for the majority of people, it would seem not.

All electrical devices fitted with standby mode continue to use power when you’re not using them. Switch the tv off at the remote, walk away, and it happily continues to use electricity, which, for most people, is generated by non-renewable resources. Even if you’re powering your house with solar or wind power, you’re still wasting it unnecessarily when standby is on. How can you tell that it’s still using power? The little glowing red light (or green, or blue, or yellow) is a bit of a giveaway. Those things don’t just glow by themselves!

But sometimes, there’s no light to remind you. Got an iPhone? Ipad? Plug it in to the wall to charge it? If you’re like most gadget owners, when it’s charged you remove the device and leave the charger plugged into the wall (and turned on if you’re in a country with switches on the sockets). Any device which does not need to be manually turned on after connecting the power cord, is one whose power source will continue to use electricity as long as it’s plugged into the wall (and turned on if applicable).

So think about all the devices which use standby in your house. TV? Stereo? Gaming console? DVD player? Microwave? Chargers? Computer? Laptop? Tablet? More? More than one of some items? And what about things you leave constantly connected to their plugged in charger: laptop? Rechargeable vacuum? rechargeable flashlight? Sensor Light? Others?

standby usage per product

Percentage contribution to total household standby power by type of product (in Australia, 2005). Image credit ecoswitch.com.au

Read the rest of this entry

Make Your Own Yogurt: a cheap, easy, delicious party in your mouth

Whoooooo likes yoghurt*? (This is your cue: Weeeee love yoghurt!) Who consumes so much yoghurt that if they poured their weekly yoghurt consumption on the floor instead of down their throats, they’d end up with enough white goodness to build yoghurt-people and walk in a yoghurt wonderland? Just me? Didn’t think so (I hear ya!) *For the purpose of correct spelling according to my country, and the country my country’s language originated in, I will be using the word ‘yoghurt’ in this post. For the purposes of being an attention seeker and making it easy for everyone on the www to find me, I’ll use the word ‘yogurt’ in the title 😉

Why Eat Yoghurt?

I am addicted to yoghurt, and this is a good thing. Yoghurt is a super food and extremely beneficial to those of us who have digestive issues.  The Weston A. Price Foundation states:

Yogurt and kefir are lacto-fermented products that can aid digestion. They may be the only dairy products that some people will be able to tolerate well.

This is definitely true for me. I love cheese but it does not love me. Milk is a liquid laxative to me, and I may as well scoop ice cream straight into the toilet bowl (TMI? You’re reading the wrong blog!). However I can eat yoghurt endlessly. Kefir we’ll come back to another day.

A review by the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University found that pro-biotic yoghurt can provide assistance to a number of gastrointestinal disorders including: lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrhoea, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and H. pylori infection. However, please note that these beneficial effects don’t necessarily apply to the sugary dairy confections which a lot of big companies plug in the supermarkets. Real yoghurt is pro-biotic – it contains live cultures – and is made through lacto-fermentation. It does not contain sugar, and has no need for gelatin or gluten. Yep, that’s right, wondering why you’re avoiding gluten but still feeling bloated after breakfast? Read the label the next time you buy a big name sweetened supermarket yoghurt.
Real yogurt can also help stabalise vaginal flora (ie prevent yeasty infections ladies), and as it contains all of the nutrients of milk, it has all of the health benefits of milk, including helping to prevent osteoporosis. For someone like me who has to take calcium-depleting steroidal immune suppressants, high levels of calcium in the diet are absolutely vital.

Let’s make it! Read the rest of this entry

Make Your Own! Save money, the planet, and feel like a rockstar!

Years ago my passion for environmental sustainability meant I started making my own, well, lots of things. Washing powder, shampoo, conditioner, lip balm… It was fun. It was novel. It was too time consuming. Well, actually it wasn’t, but I moved on to other things and just told myself it was too hard. Truthfully it was mainly because my, ahem, ‘partner’ at the time was an asshole and complained about my homemade goodies, constantly moaned and groaned about them being stupid. And I was too weak and co-dependent to stand up to him. I did eventually, and kicked him straight. to. the. restraining order. But I digress. That’s another tale for another day.

Fast forward to the present. The now. Now I’m…

  • caring about my health and determined to get rid of as many nasties from my life as I can.
  • unapologetically a crunchy greenie, and determined to help rid as many nasties from the Earth’s environment as I can.
  • angry at our capitalist society which brainwashes us to consume constantly whilst our health and the planet suffer.
  • broke and needing to introduce a whole lotta frugality into our lives.
  • in a healthy, supportive relationship with a man who shares my ideals and ethics. Although, even if I wasn’t in that relationship, I’m strong enough in myself now to do whatever the hell I want!
  • excited to show y’all how freaking easy it is to make your own… lots of things! Cleaning products, personal products, homewares, gifts, unprocessed healthy ingredients and meals.

But it’s not only easy. It’s fun! It’s quick (don’t believe me? Just wait). It’s empowering. It’s healthy. Food tastes better. Cleaners perform better. No more nasties! And if none of that floats your boat, it’s CHEAP! By making them myself, I now spend less than 5c on some products that used to cost me up to $15 at the supermarket. My friends, those were some very appealing numbers when they boogied onto my brain’s dance floor. Read the rest of this entry

LITTLE STEPS: Get Real About Your Ecological Footprint

Welcome to the first post in my new series Little Steps, where I’ll be examining some of the little steps we can all take to make a big difference to the Earth. Are you overwhelmed and feel that nothing you do can make a difference?  Or do you kneel at the temple of crunchiness daily and think your footstep is non-existent? There are simple things we can all do, every day, to reduce our environmental impact and improve our commitment to sustainability. But before we start examining solutions, the best thing to do is work out your baseline. What is your Ecological Footprint right now?
The Centre for Sustainable Economy’s website myfootprint.org will take you through a simple multiple choice questionnaire to give you a basic overview of what size rack your actions, lifestyle, and home have thrown your ecological shoes onto. If we don’t get real about where we’re starting from, how can we expect to make changes? As you go through the questionnaire you’ll also see hints on how to improve in each area, and as you answer the questions you may realize that there are factors you’ve never even considered. Read the rest of this entry

Earth Day and an Announcement

I’m feeling some joyous synchronicity because the day after I publish my first post and commit to writing daily, it’s Earth Day! And if there’s one thing I do love to bang on about it’s this beautiful planet of ours. We live in a wonderous place which provides everything we need, if only we let it. But in typical human fashion we’re abusing this relationship and taking a lot more than we give, ie we are screwing up the joint.

But why should we care? Because we have to. We don’t get another chance folks, this is it! Economic rationalization, ignorance and apathy won’t save us when entire nations are wiped out due to climate change. The latest resource-sucking electronic gadget won’t be much use to you if you can’t afford to eat due to world-wide food shortages. That’s the hard-line. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s also about looking around and realizing just how lucky we are to be here, in this beautiful place. Open your window, go for a walk, Google ‘nature’. To get you inspired, I’m going to post a few photos of my latest home on the planet: the NSW South Coast. When deciding to embark on a journey of healing and wholeness, location was important. Because I was starting over again (again!), I had the option to go anywhere (we didn’t exactly have the bank balance to go anywhere, but we’ve never let that stand in the way before!). We chose this area for several reasons. We have been fortunate enough to live in many beautiful locations throughout the world, and coastal areas have always felt most like home to us. Immediately prior to moving here we were living ‘out west’ in Australia, surrounded by beautiful bush, mountains, valleys, and sunsets that reach forever. It was gorgeous, but it wasn’t ‘our place’. I believe everyone has a ‘soul home’, the place that makes you feel most alive, that makes your heart sing. This is it for us. The climate here is also the most conducive to my health: not too hot, not too cold; not too humid, not too dry; clean fresh sea air; peaceful and quiet; unpolluted, and still close enough to capital cities to visit doctors and get a taste of city life and ‘culture’ (though our desire to take these visits is almost non-existent these days). It was also a location where we really could practice being locovores, thinking globally and acting locally. This region is full of gorgeous fresh food of all varieties. Read the rest of this entry