How to Eat a Mango at Your Desk, Without a Knife!

How to Eat a Mango at Your Desk, Without a Knife!

I’m a kiwi. Because of this I’m relatively new to the overwhelming experience of eating a mango. Something that I first thought couldn’t possibly grow on a tree, as it’s obviously some kind of magical natural confectionery.
After becoming a regular mango tray buyer, I took one to work and realised that brandishing a knife at my desk probably wasn’t a super cool idea. I found myself in a pretty serious dilemma.
Obviously the only option was to contact a pro. My fiance is one mango dissecting guru – so followed this instructional email on how to eat a mango.

From: Slightly strange mango obsessed lady
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2012 13:26 PM
Subject: Help! I need mango!
Dear Daniel,
I’m glad you have come to me with your issue. This is a situation I find common in office work environments in our day and age. Find below a set of instructions which will not only allow you to consume your delicious mango, but will help generations to come:
1.         Wash your hands
2.         Cover your entire allocated eating area in tissues (may be borrowed from someone else’s desk if necessary)
3.         Take the mango out of the bag
4.         Make a small incision near the top of the mango where it has been taken off the tree (suggested tools for this are pens, letter openers, or the corner of a ruler)
5.         Insert your finger into the incision and peel a piece of the mango off
6.         Put it in the bin
7.         Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you no longer have skin on your mango
8.         Insert mango as far into your face as possible and close your mouth
9.         Let mango juice drip onto tissues covering your allocated eating area
10.      Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you are just left with the seed
11.      Put the seed in the bin
12.      Return the tissues to your work colleague
13.      Wash your hands
Congratulations. You have eaten a mango.

What is more environmentally sustainable? Recycling or Solar Power?

What is more environmentally sustainable? 
Recycling or Solar Power?
Solar vs Recycling?

This question was asked of me by a colleague this morning. She is judging a competition and wanted to know who should get the higher score – the person using recycled materials, or the person using solar power to electrify whatever it is they are doing. A comparison of solar power to recycling

Both are important, and both should be rewarded. The question was which is more important at this time in Australia. What do you think?

I gave my answer based on the fact that Solar energy, while super important and needs to be implemented in a large scale over the next few years (come on policy!), recycling at this time is much more beneficial. A solar panel takes about 5 years of use to justify itself. What I mean with this is by the time you extract the rare earth materials, transport it across the world, distribute and install it, it has to produce energy for around 5 years to be carbon neutral. Oh yes, it will produce electricity, and the end user may get a rebate and make some money from generating this energy, but the energy it took to get there is massive, as with anything.

Solar, like bottled water, uses energy to produce. Did you know it takes 60 litres of water to make the 600mL bottle you buy for $3 from a gas station? Like bottled water, solar panels use huge amounts of energy and rare earth being produced.

Recycling covers itself from this aspect almost instantly, as recovery and reuse of the materials are carbon neutral, and in some cases carbon negative (recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to power your TV for 3 hours, and is 18 times more efficient environmentally than extracting and processing the raw product).

Don’t get upset and stop installing solar panels – localised solar energy on a large scale is exactly what this country needs to put an end to dirty coal power production. Sure, the traditional power companies will eventually go out of business after buying power from your home, more than they sell, but that’s a whole lot more sustainable compared to what exists today. Innovate!
Today, recycling should be our focus. In Sweden, only 2% of their waste goes to landfill. In Australia, this figure is well over 50%. Much investment is needed, so we should promote recycling, then we can shift our energy production.

Get your solar on, and get your recycle on!

Landfill or recycling?

Please always recycle.

Renewable Energy – Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Renewable Energy

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

I just want to use this example to explain, in full, the true implications of what we call renewable energy.

In Australia, there really is only one option for this. Going solar. Energy storage technology continues to improve, and by having localised renewable energy sources, potentially located on every home and business rooftop, we increase efficiencies massively, and reduce the need to power our sunny country on fossil fuel. Some state governments introduced rebate schemes to install solar onto roofs, but this was more to ‘look like’ they were doing the right thing, rather than making an awesome contribution to how we all receive our energy.

Did you know that in June 2012, a sunny day in Germany, after a 3 year campaign by the government to install solar panels on as many homes as possible through a carbon rebate scheme, the electric companies turned off the power supply to the whole of Berlin, as 25% of the countries’ electricity was being generated by, you guessed it, the rooftops of everyday people like you and me. And this is in Germany! Not known for its cloudless skies and balmy days.

In winter, you could imagine countries like Germany being extremely cold. They thought of an efficient way to keep people’s homes warm, almost everywhere in the world except Australia and New Zealand. They call it central heating. It involves heating heavy oil radiators for a whole street worth of homes, not just one, and each of those homes sharing the energy of heating that one bout of oil.

It would be an idiocy to not reinstate these schemes here! To my knowledge they were highly successful at reducing individual households’ energy use, heating hot water and pumping back energy into the grid, sometimes generating an income stream for the house owner!

They don’t want us to be efficient! There is of course a negative effect of moving energy generation to your house. The shareholders of the massive power companies won’t get as higher dividends on their shares! Who is the largest owner of the power companies in Australia? The Australian Government. It’s in their best interests to provide electricity, and not promote using less of it. In a similar way while the Government regulates smokers and their behaviour, they don’t actually want smokers to stop smoking, and each anti-smoking campaign or ad is designed to keep smokers, smoking.

The carbon tax is a step in the right direction, but with a lack of consistency across the globe, the banks’ need to create a commodity out of thin air and a lack of public interest, it is not enough. We will still continue to consume more and more, economies will be forced to grow, and as the 2050 target to cut 80% of our emissions grows closer, grow too will our population and pressure on energy, food and everything else we need and want. It will be a few years before it might be enough to justify heavy private sector investment in new technology. It needs to costs less to find new ways to reduce energy use, or create renewable energy to use than to go down the current path of consume, consume, consume.

Let’s face it, as a capitalist; I want to continue using everything I can of the worlds’ precious resources. As an evangelicist I want to tell people that these resources are scarce so that I can control the price and distribution. As a human being I want to continue to buy the things the consumerism religion has told me I need to be powerful and have stature.

This must change, and it starts really simply, with the individual, you and me, and our behaviour.

So what can I do, where can I begin? I hear you ask. You may feel powerless at an individual level to change anything, but I implore you, with enough of us, we can make the biggest difference to the world, and become less of a cancer on the surface and start shifting the way our corporations and governments think.

Turn it off when you’re not using it. At the wall. At home I’ve hooked up everything onto two switches, and I’ve made it habit to turn one off at night while I sleep, and one off in the morning after my phone has charged. They only go on again when I get home from work. My power bill went from $340/qt to $260/qt by switching it off. Turn it off. I live in a small home, if you lived in a larger home there may be other ways you can save your daily draw of energy too.

If you are worried about your rising energy costs, it is proven that by turning it off, you will save at least 10% of your bill. That’s pretty much the same as the increase from the carbon tax. You can give yourself better results by making the decision to be power smart – using the dishwasher only when its full, keeping your fridge at the right temperature, and keep it full of food that you will eat, but that’s another topic.

We live in sunny Australia, there is no reason you’d have a dryer. Even if its wet you can hang it out in a spare room with the window open. In the southern states it will dry before you wake up in the morning. In the north it might take a little longer because of the humidity, so make sure you have some clean undies for the next day at work.  Turn it off. Sell it on eBay for $150. This would pay for your ‘carbon tax’ increase on your power bill for a whole year, while saving you even more on saved electricity.

An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces

An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces: pHumanity’s Choice (via M.I.T.): Inaction (“No Policy”) eliminates most of the uncertainty about whether future warming will be catastrophic. Aggressive emissions reductions greatly improves humanity’s chances. In this post, I will summarize what the recent scientific literature says are the key impacts we face in the coming decades if we stay anywhere near our current […]/p

Every day tips and tricks for reducing your carbon foot print and Recycling Right in Australia:

Every day tips and tricks for reducing your carbon foot print and recycling right in Australia:

It seems to me that Generation X and Y aren’t up to the level of their Baby Boomer and Gen C counterparts when it comes to recycling today. They kind of see it as ‘oh yeah, it’s nice to do’ but the reality is you don’t care about it as much as you should!

Here’s my simple advice to help get through the day you live in your sustainable world.

  • ·         If you buy coffee in a tray in the morning, the next morning, take back the same tray rather than throw it in the recycling bin. If you have the availability, ask the café to make it in your reusable coffee cup.

  • ·         How do you get to work? Catch public transport where possible. If you drive a car, make sure you run it on NON-E10 petrol, and run it on XFT to reduce fuel consumption.

  • ·         When you get to work, does your office have a 2 or 3 bin system? If not, chances are you have a dust bin by your desk for everything, and a cardboard box for paper shredding. Encourage your office to start a two or three-bin system and recycle right at work.

  • ·         Do you reuse your plastic water bottles? Why not buy reusable water bottles? Glass or aluminium bottles are healthier and more sustainable.

  • ·         Empty, rinse and squeeze plastic bottles, then put the lid back on to keep the bottle sucked in.

  • ·         Crush aluminium cans to save space in the recycling bin, this makes them easier to separate when they go through the recycling process too!

  • ·         Rinse tin cans, rinse the lid, put it in the can and squeeze the opening walls together.

  • ·         Greasy pizza boxes – even with some food left on – in most places can now go straight in the recycling bin

  • ·         Plastic takeaways containers – a quick rinse and under the yellow lid.

  • ·         Used batteries don’t go in the bin – drop them off at an ALDI store near you!

  • ·         Inks and toner can be recycled through Planet Ark or taken to any Officeworks store.

  • ·         Plastic bags can be taken to any supermarket.

  • ·         Waxed and plastic coated cardboard can be rinsed and recycled.

  • ·         Take your plastic bags to your local supermarket for recycling. Keep them out of your home recycling – plastic bags can cause big problems when placed in your kerbside recycling bin. For safety reasons, staff at the recycling centre cannot open plastic bags as the contents may be dangerous or dirty and are sent to landfill. Bags also interfere with the automatic sorting machines, and can bring the entire sorting station to a halt. To avoid these problems simply put your recyclable items straight into the recycling bin.

  • ·         When cooking dinner, if you have some space, invest in a worm farm for your food scraps! Food waste represents 40-50% of everything we throw away. How big would your red lid bin need to be if this was the case?

  • ·         Rinse your dishes in cold water, and only run the dishwasher once its full.

  • ·         If you can, before you go to bed at night, switch off your entertainment centre at the wall. Having the TV, Xbox/PS and sound system turned off but on standby wastes around $300 of your hard earned cash each year. Turn it on again when you get home from work the next day.

Can you add any tips in the comments below? What did you learn and what will you start doing a little Going Greener?