Friday, June 27, 2014

Environmentality, 25 June 2014, Conservation Volunteers Australia

Volunteers are what makes the world go around.  Over 6 million people volunteer their time, expertise and energy in some capacity every year in Australia.  Sure, some of those are mandated by our courts but still they are pretty amazing figures.

Izumi and Travis from Conservation Volunteers Australia joined us in the studio on Wednesday.  With over 350 projects around Australia, there are some fantastic opportunities to get involved with their projects.  The beauty of CVA volunteering is that you don't need to sign up to a minimum number of hours, you can just attend when you can.

Eastern Barred Bandicoot
Travis (who has worked for CVA for 18 years!) has 7km of fencing that needs to be patrolled at Woodlands Historic Park (next to Melbourne airpport) where the Eastern Barred Bandicoot has been reintroduced and is beginning to thrive.

Protected by a very large fence and great management by
CVA and Parks Victoria and of course volunteers, it is these type of projects that give our flora and fauna a chance to show themselves off and be around for the next generation.

Whilst we were having great conversation on air, Jaime was walking the walk in participating in a three day Climate Reality Project.  Another great volunteering opportunity where participants are given training to be Climate Reality Ambassadors to spread the environment and sustainability message.  I am sure you will be hearing more about what he has discovered on the show!

Music played today were guest selections:

Even Tuell singing Precious Clouds
The Strokes,  Last Night
Cat Stevens, Peace Train
Tim Buckley, Once I Was

Next week on the show -  Peter Newman AO, Professor of Sustainability, Curtain University

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Environmentality 18 June 2014, Jodi Jackson, My Everyday Garden

Jodi was in talking french trench and cuttings!  

What on earth is a french trench I hear you ask.  Well I didn't know either so here (according to Wikipedia) is the definition of a french trench drain 

A french drain is a trench filled with gravel or rock or containing a a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area.

According to Jodi, anyone can dig a french drain, so please readers, send in your photos!

Apologies, as when you listen to the show you will notice that due to a technical hitch the first 15 minutes or so is missing. 

Winter has decided finally to grace us and there is nothing better than getting out in the garden to warm up and start organising for spring!  It is a good time to start thinking about all the plants you have been wanting to take cuttings from - a great way to share plants with friends and neighbours and save money.  

Jodi finishing her cutting
There are lots of good sites on how to take softwood, semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings, one of them is the Gardening Australia.  Now is a good time to take hardwood cuttings.  Hardwood cuttings are best taken from deciduous shrubs and climbers and taken in winter because they are dormant and are less likely to dry out.  So if you have had your eye on the fig next door now it the time to take that cutting!  You can also try roses, grapes, hydrangeas, and wisteria all which reward with great smells and good eating. 

Jodi's heat bed for her cuttings
If you wanted to get serious with your cuttings you might also need a heat bed if you were going to propagate a lot of cuttings over winter. Heat beds give the roots a little burst of warmth to help them along in the cooler months.

Until next week, happy gardening.

Music played on the show:

Lenka, Everything at Once
Rodriguez, SugarMan
Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, The Garden 
Woodlock, Lemons

Next week, Conservation Volunteers Australia

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Environmentality 11 June 2014, Matthew O'Bryan, Kailis Bros

How great is it to have a guest on whose workplace is partnering with the WWF and one of the big two supermarket chains, Coles, to educate and influence people in making sustainable choices when they are buying seafood.

The very articulate Matthew O'Bryan, Sustainability Manager for Kailis Bros joined us in the studio, make sure you listen to the show!

Sustainability of our oceans fishstocks has been talked about for a long time.  Organisations like the AquaCulture Stewardship Council and the Marine Stewardship Council are working all around the world with local fisheries, wholesalers, retailers and the general public to rectify the near decimation of many species and the ongoing viability of the oceans ecosystem.

The killing of sharks for the highly prized shark fin sees over 10 million sharks taken every year.  As Madi Stewart (aka Shark Girl) tells us in her documentary promo, 80,000 sharks are caught legally within the Great Barrier Reef......every year!

The SeaShepherd Conservation organisation states that Blue Fin tuna stocks are down 97% in the Mediterranean from what they were in the 1900s. The Blue Fin tuna market is predominately used in sushi and sashimi and it is a worldwide $7.2 BILLION dollar industry.  Pretty hard to fight against the tide when those sorts of margins are being made.

It is not only overfishing that is having a detrimental effect on our oceans; pollution through run off from land, rubbish dropped in the street that ends up in the sea, oil spills, air pollution and climate change are just some of the things that our oceans are fighting against.

Our oceans are full of majestic and magical creatures and we can all do our bit by understanding where our seafood comes from and how it is caught.  Download the sustainable seafood guide from the Australian Marine Conservation or website before you buy.

Music played on the show today was a guest selection (thanks Matthew)

Bust by Selfdestructo
Shakedown by Tumbleweed
The Supernova that Never Quits by Powder Monkeys

Next week our favourite gardener, Jodi Jackson, is in the studio.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Environmentality, 4 June 2014, Kevin Donegan, Enviroshop

Loy Yang  - Brown Coal Mine
How is it that the USA have come to the conclusion that coal power is dirty, unsustainable, a health risk to its people, the environment and the world and WE in Australia have had successive governments that think our place in the world is to dig more coal up and become the providers of cheap power?  It is so crazy it must be true.
For those that love a bit of data have a look at the World Resources Institute data on greenhouse gas emissions, it is very interesting.

So what can we do?


It was great to have Kevin Donegan from Enviroshop on the show today. We learnt a little more about the rebate scheme and how the Government is about to scrap the rebates on solar PV systems, so now is the time to talk to your local solar installer.  Check out Enviroshop's website for more information on what size PV system you may need.

The technology to go off grid and store your power in batteries is coming along, with expectation in the solar market that within a few years it will be much more affordable go it alone.

If you don't have the budget for solar at this stage there are plenty of other things you can do to reduce your utility bills.  If you have halogen lights you can replace them with LEDs, they have come down in price and are paying for themselves within 12 months or so.  You can also look at the way you use lighting, maybe you can use lamps with lower wattage.  Compare your electricity retailer with their competitors.  Look at your power and gas bills are you on peak/off peak rate schedules or are you paying a flat rate all day/night.

Whatever you decide to do, saving money on your utilities and spending it on your garden is always much more fun!

Make sure you listen to the show!

Thanks Kevin for the music selection today:

Getting Away with It by James
Miami by Against Me
Shivers by Roland S Howard

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Environmentality 21 May 2014, Robert Bender, Bat Enthusiast

Have you even seen anything so cute as this grey headed flying fox?
Grey Headed Flying Fox

Well maybe you have.  These beautiful flying foxes are native to Australia and fly across the skies of Melbourne every dawn and dusk.  

According to the Department Environment and Primary Industries, the flying fox colony at Yarra Bend in Melbourne has up to 30,000 residents over the summer period.  This does fall over the winter, however with the resurgence in planting of native trees and shrubs over the years our flying foxes don't need to go as far for food as they used to.

As Robert was informing us on the show our native fruit bats (all Australia's bats are native) play a huge part in the health and pollination of our native plants.  Fruit bats are prolific feeders and therefore are great pollinators and because they fly great distances the seeds in their droppings are dispersed and germinate creating more native bush.  

© Gould's Wattled Bat - The State of Victoria,
Department of Environment and Primary Industries/McCann
Our passionate guest, Robert Bender has been studying bats for 20 years.  His particular interest is not our fruit eating flying fox species of bat but the insect eating Gould's wattled bats. Gould's (named after English naturalist John Gould) are tiny bats normally as big as your thumb and weighing between 7 and 16 grams.  

Make sure you listen to the show to hear what Robert has to say.

The Australasian Bat Society has a fantastic website with more information than you could imagine on bats. There are lots of PDF downloads great for school assignments or to raise awareness of these magical mammals.

If you are lucky enough to have microbats roosting under your house or in your eaves, remember they are eating all those nasty mozzies and making your life much more pleasant.  And if you don't have any microbats under your house you can get a bat box and do your bit for these tiny creatures.

Music played today:

Coleman Hawkins - Sugar Foot Stomp
Asa - Jailer
Turlough O'Carolan - Carolan's Farewell
Coleman Hawkins - Watermelon Man

Next week on the show we have Jodi Jackson, My Everyday Garden

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Environmentality 14 May 2014, Jason Mundy, Australian Antarctic Division

What an amazing experience to be involved in the Antarctic.  So much going on in an area that most of us associate with seals, penguins, whales and ice.

Thanks goes to Jason Mundy, General Manager of the Australian Antartic Division's Strategies Branch for talking with us on Environmentality.  Jason was a keynote speaker at the 'Strategic Science in Antarctica' conference, you can read excerpts of Jason's speech here.

No one country actually 'owns' Antartica.  Seven nation; Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Norway, Chile and Argentina have claimed a stake on some areas, however over 50 nations have signed an agreement which covers what activities can be undertaken on the Antarctic continent.  One point of the agreement is that there is a ban on mining and exploration within the entire Antarctic area for the forseeable future.

So what does go on in the very far, far south of our lands.......

Research, science and conservation, none of which is done in isolation but in collaboration with countries from all around the world.

Some projects are more obvious such as the conservation of seabirds, in particular the Albatross and ensuring fish stocks are not plundered by over fishing, but there are others such as the drilling and pulling of ice-cores which scientists are then using to determine what carbon dioxide levels were thousands of years ago.

There is endless amounts of information on the Antarctic on the web, for those that are interested, you could read for days and days.  You may even be inspired to apply for a job.

Credit: Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory, NM Tech
Live Science has 50 amazing facts about Antarctica one of them being about towers on Mount Erebus the second highest volcano in Antarctica.

Giant, hollow towers of ice form on Mount Erebus when fumarole cracks on the volcano that vent hot gas spew steam into the open air. The steam freezes in place in the frigid air, forming towers up to 30 feet (10 meters) tall.

Make sure you listen to the show to hear more about this intriguing part of the world.

Music played today was chosen by Jason:
Midnight Oil, Antarctica
Damien Rice's cover of Princes When Doves Cry
The Lemonheads, Outdoor Type
Alex Lloyds cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah

Next week on the show Robert Bender is talking bats with us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Environmentality 7 May 2014, Robyn Deed, ReNew Magazine

Wow, if you live in Melbourne or surrounds you would have woken to a very chilly morning today.  Just 5 in the city and much cooler on the outskirts!

Great timing to grab the latest copy of ReNew and read up on draught proofing your house.

Did you know that the average Melbourne house loses between 15-25% of its heat through cracks in floorboards, windows and doors.

There are many ways you can fix some of these draught issues; you can buy draught sealing tapes for your windows from hardware shops and they are normally pretty low cost.  You can put sausages at your doorways to stop the air that comes under the front and back door.  This is always a problem, especially in old house that move during hot and cold periods.  And let's not forget curtains, heavy drapes stop lots of hot air escaping through old windows.  Your Home is an Australian Government site on passive solar heating and is quite a good reference point for improving your energy efficiency around the house.

For those of us that can't resist the temptation to light a fire, (using reclaimed timbers of course) there was a interesting article on a burner that uses wheat pellets as an energy source.  You can also buy all purpose burners that can use corn, lentils and crushed olive pits!   Amazing.  I don't know how easy that fuel would be to source in the city but someone might like to give it a try?

 As some of you may know, community radio is under threat, yet again.  With the Federal budget being handed down in 5 days time, I urge all of our listeners and readers to get on board and join the campaign - Committ to Community Radio.  Check out the site, and join the petition to save stations like North West FM!

Thanks Robyn for choosing our tunes today:
Cowboy Junkies, Blue Moon Revisited
Boogie Wonderland, Earth, Wind and Fire
Cowboy Junkies, Sweet Jane and a selection from Ahmed
Sam Cooke, A Change is Gonna Come

To ensure to you stay clean and green - LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Next week on the show we have Jason Mundy from the Australian Antartic Division!
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