It was only idly wondering which made me go to the Apple store on my iPad to see if there were any compost apps. They have apps for everything. Why not compost? A couple came up but I have done an online search and appcrawler has come up with a lot of paid and free compost apps. The benefit of having hem on a device is the device can go in a plastic bag if necessary and you can still use it. They are more portable than a book outside and lighter. I’ll try a couple of the free apps first but I was looking at Home Composting, which is paid because it looked like the sort of app I’d find useful. I want to see how they work first, though, so the free apps are the way to go.
I am sticking to my promise of getting my composting really well organised this year. I was given the little bin on the left for Christmas. That gets all my kitchen scraps. There is a plastic black pail with a handle inside. I just put my first pail into my bokashi bin today with the bokashi bran. My big compost bin in the garden is getting plenty of brown matter at the moment and I put soil in there as well as the canister of bits from my vacuum cleaner. The bokashi bin will empty into it and I shall have plenty for my worm farm too when I get that going in the cooler weather. At any stage I can break my compost chain and just dig a trench in the veggie patch and bury the organic scraps directly into the soil. Plan B for if I need to bypass the steps for any reason. As it stands my composting process just got a whole lot easier this year because I have thought about it. I am hoping the apps will give me some even better approaches.
I was reading an article about a woman living in a Berlin apartment who is keeping bees. We do have a bee crisis and I know that Europe has different programmes to encourage back yard people to become beekeepers. Keeping them in an apartment block sounds very daring to me. I love bees and am concerned their numbers are dwindling but I understand it better now. Farms have basically become uni crop – just corn or just wheat or just lentils. Then farmers tend to use sprays which do not help the bees and are killing them. The farmers are dealing with difficult weather conditions and are doing what they can to stop their crops from being destroyed by pests or fungal diseases. If Europe can do it, we can do it. I loved watching that video. It is clever and inspiring and you can see that a back yard bee keeping exercise has turned into a business. It is well thought out and the level of care is obvious. There is also someone locally who provides honey from a back yard bee keeping establishment. I don’t know whether it’s good to keep back yard bees or not. I am going to find out. I wouldn’t want it to be a danger to myself, pets, children, people. Maybe I won’t be keeping bees. Maybe I can help someone? My plan for the new year to to find out what is offered locally by way of bee keeping courses. I then plan to find out where we have our local bee keeping people. It’s the sort of thing which could become a community project so that no one has the weight of carrying all those bees. I don’t know. I am creating a plan and then I am going to follow it through because it is not about me. It is all about the bees.
Chie Hitotsuyama is such a talented and inspired artist. Her newspaper sculptures are so carefully crafted and created and the complexity of the thinking involved is impressive. It is not only a wonderful way to recycle newspaper and all this print material we keep producing , it is just art. Beautiful, touching art.
I want one. I want to be able to print green. I want to be able to print pots and green decorations. Pretty sure these eco-friendly printers will take the world by storm once they get going and will transform landscaping and gardening. Designing green spaces with this eco printer or similar means there will be even more personal and creative input into landscaping. It will be a really great way to get children into gardening and will be very helpful for those who have mobility problems but still want to create green spaces. PrintGREEN was created by students Maja Petek, Tina Zidanšek, Urška Skaza, Danica Rženičnik and Simon Tržan, with help from their mentor Dušan Zidar, at the University of Maribor in Slovenia. The PrintGREEN website gives you more information about the projects of this team. They are involved with other eco-friendly projects besides this printer. The thinkingkinghumanity site gives more information and pictures to show how you can use this printer to create living prints. It’s ingenious. I hope they are available and affordable soon. The best thing is it is all organic and can all be composted. That is sustainable living.
Germany has things called Schuttberge. They are made of all the rubble from World War II. The bombing was so severe and the subsequent rubble was so profuse, the Germans had to think their way out of it. There was nowhere to put it. Much of the rubble has been turned into Schuttberge. There is one called the Birkenkopf in Stuttgart. It is a place for people to get outside in the fresh air, to walk and ride trails and then to reflect on the meaning of war. It’s both a place to relax and operate as a memorial. You can read about the Schuttberge at Spiegel online. Why am I telling you this? Because I have been thinking about all the plastic, much of which will not break down. I blogged about how Adidas is recycling ocean plastic into sneakers – will they break down when their life is finished? Then there is much on the internet about the plastic bricks which may or may not be a fire hazard. People are thinking and we need to keep thinking. Plastic would be an insulator. Can plastic rubble not be turned into landscaping or safe building material somehow? Bike trails, parks, mazes, hills, waterproofing ? Could we not use all this plastic and turn it into something good like they have in Germany? Would it be suitable to stop degradation around beach and river areas? Could it be used to fill areas which actually need filling? Would it be safe? We need the scientists and environmentalists in on this. They would know what is feasible and what isn’t. Could it be used to build coral reefs? I feel sure now we need to get rid of plastic unless we can invent one that is safe for the environment. With war we do destroy the environment but we are doing that knowingly now just by daily living. We need to change our ways but we also need to work out a safe way to upcycle the things we cannot recycle. For the next while, at least, until we get smarter, we need to focus as much on upcycling as recycling.
Adidas with Parley have brought out some new sneakers made from ocean plastic. Should be water, shouldn’t it? We shouldn’t have to gather plastic from the ocean. The planet needs to get rid of plastic because as handy as it can be we are very bad at disposing of it and far too much ends up in the ocean. You’ve seen the fish. You’ve seen the videos. There are now attempts to put it right. I’d like to think these sneakers can be disposed of properly when they come to the end of their life. People are trying to solve the plastic waste problem now and there are some very good discussions going on which give me hope that eventually we shall solve this problem. Adidas is trying to find a good use for plastic recouped from the ocean. They cannot solve the problem alone but at least they are making an effort. There is another company making plastic bricks for housing. At best it really ought to only be used for disaster areas or areas which need quick emergency housing. Even though the bricks are supposed to be fire treated there is no proof as yet that they will survive hot sun and plastic fires are hideous. We need to keep talking about that one. Where there is a will…and it’s not as if we don’t have the brains and technology to solve these sorts of problems. The conversations are highlighting the issues. Firstly, we need to clean up our act. Secondly,we need to dispose of this plastic wisely. Thirdly, we probably need to forget about plastic. It has done more harm than good. BYFUSION explains the plastic brick idea on its site.The discussions around it are on The Insider Facebook page .
The Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour, Sydney is a perfect example where a big city can have a natural place which is appreciated for its beauty and tranquility. A place where people can go to get away from it all and get into a more contemplative, restful mood. A place where people can just sit and rest, become inspired and feel the benefit of being with nature. Sydney now has a commitment to creating a green city and the efforts are noticed and appreciated. In Adelaide we have the Himeji Gardens and even though South Terrace is quite green and has some lovely garden areas opposite all the big buildings, the Himeji Gardens are a firm and popular favourite because they are so beautifully designed and have an air of peace and harmony. All cities need spaces where people can get away from it all but they also need spaces where wild life can belong to our lifestyle. These gardens are good examples of how it can be done.