Another day to reflect and celebrate the past — then dream and prepare for a brighter future… Earth Day has been celebrated for 53 years and over that time, we have seen great wins for the environment — and sadly, plenty of disappointments… Today, this day, is the best time to start making a difference. But HOW? How can each of us make a difference?
Let’s highlight what others are doing to protect the environment (and thus people, plants, and animals too). There are some inspiring stories, great insights of “how-to” and hopefully some motivation to get underway yourself.
Like podcasts and listening while you work, walk, or drive?
Then iHeart Radio has a great collection of Earth Day podcasts (the first, with Bill Clinton, Matt Damon and Gary White (the latter runs water.org who provides clean drinking water and sanitary toilets for millions of people).
Want to deep dive into Climate Change Impact and other enviromental topics?
Harvard edX (in partnership with 2U) offers numerous courses to get you properly resourced and well positioned do do even more to protect our environment. We’re taking the The Health Effects of Climate Change course now (either FREE or receive more access, validated completion, and a certificate for a fee). Looking for something else? Here are dozens more courses to choose from…
There are countless ways — both BIG and small to make an impact and every single action helps. Please let us know what else you are doing or other good ideas you’ve seen.
Google has a global sustainability trends resource — check it out.
Climate change is affecting the health of people around the world; transitioning to net-zero emissions could be the greatest health opportunity this century
By Associate Professor Celia McMichael, Professor Kathryn Bowen and Professor Mark Stevenson, University of Melbourne
Climate change threatens to undermine the health of people around the world, with more intense and frequent extreme weather events, increased heatwave exposure, climate-related food insecurity, alteration in the spread of infectious diseases and exacerbated mental ill-health.
Many have suspected our dear Earth is hotter than ever — the NOAA has now presented data that statistically proves it. Last month was the hottest in recorded history and it seems this is a shadow of things to come… check out their summary with links to more details here.
There is a great story by Paul Fox-Hughes of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on ABC News with engaging videos and insights… There is a lot that we have to do as a community to reduce the risk fire poses to the things that are important to us — but understanding how and why bushfires occur and spread is an important starting point.
Global warming is a global phenomenon but there’s many things gardeners can do to help on a local scale. Jerry uses battery powered tools that can be recharged via the solar power on his roof which prevents greenhouse gas emissions. A push-driven mower also has no reliance on fuels and starts first time every time! Growing plants helps store carbon in soils by taking carbon dioxide in from the atmosphere and turning it into plant tissue. Mangroves are some of best plant communities for storing carbon but trees like eucalypts are great choices with small varieties available for the home garden, and if providing shade on the northern or western side of your house you’ll need less air conditioning to keep cool and save on emissions that way too.
Composting garden and kitchen waste where possible will avoid emissions from councils having to take your waste to the tip. And the compost won’t just increase biological activity, water holding capacity, and fertility of your soil, it will also store carbon! The earth can store ten times more carbon in the soil than it can in the atmosphere. Jerry regularly measures the amount of carbon in his soil and it’s increasing by about 1% each year, which means he’s stopping a huge amount of greenhouse gas getting into the atmosphere just by working in homemade compost.
Choosing the right fertiliser is also important and Jerry uses organic fertiliser like animal manures as they have the nutrients your plants need whilst avoiding the greenhouse gases emitted in the production of synthetic fertilisers. Synthetic fertilisers can also generate nitrous oxide in the soil, a potent greenhouse gas.
The distance food has to be transported to get to you is known as ‘food miles’. The greater the food miles the greater the fossil fuel emissions resulting from the food you consume. But food grown at home only has to go from garden to kitchen! Most of the onions eaten in Brisbane come from South Australia or Tasmania, as they can be unreliable to grow in the Queensland climate. So, Jerry grow subtropical substitutes like spring onion and society garlic that are just as easy and tasty as ordinary onions. Citrus fruits are an internationally traded commodity but with a little space you can grow one at home and they are very rewarding!
Don’t despair about global warming, get into your patch and do something about it.
Yuggera Country | Brisbane, QLD
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