Friday, March 20, 2015

Environmentality 18 March 2015, Jodi Jackson - My Everyday Garden

Well summer passed us by without delivering a day over 40°C but hopefully it did deliver some good crops and reward you for your gardening efforts! Unfortunately it’s time to say goodbye to your tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, basil and beans but fortunately it’s time to say hello to whole heap of winter vegies! Before you get started though, make sure you make use of the last of your summer crop and don’t forget to prepare your soil to restore those essential nutrients ready for a great winter. This week our resident gardening expert Jodi Jackson talked us through all of this and more so be sure to have a listen to hear how to make use of your last tomatoes and basil, some soil prep tips and hear about some must have crops this winter!

Jodi brought in some special surprises this week which included some seeds for an exotic beetroot variety called Giant German Gold. The Giant German Gold is a large variety of beetroot that you cannot buy anywhere in Australia, Jodi managed to get hold of some though and let one of the beetroots go to seed. The beetroots should be harvested once they are around 15-20 cm in diameter, however if left to go to seed they reach a massive size, equivalent to a very, very large watermelon! If you’d like some seeds, let us know here at Environmentality and we’ll see if we can arrange something.

Also on the surprise list were some Burgundy Blush potatoes, described by Jodi as sexiest potato she has ever seen and if you’ve seen their colour you might guess why! A deep red/burgundy colour which at first glance could be mistaken for a radish. Jodi  got the seeds for the potatoes from Tas Potatoes if you’re interested in getting some for yourself.

Celeriac from the Celery family

Celeriac Mash (
One thing we did discuss that was promised for the blog was Celeriac, also called turnip-rooted celery. It is actually a variety of celery that is cultivated for its roots rather than its stalks. Jodi promises us that celeriac mash is a super tasty dish and highly recommends planting some now so you can enjoy over the winter. Another recommended planting by Jodi is Funugreek which is a very common ingredient in Indian curries but also has many other uses including making tea, salad addition and used in many middle-eastern dishes.

Fenugreek seeds

If you have any questions for Jodi, make sure you tune in on the 3rd Wednesday of every month and send us a text or tweet us during the show!

Next week on the show we are chatting to Emily Braham from Sanctuary Magazine about the current issue (29) which is an Australian Design Special. Sanctuary is a showcase of sustainable building design and architecture and is published by the Alternative Technology Association, a not-for-profit organisation.

Music tracks from this week:
I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons
Moorings by Andrew Duhon
Lanterns by Birds of Tokyo
Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Environmentality 11 March 2015, John Englart, Colleen Jones & Brian Bainbridge - Sustainable Fawkner and Climate Action Moreland

More and more I’m realising that real and important social and environmental change is driven by local community and eventually filters UP to local, state and federal governments rather than the other way around, especially in Australia given our governments’ lack of foresight, creativity and vision when it comes to planning Australia’s future. Volunteer run community groups give me great hope for our future and have led to movements such as Transition Towns, Landcare and many local climate change action groups including the very local (to us here at Environmentality) Climate Action Moreland.

Sustainable Fawkners Community Garden - The Dandelion Patch
This week on the program we spoke to Colleen Jones and Brian Bainbridge and John Englart from Sustainable Fawkner and John is also involved with Climate Action Moreland. Sustainable Fawkner was established with the principles of transition towns in mind and has since been successful in maintaining a regular food swap, community garden and craft workshop. These types of events and having a community garden may, at first, seem to be quite low impact in terms of making an environmental difference but in fact they are essential in developing relationships among neighbours and communities and provide a platform to discuss the important issues such as climate change and the shift towards a zero carbon economy. This point and many more were discussed on this week’s show so be sure to have a listen and leave a comment if you so desire. Keep up with Sustainable Fawkner and their events through their website as well as their Facebook page.
A Food Swap at Sustainable Fawkner
Climate Action Moreland is a non-profit group working locally to take action on climate change and John is one of their many members from the Brunswick, Coburg, Fawkner and Glenroy areas. If you are wanting to take action on climate change such as putting pressure on political leaders and promoting community education and awareness of climate change then get in contact with the group or perhaps another similar group that may be more local to where you are. Find Climate Action Moreland on twitter using @CAMoreland.

John Englart has been blogging about climate change for over 10 years now ( and contributes regularly to the Climate Action Moreland website as well as writing for During our show this week John also mentioned a literature review he completed on climate change heatwaves and Melbourne so be sure to check that one out as well. John will be attending the UN climate talks in Paris in December this year to report directly on the negotiations and keep a specific eye on the negotiating positions and spin from the Australian Government so stay tuned to Environmentality as we hope to follow John’s reports and have him back on the show following his trip!
Next week on the program we have Jodi Jackson's My Everyday Garden answering all your questions. 
Music tracks from this week were selected by our guests, thank you:

Who’s Gonna Stand Up by Neil Young
The Commons by David Rovics
Shadows by Sirroco
Little Suitcase by Luluc

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Environmentality 4 March 2015, Operation Newstart - Boneseed in The You Yangs Regional Park

One thing that really makes me smile is when the younger generation takes an interest in and engages with the environment. Whether it is in the form of learning about and researching an environmental issue or just enjoying the great outdoors and developing an appreciation for the world in which we live, it doesn’t really matter as one will eventually lead to the other.
Big Rock in the You Yangs Regional Park (

Operation Newstart is an outdoor, adventure based intervention program for 14-18 year old students at educational risk and it has managed to, among other things, incorporate environmental engagement into their program. This week on the show we were lucky enough to have students from the Operation Newstart program come and talk to us about a recent camp to the You Yangs RegionalPark and their new found knowledge of the issue of the boneseed weed that has proliferated in the park. The high school students spoke to a Ranger at the You Yangs before setting off the do some of their own research and finished off the process with presenting their information live on our show! If you’d like to have a listen, click here.

the boneseed weed (
Boneseed (or Chrysanthemoides monilifera –listen to the show for Josh’s pronunciation) is a Weed Of National Significance (WONS) that has infested the You Yangs Regional Park which is now one of the densest boneseed infestations in Australia. The boneseed outcompetes native vegetation and leads to a monoculture in the lower and middle story of the bush. Apart from losing flora diversity, boneseed inhibits the regeneration of eucalypt seedlings and leads to long term effects on canopy trees and the animals reliant on the ecosystem.

boneseed infestation
The management of this issue is heavily reliant on the work of volunteers as one of the most effective management practices is the manual removal of boneseed. These volunteers do great work in managing the boneseed weed and preventing its spreading and deserve to be thanked for their great work. If you would like to get involved, there are a number of ways to do so including contacting your local Landcare or Coastcare group or the Friends of The You Yangs Regional Park.

If you have boneseed in your garden or on your property, it is very important to destroy before they flower or set seed. Once destroyed, new seedlings that may sprout must hand-pulled immediately. So make sure you know what it looks like and make sure you spread the word to friends and family so that any future infestations can be avoided

Thanks to Brendon Delaney, Northern Metro Operation Newstart Coordinator, for approaching Environmentality and providing our listeners with the opportunity to hear from the students. Congratulations to the students Josh, TJ, Eray, Maddy, Alex and Reece who did a great job speaking about their research into the issue of boneseed in the You Yangs Regional Park. It’s great to see students getting involved with an environmental issue and then having the courage to speak about it live on air!

Music tracks this week were selected by our guests:
Take Me To Church by Hozier
Sun Goes Down by Robin Schultz
4, 5, Seconds by Kanye West & Rhianna
Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Ray
Dear Mama by Tupac

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Environmentality 25 February 2015, Paul Gale-Baker, Permaculture

The Permaculture Flower (shows the holistic approach of permaculture)
This might just be me but permaculture makes sense, a lot of sense. Although the word permaculture is new to me (I didn’t even know what it meant 6 months ago), the concept of it and the principles are not new. The principles of permaculture form a very holistic approach that can be applied to almost anything that involves humans and the way we live on this planet. Essentially, if everyone followed the permaculture design principles, we would live in an abundant, community focussed, biodiverse and environmentally sustainable world! How’s that for a definition?!

Our guest this week, Paul Gale-Baker is a permaculture designer at Urban Shepherd who has had his head into the concept of permaculture for 40 or so years. So to get the nitty gritty details (and correct definitions) of permaculture, you are best to listen to the podcast here.
If you’re looking to get more information on the topic, a good starting point would be David Holmgren’s Permaculture – Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability. By all means, have a look around to see what else you can find and leave a comment if you know of or find anything else that would be helpful to those looking to find out more.

To finish the show this week, we quickly went through the ways to get involved in permaculture which I think is worth mentioning here:
-Look up a local permablitz you can attend
-Join a local sustainability group (Banyule, Darebin, Fawkner)
-Read books and search online

Permablitz in action
Next week on the show we are chatting to some students from Operation Newstart about their recent trip to the You Yangs and some of their new found knowledge on the impacts of the invasive weed boneseed.
Music from this week (thanks for the selections Paul)

Fast Train by Solomon Burke
Into The Mystic by Van Morrison
Stand By Me by John Lennon
Layla (acoustic) by Eric Clapton 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Environmentality 18 February 2015, Gas Prices in Australia and the Psychology of Ignoring Climate Change

Here’s a little myth-buster session just for you blog readers and please feel very free to share with friends and family, you may just save them money!

Gas Vs Electric

Myth #1 – Natural gas is a clean energy alternative to coal generated electricity.

Don’t be fooled by the natural  in natural gas, technically it is natural (like all fossil fuels) as it is formed from organic plant and animal matter that has been subject to heat and pressure over thousands of years, however it is not renewable, the drilling, extraction and pipelining often leads to release of methane (a serious GHG) and it’s combustion leads to carbon emissions. One report says 8% of all gas (methane) is being lost to the atmosphere during transfer from the gas fields to our homes and this unburnt gas can be 100 times more damaging to the climate than carbon generated from its combustion.

Myth #2 – Natural gas is cheap (compared to electricity).
Once upon a time this was true but it has now moved in the fiction category. Natural gas has been sold to homeowners as a clean, efficient and cheap alternative to electricity especially when used for household water heating and cooking requirements which may have been true a number of years age (except for the ‘clean’ bit, see myth #1). Recent advances in modern appliances such electric heat pumps for space heating, electric hot water heat pumps and induction cooktops have completely blown natural gas out of the water in terms of efficiency, running costs and emissions!...even when using conservative figures AND not including any fugitive emissions associated with extraction and pipelining the gas to the user (A past guest of ours Matthew Wright has published his research on this exact topic).

So Natural Gas is neither environmentally cleaner NOR cheaper to use anymore AND as we heard on this week’s show, the price is almost certain to rise by 200-300% in the near future once the gas export terminals are completed off the Queensland coast (right on the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef mind you).

To really nail this one on the head in terms of what energy source to use, electricity or gas? Using electricity from the grid, generated from the burning of coal is more environmentally friendly in terms of emissions and it is also better on your hip pocket. This feels like a kind of half win where we have chosen the lesser of two carbon emitting evils, however we can make this a WIN WIN by using a renewable power source like Solar PV to power our electric appliances and voilà, no emissions, no operating costs, just an upfront investment with incredibly fast payback.

Not quite what we mean by solar powered cooking but hey, this could work!
Listen to the show to hear more about why gas prices will rise and also hear from an expert psychologist on why humans are wired to ignoring the impacts of climate change.
Here are the links to the ABC Radio National interviews we played on our show:
Gas Prices – ABC Radio National, Saturday Extra with Geraldine Doogue speaking to Giles Parkinson, originally broadcast on 12 July 2014 and then repeated on 3 January 2015.
Ignoring Climate Change – ABC Radio National, Late Night Live presented by Phillip Adams speaking with George Marshall, broadcast 4 February 2015.

Next week, we are chatting to Paul Gale-Baker about all things Permaculture. Not sure what that is? Well tune in to find out!
Music from this week:
Through The Roof by Hermitude
Paper Heart’s by Em George
Listen Up by Dark Fair

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Environmentality 11 February 2015, Robyn Deed, Editor of Renew Magazine

We cannot continue to live on this planet like we have another one to go to. Living a more sustainable existence is a must if we as a species are going to continue to flourish. This week's show was all about living more sustainably in the modern world through providing real life examples and all the latest technology and innovations to help us live the dream of sustainability! Listen to the show here.

Issue 130
Our guest today was Robyn Deed, editor of Renew Magazine published by the Alternative Technology Association (ATA). ATA is a non-profit organisation that exists to enable, represent and inspire people to live sustainably in their homes and communities. We spoke to Robyn regarding some of the articles in the Magazine and sustainability in general.  Robyn talked us through the article “Greeny flat experiment”  featured in the renew magazine where the author Andy Lemann shares how his first attempt to build an energy efficient full scale living house on a limited budget was a success. This piece highlighted some important factors that must be considered in house design/ retrofit in order to be sustainable including the layout of the house, the insulation, window positions, double gazing, low flow plumbing fixtures and many more. For more details, this is a direct link to the online version of the article.

Another article that was highlighted during the show was the “Energy Efficient Cooking” by Alan Pears.  There were some basic tips we could do to save the usage of energy in our kitchens. One interesting one was the fact that just putting the lid on while cooking can dramatically reduce energy losses while cooking.
Gazpacho soup
While on the topic of saving energy with cooking, Jamie mentioned the popular Spanish soup, Gazpacho, which is served cold! While it saves energy wasted in cooking, it also is a delight to your taste buds and is refreshing in this hot climate like ours. Maybe you can try your own “Gazpacho Soup” watching listening to this week’s show?!

The Timor-Leste Project by Dave Carlos was another topic we talked about on the show where he has written about solar-powered lights being provided to a remote villages in Timor-Leste and how it has changed the lives of many people living there as well as the volunteers travelling there to help install.
Installing solar panels for lighting in remote Timor-Leste villages
There are heaps more articles in the magazine that we were not able to cover (as usual!) so head to the Renew website to read all the latest.

Next week we have our resident gardening expert, Jodi Jackson so don’t miss it!

Environmentality wants to thank Smriti Panday for her contributions to this week's blog.
This week's music tracks
Steal the Light by The Cat Empire
Silent Night by Gurrumul and Delta Goodrem
Fear Of Failure by The Basics
Hills of Brisbane by James Blundell

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Environmentality 4 February 2015, Panel discussion with Jaime, John, Chris & Ahmed on environmental issue in the recent news

Firstly, don't forget to fill in our survey and you'll be in the draw for 2 movie tickets, it's the last week we are running it! Here is the link, GOOD LUCK!

This week we had a good old fashioned panel discussion with Jaime, John, Chris & Ahmed about environmental issues in the recent news. We realised that there is way too much to cover in one show but we tried our best to canvas a few trending topics. The items we discussed were mainly based on recent news articles which are listed below. As you would expect, the conversation occasionally drifts on tangents so make sure you listen to the show to hear all the wisdom of Jaime and all the random facts, figures and info that John manages to retain in his brain.

If you are keen on keeping up with the latest environmental news, there is a great FREE service offered by Making Environmental News whereby a daily email is sent to your inbox containing the links to any and all environmental news collated from all the major non-subscription electronic news media. It is the quickest and easiest way to stay on top the latest environmental news.
We didn’t really get into politics but given a few more minutes we would have covered the most talked about political item this week which is off course, the Coalition leadership uncertainty…here is the article we had lined up to talk about: Is this the last hurrah for the Far Right in Australia – RenewEconomy
Tesla Model S

And for all those rev heads we even covered a supercar! The fully electric Tesla Model S that is faster (in terms of acceleration) than almost every other petrol powered supercar! Don’t believe it… read this 5 super cars slower than the Tesla S P85D – Gas2.

Please leave a comment or links to any other articles you think are worth a read.
Next week on the show we are chatting to Robyn Deed, editor of Renew magazine about Issue 130. Head to the Renew Magazine website to get a heads up on some of the magazine content that we will be covering.

Music tracks this week:

Hello, You Beautiful Thing by Jason Mraz

Tombs by Hiatus

Live It Up (feat. PEZ) by 360

Q.U.E.E.N. by Janelle Monae Feat. Erykah Badu
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