In this neck of the subtropical woods, it is the season for thunderstorms. Cells build in the Brisbane Valley and head southeast, sometimes bringing hail but always damaging winds.
The lightning can be spectacular but frightening if you are driving or caught outside.
Our dogs are fine but some dogs become so fearful they panic at the sound of thunder and run away.
There is even such a thing as thunderstorm asthma. Usually this occurs in the southern part of Australia, such as Victoria. Thunderstorm asthma caused 10 deaths and 300 hospital admissions last year in the one storm event.
Coming tonight, the storms put a bit of a kybosh on Halloween festivities. Our estate has bee
n quite enthusiastic at Halloween decorating this year so I am half expecting a skeleton, Halloween entity or witch to come flying over the fence for real.
There you were, sitting by the side of the lake, on a saturday night, admiring the moon reflecting on the water, the tide gently lapping a romantic lullaby in your ears.
The night was young and you got carried away in the moment, perhaps with your loved one by your side?
But did you remember to take your rubbish with you, when you left?
This sight greeted me on my walk this morning at 6am.
An almost empty can of whisky, a plastic bottle half filled with juice, and some leftover food in a single-use plastic bag.
If I knew where you lived,
I would gladly return your left belongings to your door.
Did you not realize perhaps that this lake opens out to the sea? A sea where marine animals and fish live? Someone’s else’s home?
When you finished eating your take out meal, (or take away, if you are an Australian), did you not walk directly past the bin? It takes but a second, to look and check for a nearby rubbish bin/trash can and dispose of your waste in a bin that waits there just for that sole purpose. A bin, which has been put there for your convenience. A bin which you might even pay for, with your taxes, or as part of your council rates.
Did you not see the location of the bin was a mere 10 – 20 steps behind you, depending on your height, of course?
Your thoughtless act of carelessness contributes to contamination of our waterways with plastic wastes.
Thanks to you, it will take 20 years for that one plastic bag to break down in the environment and even after that, will still pose a threat to fish and other aquatic life, entering their bodies in the form of micro-plastics.
Fish or aquatic animals, that you, yourself, might eat one day. This means you will also ingest micro plastics in to your gut. Just like this whale. Plastic didn’t do him any good.
If you are a turtle, whale, dugong, or larger marine animal, you might ingest the whole plastic bag, and who could blame you, as bags do look like jelly fish. For these creatures, the consequences are fatal.
All because you forgot or couldn’t care, to dispose of your leftover waste in a responsible manner.
According to an estimate, every year Americans use approximately 1.6 million barrels of oil just for producing plastic bottled water. Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills.
Plastic bags take 10-20 years to decompose, while plastic bottles take 450 years.
Every minute, every day, more than 120,000 aluminum cans are recycled only in America. But, at the same time, every three-months, enough aluminum cans are thrown away in America that can rebuild the entire American commercial air fleet.
Aluminum cans take 80-200 years in landfills to get completely decomposed.
Building a new house last year, meant that I had the opportunity to purchase the latest and greatest cooktop and oven.
I was lucky that the builder had a 90 cm oven as standard equipment and I do love it. I do like to bake a lovely morning tea so the oven get used a lot.
The cooktop in the house design, was gas as a standard addition, and I fondly remembered the teenage days of cooking on an ancient ‘Kooka’ gas stove, in my ‘haunted’ house – highly efficient and reliable. However….
I worked out pretty quickly that gas wasn’t great for someone living in the tropics. The phrase sweating away over a hot stove, was more real than I would care to admit, when I discovered the open flame of the gas cooktop, I was cooking with in my rental accommodation, caused the ambient temperature in the kitchen on a 36 degree celsius, overly humid, day to ignite to levels bordering on purgatory.
Thus, an upgrade to induction cooking seemed like a sensible move than a gas stove.
The trouble is I had to purchase all new cookware as not all saucepans operate with the induction technology, which requires saucepans to be magnetic, to work.
I splurged a little and purchased two new non stick Induction friendly frypans, one a Raco and the second a Tefal Jamie Oliver style pan, as well as three beautiful induction freindly, non-stick saucepans, a lovely set made in France by Ingenio, with a detachable handle that could be used in the oven or cooktop, or served at the table.
So versatile, I thought.
Imagine my schock when I read that there was a problem with non-stick cookware.
A big problem….
Someone in the Estate by the Sea, where I live, had three parrots that lived inside their home. The owner was cleaning his self-cleaning oven, last week, which requires turning it to its maximum heat for an extended time in order to self clean the interior walls, of the oven.
Suddenly all three of his large parrots, including an African Grey parrot, (which can live to 200 years), developed breathing problems and died within 20 minutes of each other, ostensibly from the polytetrafluoroethylen fumes, emitted from the oven in its self-cleaning mode.
To back up his claim I did a little research:
…. the material used in most nonstick cookware, …the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating on the pans turns into toxic Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at high heat, making it dangerous both for the cook and for diners.
It was in 2004 that the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered the potential cancer-causing chemical used in the production of Teflon and filed complaints against the maker, DuPont.
At that time, a synthetic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA or C8 for short was used in the production of Teflon, however, it was phased out in the USA, in 2013 as PFAS chemicals, which includes PFOA and PFOS, had been linked to cancer and numerous other health concerns.
Despite DuPont completely eliminating the use of PFOA from use in their products, according to a spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), there is a wide range of products supplied in Australia that still include the related chemicals.
This week, I purchased a PFOA free frypan and worryingly note the Ingenio saucepans are now a discontinued product, in the larger retail stores. I shall have to ensure these saucepans are never used on high heat or should I ditch them and get stainless steel, all over again, for the Home by the Sea?
Do you use Non stick cookware, or use water resistant, stain resistant products?
You know you are in Australia when you see a Koala in a tree! Australia’s unique marsupial is so specialized it only eats from around four species of Eucalypt trees. And it needs about 1 kilogram of them every day!
Koalas are super cute but they are endangered, and vulnerable to extinction and may potentially become extinct due to habitat loss, disease, limited interbreeding due to a declining population and more recently, significant bushfires in their natural habitat. At least 8000 koalas are thought to have died in the fires. We don’t know the real extent of loss.
We had koalas in our backyard trees, when I was a child, as we had tall Eucalypt trees. We had two males that were on the prowl looking for a mate, and were resting peacefully when the ranger came to collect them and take them back to the bush.
James Tremain, a spokesman for the NSW Nature Conservation Council, said in November that koala decline has been happening “slowly and silently.. and that Koala numbers have plunged over the past 20 years. According to the federal threatened species scientific committee koala numbers in two states have dropped 42% between 1990 and 2010.”
This is significant. How can a species, so specialized, stage a comeback when their food source, their only food source, is continually being cut down without replenishment? Residential areas that are cleared and developed, are not replanted with Eucalypt trees because they are too tall, continually drop branches and leaves and too large for back yards.
We have at least one resident koala in our estate – and we only have a few tall tress in the small Eco Zone between two large sporting fields and an estate of houses (without Eucalypt trees).So what will that wild koala go and what will they eat?
Can you see the koala?
Koalas need oodles of sleep – around 18 hours. You would too, if you ate only one type of food all day, every day! That is why most of the time they are spotted in trees, they are sleeping.
You might be wondering how it survives on just gum leaves, as the oils in the leaves are quite poisonous. The Koalas have adapted to this specialized niche in the ecosystem, by having a very long digestive organ which allows them to break down the leaves and up til know were easily found throughout much of Eastern Australia. I spotted a few koalas on Stradbroke Island a few years ago.
The infant koala is called a Joey and it is pretty useless when it is born. Blind and earless when born the joey must use its strong sense of touch and smell, as well as natural instinct, to find its way into the pouch or face death. Being a marsupial it requires extended antenatal care that amounts to six to twelve months in its mother’s pouch, where it continues to grow and develop. After the first six months, the young koala will ride around on its Mother’s back until it reaches maturity.
I am kind of glad I am not a mumma koala!
Help for Koalas
Please support organizations that fund 24/7 care of wild koalas in trouble
The third day of the challenge tells me to Remove negativity in my life – well they picked a difficult time to do that.
I am so focused on the situation with the fires and the lack of political leadership, I let fly this morning on the phone at a bigoted old conservative voter.
“But what Can they do?” I was asked by this old man.
They can fund the Fire Service, and buy planes to fight the fires.
“Ah,” the old man said, ” It is the Greenies fault, they won’t let them do anything.”
Apparently a small number of Green party politicians in the upper house of Government, prevents the Government from any kind of legislative change or action.
This is the mindset of the ignorant.
The Prime Minister does nothing, except reiterate like a broken record, “I understand people are angry,” and it transpires that the State Premier of NSW has cut funding for the Rural fire service and equipment, right before the fire season started. What impudence.
Volunteer fire fighters are fighting fires without breathing masks or protective equipment, risking their own health and lives. Unconscionable actions by the Government continue, and very little comments from those who sit in their air conditioned offices overlooking Sydney harbour or Canberra.
People are missing, thousands of homes burnt to the ground, 11.3 million acres of bush and more each moment – lost. To say nothing of the loss of animals, the loss to biodiversity and contribution of smoke and carbon to the atmosphere. Unprecedented climate conditions and the politicians do nothing.
So perhaps I really do need to remove negativity in my life today.
I am too churned up and after anger, follows sadness.
That helps no one.
I have to let it go, breathe and find a way to channel the anger into affirmative action.
Sign a petition for action on climate change
Write a letter to your local parliamentarian requesting support for renewable energy and more funding fire services, fire management plans and fire fighting aeroplanes
Do what you can locally in your own back yard to help the plastic, (ie reduce plastic use, compost scraps, fire-proof your property, plant trees).
Join a Community group involved in rehabilitating bush, promoting land management
Donate to raise funds for those who have lost their home to fire
Share information on social media
Exercise your well considered democratic right at the ballot box.