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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Environmentality 28 January 2015, Riki Edelsten - Melbourne Director of Grow It Local and long running association with the Sustainable Living Festival

If you grow fruit or vegetables at home whether it’s in a big designated garden, some scattered fruit trees or even on a windowsill, then you should be registering your garden with Grow It Local. Registering your ‘patch’ is a great way to be part of an Australia wide community farm. You can include pictures of your garden and your tips on producing that ideal crop as well browse through the 1000+ gardens already registered. Head to the Grow It Local website for all the details.

This week’s guest, Riki Edelsten, is the Melbourne Director of the Grow It Local campaign and we found out what it is all about. Riki also filled us in on the upcoming Local Growers Feast on the March 1st which will tie in with the final day of Sustainable Living Festival. To go in the running for the 50 double pass tickets to the feast, all you need to do is register your patch, share tips on their facebook page and use the #growitlocal tag on instagram and twitter @growinitlocal.
Claire will be speaking at the SLF
This week our guest also covered the upcoming Sustainable Living Festival being held in and around Melbourne from the 7 Feb - 1 March. From what we heard, there will be something for pretty much everyone so you must check out the website to see which events are going to tickle your fancy. There is the Transitions Film Festival nestled into the Sustainable Living Festival, many workshops including ones on permaculture and garden pest management, morning weekly bike tour along the Barwon River departing Geelong, panel discussions featuring Tim Flannery, talks from George Marshall, ClaireDunn, Tim Silverwood and many more. Honestly, do yourself a favour and just check through the list of events and I’m sure you will 1) be surprised and 2) find something that you cannot resist going to! I think is something like 200 events and they are spread out across Melbourne including Geelong and even Inverloch.

If you were listening to the show you will have heard about the survey we are running for Environmentality where you can win 2 movie tickets just for filling it in. The survey should take about a minute and it will help us to improve our show. CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE SURVEY and good luck!

George will discuss his book at the SLF 
Screening at the Transitions Film Festival

Next week on the show we will be discussing Permaculture with a specialist in the field so make sure you tune in or download the podcast.

Thanks to our guest Riki for this week’s music selections:

Peaches by Presidents Of The United States

Our House by Madness

From Little Things Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly

Push Th’ Little Daises by Ween

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Environmentality 21 January 2015, Jodi Jackson, My Everyday Garden - Citrus Special

Summer is upon us and what better way to beat the heat than a summer citrus lemonade, a refreshing citrus salad or a delicious citrus mocktail (or cocktail for Jodi). This week our regular gardening expert Jodi Jackson was with us today to talk about “Citrus”, some citrus that we have never heard of and also some hybrid varieties.
We started with oranges and in particular an orange by the name of Dwarf Valencia. Dwarf Valencia has an amazing sweet musky flavour that bursts in your mouth. How do we know this??? Because Jodi brought some into the studio for us to taste and let it be known to all our blog readers that there is no comparison whatsoever between the tastes of the oranges you get in Supermarkets and the Valencia  we tasted. Another variety of orange we talked about is the Seville Orange, a sour orange which is very popular in Spain (Jaime confirmed this for us!). It has very high acid content, sets very well and is therefore used mostly for marmalades and jams.

Rangpur Lime highly recommended by Jodi
We also touched on essential oils from citrus including  Bergamot Orange, a type of orange that is used for essential oils and can be used for cleaning purposes and Sweet OrangeOil, another essential oil that comes from Valencia with digestive properties.
Also mentioned was the Kaffir lime Chinotto, Kumquats, Tangerines, Tangello and the Rangpur Lime. Rangpur lime is a cross breed between a mandarin and a lime and Jodi recommends people to try growing this at home because of its versatile taste.
Jodi's show and tell this week
During the show we said Jodi had a list of citrus by type and we weren't lying! So here is the list and just a reminder, it is not exhaustive but rather citrus that is right for a home garden...
Oranges - Sweet: Navel, Valencia, Joppa, Blood Orange, Sour: Seville, Bergamot, Chinotto
Mandarins - Clementine, Emperor, Imperial, Thorny
Lemons - Sweet: Meyer, Lemonade, Sour: Lisbon, Eureka, Fino, Villa Franca, Rough Lemon
Limes - Acid Lime, Kaffir, Rangpur, Australian Red Centre, Australian Sunrise, Sweet Lime, Native Finger Lime
Cumquats - Nagami, Marumi, Variegated
Grapefruit - Thompson's Pink, Rio Red, Marsh, Wheeny, Pumelo
Hybrids - Tangerine, Tangor, Tangelo, Honey Murcott, Satsuma, Calamondin

In terms of citrus care, Jodi emphasised how important the early preparations are before planting. Citrus is shallow rooted and is a heavy feeder so Jodi recommends planting them in partial shade where the plant gets enough light but not too much sun Jodi also recommends NO PLANTING IN POTS otherwise the plants become too much like babies, needing extra care and attention.  Another piece of wisdom from the show was to reuse your fish tank water on the your citrus tree. See… so many good tips! .

Gall Wasp and illustration of the galls that form
We finished the show talking about citrus pests and ways of dealing with them, in particular the two most common, the Gall Wasp and  Scale. Gall wasps are usually found around the foliage of the new shoots, they lay their eggs inside the branch and as the pupa grows and it causes these “galls” which is the swelling of the branch. Cutting if off and incinerating the branch is the best way of getting rid of it according to our expert
Jodi. Scale is found underside of the leaves and along the branches and the best way of its detection is the movement of ants up and down the tree as ants love the secretion from the scale.The best way of dealing with scale is to bust it off with your finger or use white oil in extreme conditions.
Well that wraps up a pretty comprehensive review of this week’s show but make sure you have a listen to the show so you don’t miss any important tips!

Leaving the best for last, listeners of the show this week were told of a chance to win some movie tickets. Environmentality will be giving away two movie tickets this week to one lucky listener who fills in the survey below. Pretty simple equation: 60 seconds of your time filling in survey = chance to win movie tickets.
CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY and Good Luck! We'll contact you next Wednesday if you are a winner.

Next week on the show we have Riki Edelsten, Melbourne Director of the Grow It Local campaign. Riki also has a long term association with the Sustainable Living Foundation so we will be discussing both the Grow It Local campaign and the upcoming Sustainable Living Festival which is occurring in Melbourne next month.

Environmentality wants to thank Smriti Panday for helping out with the blog this week ;)

Music Tracks:
Grandma’s Hands by MEG MAC
The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack
Clouds Over Tamworth by John Williamson
Love Me Do by The Beatles

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Environmentality 14 January 2015, Daniel Sullivan, ASEN member and Student Environment Officer at University of Melbourne

Hello for another week of Environmentality! This week we spoke to a member of Australian Student Environmental Network (ASEN), Daniel Sullivan, about the group and how to get involved. Daniel is also the Student Environment Officer at The University of Melbourne so was also able to enlighten us on the various campaigns and groups running out of the university.  I suggest you listen to the show here if you missed it!

ASEN members on the Mining the Truth Roadtrip
Now for those who don’t know about ASEN, in summary it is the network of student environment groups from around Australia committed to building grassroots movements for change. The network links together a fluctuating group of around 38 university environment collectives and five state-based networks around Australia (thanks Wikipedia! The ever reliable and accurate internet resource). In other words, they organise a range of cool and inspiring projects and campaigns in the area of environment and social justice and provide an easy way for everyone to be involved! Some of the projects include an annual Students of Sustainability Conference, National Training Camp, bi-annual publication ‘Germinate’, various No Coal No Gas campaigns, Food Coops as well as working with Australia’s indigenous people for sovereignty and justice. On top of these, ASEN runs other training courses, training camps and conferences so search for and like them on Facebook to keep up to date on the current and upcoming events and visit their website to see how you can be involved and how to become a member.
A major campaign that is currently running is the Fossil Free Universities campaign. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about and what part your university is playing then check out the website for all the facts and figures.

Some useful links related to this weeks show:

ANU chief Ian Young’s ethical sell call paying dividends – Published in The Australian (surprising) but unfortunately I cannot provide a link to the article as this one requires a membership (I’m thinking… CONSPIRACY). This article is referencing Australian National University’s decision to divest from fossil fuel including all its shares in Santos a few months back and just last week a report release by Credit Suisse stated that Santos shares may be worthless at current oil prices.

UNSW rejects divestment push – Blah blah…. UNSW don’t want to participate in “token political actions”, Christopher Pyne called the campaign “a Greens-led, anti-mining and energy divestment campaign that is damaging to some of our biggest companies and employers”. Greens-led? ummm... pretty sure it has been and continues to be led by members of communities, universities, banks, churches and any other organisations that have investment capabilities because these members are sick of the lack of action by Government and feel a moral and ethical obligation to do so, not to mention the financial benefits (See RIAA's Responsible Investment Benchmarking Survey 2014 Report!). At least Mr Pyne recognises the damage the campaign is doing to the dirty, unethical, environmentally damaging companies!

Coal curse: the black side of the subsidised resources boom – On older article (July 2012) but worth a read. Addresses the true cost of energy from coal by weighing up the real costs and benefits. Some surprising figures in this one (well, surprising if you’ve been subjected to mainstream media coal lobbyist claims).

Feel free to add more articles or make comments on these ones below!
ASEN members campaigning against AGL plans to frack the valley in Gloucester during the Mining the Truth Roadtrip

TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A PRIZE!!(movie tickets…shhh) More details will be provided during next week’s show!

Speaking of next week, we have Jody Jackson, our resident gardening expert coming in to have our monthly friendly, informative and funny discussion.

Music from this week:
The Wire by Haim
Everyone’s Waiting by Missy Higgins
Gonna Take A Little Rain by Andrew Duhon
Chain and Padlock by The Lurkers
Power And The Passion by Midnight Oil
I See Fire by Ed Sheeran
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