I searched for ways to upcycle toothpaste tubes and honestly, I wouldn’t waste the time.
So, finish that tube, wrestle the hard plastic under the nozzle with scissors and shove it into that ecobric of enlightenment.
From now on, you can make your own toothpaste for next to nothing and without all those nasty chemicals that you haven’t heard of.
Mix 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate (bicarb/baking soda) and you are ready to go.
Spoon a pea size onto your toothbrush and brush, brush brush.
If you want to go easy on the flavour, add some stevia and peppermint oil drops. For more recipes, click here
Also known as Keurboom, Tree-In-A-Hurry and Blossom Tree.
This tree is leguminous meaning it is a nitrogen fixer.
The attractive fragrant flowers and the fast growth rate make the keurboom a popular tree for the garden. Of the two, Virgilia divaricata is the better choice as its foliage is more luxuriant, and its growth more compact and it is amazingly beautiful when in full flower.
A keurboom is the perfect tree for the new, bare garden because it grows so fast it will take only two or three years before it will be creating shade, or a screen, and filtering the wind – which is an important consideration in Cape Town suburbs. It is also one of the best species to use as a pioneer in the first stage in the succession to forest. It is happy to grow out in the open, grows fast and quickly and creates the shade that the slower-growing, more permanent trees need to grow in.
Virgilia is propagated from seed. The seed coat is hard and requires some stimulation to initiate germination. Seeds can be soaked in hot water before sowing, or the seed coat can be cracked artificially. They also respond to stimulation by fire and can be treated with the Kirstenbosch Instant Smoke Plus Seed Primer. Seed should be sown in autumn or spring, in well-drained soil at a depth of 0.5 – 1 cm and covered with the sowing medium or milled bark and then watered. Seed can also be sown in situ, e.g. for forest rehabilitation projects. The seeds are highly fertile and can remain alive for many years after they have fallen, even after as many as 30 years they will germinate if conditions are favourable.
Transplant the seedlings after the first pair of true leaves has emerged when they are large enough to handle. Virgilia seedlings grow fast and can be planted into pots or bags for growing in, or directly into their permanent position in the garden. Feed moderately with a liquid fertilizer and water generously. Plant the young trees into a permanent location in full sun or semi-shade. They need good, light soil and plenty of water, particularly during their first 2 to 6 years. Virgilias have strongly spreading surface roots and are greedy feeders; they will benefit from frequent generous applications of compost or organic mulch. Virgilias are sensitive to frost, particularly when young. Mature trees may withstand short periods of frost, but not prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures.
Coates Palgrave, M. 2002. Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of southern Africa, edn 3. Struik, Cape Town.
Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape plants. A conspectus of the Cape flora of South Africa. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria & Missouri Botanical Garden.
Palmer, E. & Pitman, J. 1972. Trees of southern Africa. Balkema, Cape Town.
Phillips, E.P. 1928. Virgilia capensis. The Flowering Plants of South Africa 8: t. 305.
Smith, C.A. 1966. Common names of South African plants. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No. 35.
Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field guide to trees of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.
3 Bean Salad may sound like an old recipe for braais but for me, it’s a great staple to have in the fridge and you can dress it up just before you eat it with micro-greens growing on the kitchen window sill, lettuce leaves in the garden and anything else that you have growing or in the pantry. Be creative and use what is in season. You could add almost anything savoury to it. Some examples: Rocket, steamed spinach, nuts, tomatoes, fruit, carrots, cucumber, herbs (you get the picture!)
I have to admit that the recent heat wave in the Cape inspired me to include a cool dish. I do tend to find that when I eat a green salad, I am only satiated for 20 minutes and then ravenous again. Beans are hardcore. They are packed with protein and are nutritionally dense. By building a salad around a basic 3 bean salad, I know it will keep the proverbial monkey off my back for a long stretch and I will be getting enough nutrition.
I have made this recipe as basic as I can because it gives you the freedom to choose and experiment with flavours that you like and also supplement your nutritional needs. I like to cook my beans from scratch so I can double rinse them and I am not exposed to bisphenol A (BPA) lined cans. You can use canned beans from the grocer if you like.
1 cup each of various pulses of your choice. (Cannelloni beans, black beans, kidney beans, sugar beans, chickpeas, lentils, string beans…….)
3 bay leaves
1 large onion
2 tablespoons of a vinegar of your choice (White/brown/balsamic/wine/apple cider/coconut/rice….)
2 tablespoons of any sugar or sweeten as you like (Stevia/xylitol/Agave syrup….)
1 tablespoon of healthy oil (Olive/avocado/macadamia/walnut….)
Soak beans overnight or during the day.
Cook in water and bay leaves until soft.
Rinse until the water runs clear and remove the bay leaves.
Mince or grate the onion and mix with vinegar, sugar and oil.
Mix the dressing with the beans and season to taste.
Enjoy on it’s own or spruce it up with garden greens and pantry products.
Climate change is a loaded topic and you can dig deep into intimidating mathematical calculations and chemistry. What it all boils down to (pun intended) are the molecules in our atmosphere. Before the industrial revolution, it worked like this: The sun shines down on earth and mostly the energy bounces back out to space. Water vapour and some carbon dioxide keeps a fraction of the energy maintaining warmth. This way, the sun warms the earth enough to sustain life but doesn’t burn us to a crisp.
With carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydroflourocarbons and other gases in the atmosphere, a harmful amount of the sun’s heat is trapped in our atmosphere and not enough is reflected back out into space.
This is ultimately the greenhouse effect which warms our planet. This is why we are reaching record high temperatures and earth’s creatures are behaving differently.
I got so lost in links of links of links in Wikipeadia and whilst I understood the just of it, I couldn’t write about it the way I would like to. Luckily, there are some brainiacs on Youtube that can explain it perfectly in visuals.
Enjoy the videos below and pat yourself on the back for learning the science behind climate change. They all compliment each other and are fun to watch.
No sun – no moon! No morn – no noon – No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day. No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, No comfortable feel in any member – No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds – November!
Written by Thomas Hood in 1844 when London was subjected to frequent smog.
This poem also describes a future that a handful of transnational companies have designed for us and are ready to profit even more from. Almost every country has a government that can be bought with Mother Nature’s blood money and almost every political leader is ignoring climate change because it’s ‘not good for business.’
These decisions are leaving us to face our own extinction because money seems more important than our survival. Our pensions are literally paying for our death. The madness has to stop NOW!
Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash
We are going through the most critical, ecological crisis this planet has ever experienced. It is bigger than our previous five mass extinctionsand more concerning than world war one and world war two. This is the time for everyone to heed the call to prevent further damage. The social contract between those who govern us and the rest of humanity has been broken.
In order to survive, we must all take up the fight.
Civil disobedience is growing because governments fail to acknowledge the severity of climate change and divest from fossil fuels. The youth have foreseen a dark future ahead while those in power are almost ready to retire. Some activists are winning and continue to win with support from ordinary folk like you and me.
We can change the course we are on from destructive to regenerative and we must, because we no longer have a choice. It’s not about you or me or them, it’s about every force of life on this precious planet. Every life counts, every creature matters.
If everything we do, we do with the best intention for the planet, then we can live healthy lives, in body and mind. This is no longer the time to start with something small like recycling your glass, this is the time to do a complete overhaul of your life and terminate our bad habits that have a high carbon footprint.
Like John Newton’s successful campaign to end the slave trade, we must do 5 things:
1. Join the community
2. Communicate in images
3. Invoke emotion with intention
4. Create meaningful calls to action
5. Tell better stories
To elaborate on number 4: What can we do?
Stop traveling on fossil fuels on your own. Take a bus, a taxi, a train or car pool or even ride a bicycle. Not only will it be cheaper but you will have more time to yourself to read and feed your mind. Riding a bicycle is a healthy gift to your body because you can burn fat instead of fossil fuels. Live close to work or find work close to home.
Plant more trees. Plant a tree for Arbour day, for your birthday, for your wedding, for your funeral, for the birth of your children, to celebrate someone else’s life. Plant a tree for the community, for the future, for the unborn, for the birds, the bees and the love in between. Trees sequester carbon, filter noise and wind, drop temperatures, seed rain, fertilise soil, create shade, enhance wildlife, increase value of property, decrease crime and they are beautiful.
Eat more vegetables. Grow them too if you can. Eating more vegetables means you eat less meat. Animal agriculture accounts for over 50% of biomass on the planet. We are so busy growing food to feed livestock that children in poorer countries are starving to death not to mention water becoming a scarcity. Growing your own food means less poison on your plate, less salt in the earth, more diverse ecosystems, less fossil fuels from farm to store, less fossil fuels from store to plate, less fossil fuels to keep food cool and better quality food. Growing food is fun, educational, rewarding and it just tastes better – I promise.
Ditch the dustbin and the trashy life. Roll up your sleeves and learn to zero waste your lifestyle. Join Facebook groups. Many are on this journey already. Join Freecycle. You will need the help of an ecobrick to get you started.
Get involved. Join your neighbourhood community or start one. Go to protests, sign petitions, volunteer for environmental justice, engage in civil disobedience if that’s what it takes. This is your call to do your part for the green revolution.
Search with Ecosia instead of Google. They have planted over 40 million trees and offered 1 million Euros to save Germany’s forest from coal mining. They have great success and when you search with them all the time, they share these positive stories with you. Latest happy story here.
If there is one philosophy, one science, one topic, one book, one youtube video, one subject you should invest your time in, this should be permaculture. It truly does have the answers to live a healthy life. Read about it, investigate it and study it if you can. Want proof? Good! I’m glad you asked. Search for Surviving Collapse by Geoff Lawton and he will show you how he is greening deserts. The most arid, barren, dry, hot deserts where nothing grows. He may even become your new best friend.
Invest in an eco loo and build a compost bin. You can use all that water that you were using to flush, for your food garden. Plus, in year’s time, your biowaste would have turned into lovely black compost for your trees. It’s nature’s way and has been this way long before flushing toilets came into operation in the mid nineteenth century. Despite public opinion and paranoia, eco toilets are much cleaner than their flushing counterparts, if managed correctly. No bacteria aerosols, no need for ghastly sewerage pipes running under the city letting off methane in it’s path. Nature does all the work for you and everything you ate is returned back into the ground as carbon, where it belongs. Your water saving efforts are then repeated because soil that contains organic matter retains water very well. This means plants don’t need to be watered as frequently.
Support small local businesses instead of transnational companies.
Mother Nature can feed us abundantly with nutritious food, she can shelter us, give us happiness and provide future generations with a diverse and beautiful home. In order to unlock her gifts, we must honour, love and respect her with every single action we take during our lives. Let’s evolve from an industrial revolution to a green revolution!
If you are reading this then you can probably think of a few uses for that odd sock before retiring it to either the ecobric (if it’s made of polyester) or to the compost bin if it is made from natural fibres. The obvious way is to use it as a rag for cleaning.
There are so many uses but my favourite are:
Collect silica sachets from all your empty pill boxes and put them in old sock. Leave it on your dashboard to stop it from fogging up in the winter.
They are great for protecting things in storage: e.g golf clubs, safety glasses, sunglasses, shoes, tennis balls (or any small balls), breakables, game pieces and so on.
Cut them up and stick them to the bottom of furniture legs to use them to protect your floors.
Put the odd sock over your vacuum nozzle to get small bolts and jewelry that may get lost in cracks and keyboards.
Make a small heat bag for you, your loved ones or pet. Simply fill with beans or rice and sew closed. A minute in the microwave and you have someting to keep the bed warm. Sew two together and you can drape it around your neck or place anywhere to ease tension and encourage healing.
Certainly, pasta primavera is a spring meal, but it’s good anytime.
Here, my version is made using slivers of onion, mixed peppers and carrot. They are sautéed together until the onions are soft and translucent.
Then I add fresh garlic and coconut cream and then Unicorn Cafe’s excellent smoked V-Salmon pieces
Cook gently for a couple of minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
Add to spaghetti with lots of freshly ground black pepper, and top with a little Mediterranean Delicacies caviart for colour and oomph.
This planetary boundary is one of two core boundaries. This means that if this threshold has been crossed, it affects other processes on earth. The other core boundary is climate change.
By looking at the planetary boundary picture above, you can see that the green to yellow to red piece of the pie, indicates that we have crossed this threshold.
We are now experiencing the sixth mass extinction of planet earth. This beautiful blue and green planet of ours has experienced 5 mass extinctions before. These have been said to be caused by volcano eruptions, asetroid strikes, climate shifts and other natural causes. During these natural phenomenons, species extinction occurs at 1 to 5 species a year. This is called a background rate.
The sixth mass extinction known as the Holocene or Anthropocene extinction is caused by humans. The extinction rate of species is 1,000 to 10,000 times larger than the background rate of previous extinctions.
We are facing a future of losing 30 – 50% of all species by 2050 if we don’t act dramatically now.
This is caused by a number of factors:
Habitat loss and degration due to farming especially animal agriculture
Climate change through heat stress and drought stress
Excessive nutrient load and other forms of pollution
Over-exploitation and unsustainable use (e.g. unsustainable fishing methods) we are currently using 25% more natural resources than the planet
Armed conflict, which disrupts human livelihoods and institutions, contributes to habitat loss, and intensifies over-exploitation of economically valuable species, leading to population declines and local extinctions.
Invasive alien species that effectively compete for a niche, replacing indigenous species
The threat of extinction is at large and includes:
1 out of 8 birds
1 out of 4 mammals
1 out of 4 conifers
1 out 3 amphibians
6 out of 7 marine turtles
75% of genetic diversity of animal crops have been lost
75% of the world’s fisheries are fully or over exploited
Up to 70% of the world’s known species risk extinction if the global temperatures rise by more than 3.5°C
1/3rd of reef-building corals around the world are threatened with extinction
Over 350 million people suffer from severe water scarcity
Despite it’s misleading name meaning eight, October in the southern hemisphere is a time between the sping equinox and the summer solstice.
Photo by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash
October the 12th, is an annual observance known as Freethought day. This is a day for freethinkers to remember the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem witch trials where 25 innocent people died mostly by hanging due to mass hysteria, false accusations and religious extremism.
Bridget Bishop hanged as a witch at Salem in 1692. Briggs. Co. / George Eastman House / Getty Images
A festival called Beltane is celebrated on the 31st of October until sunrise on the 1st of November.
This festival is celebrated to commemorate fertility and growth.
Deciduous trees who have lost their leaves are budding and growing again. Fertile soil will give abundant food and herbs. Nature is at play while the days grow longer and warmer.
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash
There are many ways to celebrate Beltane which often include communal bonfires at night and to share the flame for home fires. Maypole dancing is another way to celebrate this solar based festival and committments and promises are made at this time of year.
The planting of a seed into rich soil is an act of magic in itself. It is the beginning of new life and out of the dark earth, it breaks free to grow, express, be, and give seed again.
Fertility is about germinating, sprouting, rising – so while your garden is burgeoning, let your mind be fertile too.
Photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash
Renew your connection to the force of life on this planet and enhance your dialogue with Mother Nature.
Understanding her, brings out the best solutions to living a wild and happy life.
Without fertility, there is no growth so take some time to meditate on the meaning of this word and see how you can increase the fertility of your life to bring abundance and high spirits.
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion is one of 9 interplanetary boundaries.
Introduction to Planetary Boundaries
Planetary Boundaries is a concept where each of the nine boundaries are interconnected with one another. It was proposed by a group of earth system and environmental scientists led by Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Will Steffen from the Australian National University.
When one boundary is pushed beyond it’s limits, it can cause catastrophe for the other boundaries. It’s a bit like looking at the planet as a whole ecosystem.
Some people argue and say that using planetary boundaries implies that humans can continue their destructive ways up until a determined limit and thus not change methods entirely. I agree with them. I believe we should be altering our methods so that we are healing the planet and not taking without replacing.
I do, however find the planetary boundaries concept interesting because it alerts us to the dangerous territory we are embarking on that could cause the life, including human life, on our blue planet to collapse.
Business as usual in a system that is based on infinite resources is leading us to the depths of Modor, to put it figuratively. We are dancing on the edge of a cliff and we must find our way back to the laws of nature.
Nature is a wonderful thing. She is fruitful, rewarding and can pour abundant doses of happiness into our souls. That sentence only applies when we treat her with respect. If we abuse her, punish her, force her and overpower her, she will become hostile. Unfortunately many innocent lives are at stake for the actions of a few people orientated by money and immediate gratification. We must look into the future and think ahead. Immediate gratification is like an addiction and it will make us sick.
Our Ozone Layer
The ozone layer encircles the Earth, and it is a gaseous layer situated at the lower end of the stratosphere. Ozone is a molecule made up of 3 oxygen atoms. The oxygen we breath is made up of molecules with 2 oxygen atoms. The ozone layer has more ozone in it than any other atmospheric layer around the earth. Ozone serves an important purpose for life on earth. It blocks harmful ultraviloet radiation that comes from the sun.
It is compelling to know that ultraviolet radiation from the sun actually forms the ozone molecules in the ozone layer. Ozone forms when radiation or electrical discharge separates the two atoms in an oxygen molecule (O2), and these free oxygen atoms can form with other oxygen molecules (O2) to form ozone (O3).
The general public became more aware of the ozone layer when scientists discovered that certain chemicals manufactured by humans destroyed some of our ozone. These harmful chemicals include chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) and caused a ‘hole’ (or rather a considerable less amount of ozone) in our ozone layer that sits over Antartica during the spring time.
After an outcry, an international treaty was signed in 1973 called the Montreal Protocol, and the manufacture of these chemicals was greatly reduced.
The ozone layer destruction has slowed down significantly and we are hoping that it will continue to heal with humanity’s cooperation. There is some science that suggests that major volcanic eruptions (mainly El Chichon in 1983 and and Mt. Pinatubo in 1991) may have also contributed to the ozone depletion.
If the ozone layer continued to deplete, humans would be susceptible to various cancers, cataracts and plants would not grow well thus impacting our food supply. Whales have also shown signs of skin damage due to the hole in the ozone layer.
While stratospheric ozone which protects us from the sun is good, there is also ozone produced near the ground from sunlight interacting with atmospheric pollution in cities that is bad for human health. It causes breathing problems for some people, and usually occurs in the summertime when the pollution over a city builds up during stagnant air conditions
The planetary boundary for the ozone layer is recorded in Dobson Units and is currently 276 Dobson units. That means if we fall under 276 units, we have passed the threshold. The current reading accorning to Wikipedia is 283 Dobson Units. The value before industrial times was 290.
Here is an interesting timeline of the history of the ozone layer from theozonehole.com. Note Du Pont’s role in this, who is also responsible for biodiversity loss in food by producing pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified food to survive these poisions.
HISTORY OF THE OZONE LAYER
600,000,000 B.C. Ozone layer forms
1839 Christian Schöenbein identifies ozone in the laboratory
1845 Auguste de la Rive and Jean-Charles de Marignac suggest ozone is a form of oxygen; confirmed by Thomas Andrews in 1856
1858 Andrei Houzeau finds ozone present in natural air
1865 Jean-Louis Soret proves that ozone is O3
1879 Marie Alfred Cornu measures solar spectrum and finds sharp cutoff in ultraviolet (UV) light
1881 Walter Hartley recognizes cutoff corresponds to UV absorption by ozone
1913 John William Strutt (Lord Rayleigh) shows absorption is not in lower atmosphere
1919 Charles Fabry makes first spectrometric measurements of “thickness” of ozone layer
1924 G.M.B. Dobson develops ozone spectrophotometer and begins regular measurements of ozone abundance (Arosa, Switzerland)
1925 Jean Cabannes and Jean Dufay show ozone is about 10 miles high
1928 Thomas Midgley synthesizes chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s)
1929 Umkehr method for Dobson instrument establishes that ozone maximum is below 15 miles altitude
1930 Sydney Chapman describes theory that explains existence of an ozone “layer”
1934 Ozonesonde (balloon) measurements establish the ozone concentration is maximum around 12 miles up
1930’s GM develops applications for CFC’s
1950 David Bates and Marcel Nicolet propose catalytic (HOx) ozone destruction
1957 Global network of Dobson spectrophotometers established during the International Geophysical Year (IGY)
late 1950’s CFC market expands rapidly
early 1960’s Catalytic destruction is necessary in order to explain ozone amounts
1960’s Boeing proposes supersonic transport (SST) fleet of 800 aircraft
1969 Paul Crutzen discovers NOx catalytic cycle
1971-74 Dept of Transportation sponsors intensive program of research, The Climatic Impact Assessment Program (CIAP)
1971 Congress axes funding for the SST
1971 Johnston calculates that NOx from SST’s could deplete ozone layer
1973 Rick Stolarski and Ralph Cicerone suggest catalytic capability of Cl
1973 James Lovelock detects CFC’s in atmosphere
1974 Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina warn of ozone depletion due to CFC’s
March 1977 First international meeting (Washington DC) to address issue of ozone depletion held by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)
March 1978 US bans non-essential use of CFC’s as aerosol propellant
1978 Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) is launched aboard NIMBUS-7 spacecraft giving global coverage of ozone layer thickness
1980’s Renewed expansion of CFC market
Oct 1982 Shigeru Chubachi measures low ozone over Syowa, Antarctica (reported at Ozone Commission meeting in Halkidiki, Greece in Sept 1984)
1984 British Antarctic Survey scientists discover recurring springtime Antarctic ozone hole (published in Nature May 1985)
March 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
Sept. 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (Amendments – London 1990; Copenhagen 1992)
March 1988 DuPont agrees to CFC production phase-out
late 1980’s Ten years of satellite data begin to show measurable ozone depletion globally
1991 DuPont announces phase-out of CFC production by end of 1996
1992/3 Abnormally low ozone observed globally
1995 Crutzen, Rowland, and Molina win Nobel Prize in Chemistry
mid-1990’s springtime Arctic ozone dent appearing
Jan. 1996 CFC production ends in US and Europe
2000 Maximum CFC concentrations in stratosphere are reached
Today The Ozone Layer – Global Map
2010 CFC production ends world-wide
2030 Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) alternatives are phased out
2040 HCFC production ends world-wide
2050 Springtime Antarctic ozone hole disappears
I did find a video that states that the ozone layer is not healing and I cannot ignore it from this article. To view it, click here.